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  • Warning: Spoilers
    HOLIDAY CAMP is an important 1947 British film for several reasons. First off, it documents the rise of a British institution, the holiday camp, a place where the working class flocked in the years after World War II to enjoy the countryside and various activities like swimming and biking and dancing. The holiday camp planned all kinds of outdoors activities for people who otherwise never got out of the city.

    The films comprises several plot lines. The Huggett family (they would spin off into their own film series) epitomizes the working class family on the way up. They still hold to old morals and traditions but they are thrust into the post-war world where beauty contests and having a good time are now the norm. We also see a lonely spinster whose life has been wasted in pining for a boy who never came back from World War I and taking care of an ailing mother. Another plot follows a caddish womanizer who also seems to have a secret.

    Jack Warner and Kathleen Harrison are the parents. Peter Hammond is the hapless son, and Hazel Court the war widow with a baby. Flora Robson is the spinster who lets go of the past and finds a new purpose in life. Dennis Price is the cad with a secret.

    But it's Esma Cannon, the tiny (4 ft 10) actress who steals the film as Elsie Dawson, an endlessly cheerful old maid who throws herself into life and into the pursuit of "Mr. Right" even though the odds are against her. She chases after Dennis Price, takes part in every camp activity (including a swim-suit beauty contest), and cheers up everyone around her. The ending of the film and Elsie's fate are quite shocking.

    All of the stars are excellent. Co-stars include Esmond Knight as the "voice" of the camp (via loudspeakers), Jimmy Hanley as a possible son-in-law for the Huggetts, Yvonne Owen as a sharp-tongued friend, Beatrice Varley as a bitter old aunt, Emrys Jones and Jeannette Tregarthen as the troubled young couple, Susan Shaw as Patsy, Jane Hylton as the camp receptionist, Diana Dors as a dancer, and Patricia Roc in a cameo as herself.

    But it's Esma Cannon who you'll remember from this great film.
  • Isn't Jack Warner the wise Father and the nice man we all saw in the Dixon of Dock Green series in the 1950's. I spent some very happy moments as a teenager in the 1960's at Butilns Holiday Camp in North Wales. I can tell you it was in those days a very sophisticated place for a young lad out of a northern working class family. It was a magic place and seeing this movie brought it all back. Living in your very own (shared) "chalet". Coming home at night as late as you like and all activities laid on for FREE. I thought it was heaven. I loved the pretty daughter in the film and pleased to see on the IMDb that she is still alive and had a very eventful career in films. And Flora Robson giving more than a hint of the great actress she was. The blind announcer at the camp also played in many movies including the RED SHOES a classic film of the 1940's with Moira Shearer. (He played the conductor of the orchestra.) Loved the film and will see it again. regards, frank.
  • I had a copy of his film in the early 90's and still watch it now. Liking nostalgia, this film gives a good insight to British life just after the 2nd world war. Primitive it may look as to how the English enjoyed themselves on holiday, but charming in its naivety. Kathleen Harrison plays her part as only she could, dizzy, funny, as well as showing us how Strong her part is in keeping the Hugget family together in chaos along with her hubby Jack Warner, a strong father figure who wanting to teach his children a lesson in the ways of life, shows his softer side in coming to their aid.

    With my love and interest in old English films, I do look at who make such films as well as who stars in them. Muriel and Sidney Box name appear in many films made in England in the 40s/50s. Holiday Camp Being a Huggets film. I am on the look out for the other Huggets films. Just hope someone releases them on DVD
  • Warning: Spoilers
    My first inkling of Esma Cannon was in the BBC t.v. comedy series "The Rag Trade" from the early 1960s in which she played a comic "put upon" machinist.She was a funny comedienne with her 4'10" height and way of speaking.In "Holiday Camp" she again plays a lonely spinster on the look out for a beau.Unfortunately a confidence trickster and "Mannequin" murderer, "Sq. Ldr. Hardwick" (Dennis Price), takes her out for a walk down a remote country lane and although we don't see her end in the film, we have to presume she became his next victim.Bear in mind this was a 1947 family film and the British Board of Film Censors would have clamped down hard on any graphic sex & violence."Holiday Camp" has quite a cast and although Charlie Chester & Patricia Roc get star billing you only see them (as themselves) for very short scenes.The real stars are Jack Warner & Kathleen Harrison as working class parents Mr Joe & Mrs Ethel Huggett along with their daughter,Hazel Court as Joan Huggett who has a toddler in tow.I did not hear whether she was a war widow or had an unfortunate accident but she finds a boyfriend in the shape of Jimmy Hanley (Jimmy Gardner) who has been left a "Dear John" letter by his former girlfriend.

