Originally banned by the British Board of Film Censors for being a ‘very sordid story in very sordid surroundings’, Love on the Dole, was made in 1941 at a time when social conditions had been radically changed by the Second World War.
Set in 1930s Salford, at the height of the Great Depression, young Harry Hardcastle (Geoffrey Hibbert, In Which We Serve) and his sister Sally (Deborah Kerr, The King and I) fall victim to poverty and unemployment, meaning they need to make difficult decisions to survive. Although the film deals with the Depression, mass unemployment, poverty and riots, the film retains positivity by reinforcing the view that Britain and its working classes had survived incredible hardships and would conquer anything which faced them. Peppered with references to a new start and a better future, where “everybody lends a hand” the film is optimistic in its nod to the liberal democracy Britain had retained despite the war.
Adapted from the novel of the same name by Walter Greenwood the film was much-praised by critics upon its release.
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