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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Aside from its cop-out sweetness-and-light conclusion, this domestic drama is a borderline noir that holds the attention rather well, thanks to extremely realistic writing (full of fascinating yet telling details), extremely ingratiating acting (the characters of course were both interesting and well-rounded to begin with), an unstinting budget and skillful technical credits. Only in the last few minutes when the principals visit the local cathedral and reflect on what life has taught them, does this film's grip on its audience lessen.

    As usual, Mervyn Johns manages to overcome his somewhat unprepossessing screen presence to give an appealing performance of the ambitious family man who fails to make the right decisions in his dealings with charming but unscrupulous businessman, Alfred Drayton. Joyce Howard is also most winning as the daughter with similar ambitions to better herself. Joan Greenwood has a very small role as the other daughter, being completely overshadowed by Miss Howard and other members of the cast. One of the most ingratiating portrayals is expertly provided by Frederick Cooper who gets every inch of dramatic sympathy out of an extremely difficult role.
  • bnwfilmbuff18 April 2017
    Mervyn Johns has a chance encounter with famous high-power financier Alfred Drayton, who takes a liking to him and eventually his entire family, much to their delight. The financier and his wife, Olive Sloane, assume an almost paternalistic role with the Blake family helping to facilitate the family's escalation in class as Drayton makes a loan to revive Johns' business. However, Johns' business struggles even though he puts heart and soul into it and he realizes that he can't make it and satisfy the family's desires of bigger and better things without moving out on the risk curve. Johns in this role is truly an endearing character that many of us can relate. The direction is excellent as it has the right balance of being a heartwarming tale without losing sight of the seriousness of the reality of what is taking place. The cast is excellent as well. This is storytelling at its best with enough complexity delivered at a reasonable pace to hold your interest. Recommended.
  • Mervyn Johns is the son of the man who used to own the local iron works, and a major works it was. His father had lost it all. Now Johns works for the place at a decent, if modest salary, raising, with his wife, three children. One day he encounters great financier Alfred Drayton, who advises him on how to regain control.

    However, things begin to go awry. His children become snobbish, they move into a house they can't afford.... and financial pressures drive Johns to desperate measures... and to the truth.

    Norman Walker directs this quietly religious movie, as he often did in those days, for Rank's WHV division of his film empire, the portion reserved for religious movies. It's perfectly cast, with Johns playing, as he did, a small man surrounded by a family that is, in the end, a loving one.

    Some people will find this work, based on a novel by Dorothy Whipple, to be a bit overt. I, who have no clear faith of my own, find it a fine work about the human heart and its redemption.
  • kidboots17 September 2019
    Warning: Spoilers
    When the film of popular writer Dorothy Whipple's book "They Were Sisters" became such a box office bonanza (over a million pounds at the box office) her earlier novel about corruption by wealth "They Knew Mr. Knight" achieved great success also. Apart from a maudlin, tacked on ending it was terrific - with grand performances especially by Mervyn Johns as Mr. Blake and Joyce Howard as Freda.

    A chance encounter at a railway station throws the very ordinary Mr. Blake into the materialistic world of Mr. Knight. Blake has a lot going on in his life - he has a part ownership in his father's steel mill, he has three teenage children, one desperate to go to university and he can see years of disappointment before him. So he is easily swayed by the grandiose living of Knight. Blake was the good brother, the one destined not to give trouble but he has another brother, Edward, a square peg in a round hole who just can't seem to get his head around business. He is a dreamer and a thorn in the side of Blake.

    All of the family (except the sensible mother, Nora Swinburne) clutch at the good fortune with both hands - especially Freda who is dazzled by her taste of high society with the Knights. Joyce Howard is fabulous as the flighty Freda, she convinces as a school girl and then as a young deb whose lack of character shows in her sudden marriage when things get rough for the family. Get rough they do when Knight convinces his cronies at a dinner to buy stocks in Cosmos - by the time of the stock market crash Blake is ruined!! When he confronts Knight for giving him bad advice, Knight calls him a fool and also insists that Blake pays him back the 2,000 pounds he lent him to buy the mill outright.

    Throughout all this Edward, along with his down to earth barmaid wife (the marriage was a huge shame to Blake's ego) is a tower of strength and provides whatever money they can give when the family is at it's lowest ebb. Olive Sloane who was terrific as the aging good time girl in "Seven Days to Noon" is also excellent as Mrs. Knight whose good humour and down to earth personality inadvertently exposes Knight as the charlatan he is!!

    Highly Recommended
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Clearly a treatise on t6he evils of money.Mervyn Johns is a businessman whose family always yearn for a better lifestyle which is clearly beyond him.He meets the unscrupulous Alfred Drayton who seems to specialise in insider trading and manipulating the market.At a speech at Peter Hammonds school Drayton having given a gold cup then extols the virtues of money.A rather heavy handed allusion to the Golden calf.For a time Johns acquires a lifestyle which he can neither afford or sustain.It all comes crashing down around his ears.He is like a lamb to the slaughter,whilst Drayton commits suicide.Johns goes to prison and on his release he and his wife go back to their original unfullfilling lifestyle.He and his wife pause for thought in Lincoln Cathedral.The biggest laugh must be reserved for Peter Hammond.At 23 years old he was expected to play a young schoolboy and wear short trousers.What actors have to do for their art!