    There are some nice period touches like sweet rationing (Britain did not finally come off it until 1955 and I vividly remember my parents stocking up our rations so we could go away on holiday with our chocolate/butterscotch etc, (I was born in 1946).Of course contraception was not mentioned and a previous reviewer mentioned it was daring of Sydney Box (the screenplay writer) to include a subplot of a pregnant unmarried girl Valerie Thompson (Jeannete Tregathen) whose musical boyfriend Michael Halliday (Emrys Jones) cannot afford to keep them both.

    Which brings me to Dame Flora Robson.I was surprised to see her in this type of film as she normally appeared in serious drama but even a Shakespearean actress wants some light relief occasionally.She plays Esther Harman a woman who lost track of her boyfriend in 1918 and supposed him dead with the millions of others.She keeps a photograph of them as young lovers in her handbag.Due to a very unlikely coincidence (which only happens in films), it happens her old lover, Esmond Knight, is now married with two boys and working (although blind as a result of a mine) as the holiday camp announcer.Although she meets him in his office, she does not divulge who she is as she realises he is a happy man.Rather Esther becomes a sympathetic mother-type figure to Valerie and admonishes Valerie's very disapproving aunt played by Gainsborough stalwart Beatrice Varley for not lending her support to her niece's desperate need.

    Another subplot involves the perils of engaging cardsharps in pontoon, but Jack Warner thankfully comes to the rescue.Beauty parades, swimming, wonky bicycles, dances, entertainment on the stage, communal eating etc. its all there.I am so glad my parents took me & my two sisters down to the coast and avoided organised entertainment!!
  • Last time I saw this was 1972 and it was dated badly even by then, now it might as well portray life on another planet. A planet that is very appealing! The British working class long ago got more spare cash in their pockets to skedaddle off to more distant sunnier shores for their 2 weeks a year. Instead back then they had 1 week in an enormous regimented boot camp under dull skies, packed like sardines into shared chalets. Every picture frame must have at least 20 people in it.

    The first Huggetts film has the family off to Farleigh Holiday Camp, where various little stories unfold about the guests good bad and sad, a more down to Earth Grand Hotel if you like. Jack Warner as Dad and Kathleen Harrison as Ma (who definitely hadn't got 8 eyes like an octopus) were perfectly ordinary straight folk with no side with 2 grown up kids - decidedly, in Hazel Court's case - all of them excellent and stereotypical role models for the viewers. And what's wrong with that in these days where only the seedy and vicious are held in esteem in movies? Jimmy Hanley was an ideal beau for the daughter, young War widow Huggett, an uncomplicated young man bent on pleasure but straight as a die. Unsurprisingly Good won out in all the threads, although in Dennis Price's and Esme Cannon's case it was a melancholic and ambiguously puzzling end.

    It was filmed in the hellishly cold (Warner's words) studio at Lime Grove during the big freeze of '47, something to bear in mind when watching everyone sunning themselves. For a glimpse into a totally dead Britain, unbeatable. Also an entertaining 94 minutes for those like me who aren't serious or researching for their University dissertations about life in post-War Britain.
  • Holiday Camp shows a fascinating look a life in the late 40's. After the depravation of the war years, the first holiday camp to open was guaranteed to be a success. The story starts with Joe Huggett (Jack Warner ) and his family arriving at the camp ,and in next to no time he is involved with card sharps, a murderer on the run and a young couple who have left home, when the girl discovered she is pregnant. This particular story line was very daring considering when the film was made. All in all a very interesting look at life after the war, and well worth seeing.
  • tysonb26 November 2004
    This is one of my favourite films, I first saw it when I was about 18. It reminds me of when I was young and used to go on holidays with my family. ( Not that I was around in the war, I'm to young ). Jack Warner is brilliant in it and so are the other cast members.It's about what family's should be like. The plot of the film is, Joe Huggett and his family go to an holiday camp for a week, while they are there is a murderer is on the loose, a teenage girl is on the run with her boyfriend and finds out she is going to have a baby and she is only 15, quite scandalous in those days. All in all this is a great film, the cast are great, and it's a feel good film, it should be released on DVD.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A portmanteau movie centred round the Huggett family deeply rooted in working - class culture,decent,God - fearing,patriotic,proud of their place in society and secure and optimistic about the future for both themselves and their country.60 years later their descendants,hedonistic alcohol - fuelled,violent,stain their country's reputation in countries their great grandfathers helped to free from the very sort of nihilism they display.Thanks to six decades of Social Progress, the Huggetts and their beliefs have become the stuff of satire.Those terribly clever Monty Python chappies started it with their "funny" knotted handkerchief and sleeveless pully wearing drones and now everything the Huggetts would have held dear is held to ridicule. "Holiday Camp" gives you a chance to redress the balance.It features the wonderful Mr Jack Warner as the paterfamilias,sports jacket,open - necked shirt,pens in his top pocket,he is 1940 - 50s man made carnate.Miss K.Harrison displays all the strength she would have needed in the absence of a husband to have kept the family together during the recently - ended war. The Holiday Camp was many a British teenager's first taste of relative freedom and I have fond memories of my first visit in 1952 when my parents would go off the shows and leave me to my own devices.Magic days indeed. Watching "Holiday Camp" may be a bit like looking through your grandparents' snap album,but as time passes inexorably and history is re -written,like your grandparents' snap album it will become a true record of the way we were rather than the way the social engineers wish to portray us.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film perfectly sums up the two-faces of the post-war generation, on the outside people put on a brave face, whilst just under the surface they are in emotional distress. It is very different to the other films in the Huggett series, which are primarily cheerful family comedies.

