Movie Review – The History of Mr. Polly (1949)

Director: Anthony Pelissier

Stars: John Mills, Betty Ann Davies, Megs Jenkins

After his father dies, Alfred Polly (Mills) uses his inheritance to marry and set up a shop. However, as time goes by he finds that his heart isn’t in his life so he looks for a way to escape the drudgery of his existence and runs off to the country.

This is a story about a man who is searching for meaning in his life, and those are the types of films that I gravitate to. Polly is a nice fellow but he doesn’t have a direction really, and he does things more because it’s expected of him rather than because he wants to. That is until he upends sticks and leaves his life to go searching for a purpose. It’s a good story with some humorous moments. I liked Mills in the role for he brought a likeable charm to the character. Some of the situations were surprising but it was good to see how his character developed and how he was able to cast off the shackles of his life. I’m sure it’s something a lot of people think about, and it’s interesting to see how it happened here. I’m not sure it’s as easy to do nowadays as it was when this film was set, but it’s still an interesting thought.

I also enjoyed how heroic aspects of his character came through even though he felt, at times, worthless. One scene that stuck out, to highlight Polly’s feelings was the funeral scene, where his entire family is bickering and he’s left in the middle of the table, just wishing he was somewhere else.

It’s a decent little film, and I don’t mean to sound patronising by that. It’s worth checking out.

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