    Mr & Mrs Huggett and their grown children arrive at a holiday camp to "enjoy" themselves and put the worries of war time behind them. The people at the holiday camp do tightly scheduled activities, distracting themselves from dwelling on their past and present problems. (Keep look-out for the hilarious novelty bicycles that regularly roll through the background). The only truly happy characters in this film are Mr & Mrs Huggett and their two youngest children, who seem oblivious to the tightly guarded emotional problems of the adults around them.

    The eldest daughter of the Huggett's is clearly depressed by the loss of her husband, and yet social pressure from friends and family forces her to begin dating again. At one point, she refuses to enter a beauty pageant with her friend, so she is physically picked-up and carried by two men who drop her into the ques of beauties. All the single women we meet are full of sad nervous energy as they desperately try to work-out how to appease the men around them.

    This film contains themes of suicide, teen-pregnancy, substance-abuse and loss, all set against ridiculously cheerful backgrounds of people enjoying wholesome holiday activities. If you want to avoid devastation, DON'T watch the last 20 minutes. This film unexpectedly ends in the worst tragedy for the most vulnerable character, whilst contented characters remain innocently oblivious to the suffering around them.
  • This film introduced me to a British institution I was not familiar with, as the title says Holiday Camp. It's kind of like a cruise ship on land with organized activities like one where guests stay in various cabins. This film also introduced the Huggett family to the British movie-going public. The Huggetts are parents Jack Warner and Kathleen Harrison, son Peter Hammond and daughter Hazel Court. Like Ma and Pa Kettle who were introduced in The Egg And I, the Huggetts would go on to a few feature films and were a great favorite in the United Kingdom.

    But they were second billed here to Flora Robson a kindly spinster woman who lost her true love during the first World War and who is rooming with a young woman Jeanette Tregarthen. Tregarthen is also pregnant but only her boyfriend Emrys Jones knows. Tregarthen's aunt Beatrice Varley a hatchet faced old harridan is there as well. Robson's performance as a woman who does a great kindness to Jones and Tregarthen is the highlight of the film. She was quite touching.

    Also billed above the Huggetts is Dennis Price whose character is something along the lines of David Niven's Major in Separate Tables. But Price is a lot more sinister.

    Young Peter Hammond gets good and taken by a pair of card sharps who work these camps, but those two get a nice comeuppance and Hammond learns a life lesson. Hammond is also bunking with Jimmy Hanley who played a lot of young juvenile leads in the 40s and 50s in British films. He takes an interest in Hazel Court and Hanley would also appear in future Huggett films.

    This was a nice family comedy with a touch of drama and pathos and I can see why the Huggetts were so popular in the United Kingdom.
  • JohnHowardReid10 January 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    The first of the Huggett series is actually not a full-blown comedy at all. It's best described as a comedy drama with the accent decidedly cast on the latter quality. In fact, it has a rather nasty twist in its tail – which brings it firmly into the film noir category. On the plus side, it's expertly acted by a first-rate cast in which Hazel Court and Jack Warner shine, and in which the director and his players manage to overcome most (though not all) of the twists in a somewhat clumsily constructed screenplay. On the negative front, true-to-life episodes are forced to jostle with comedy, romance and (briefly) horror. In fact, to re-iterate the splendid wording of Claytons TV commercial, Holiday Camp is the portmanteau film you have when you're not having a portmanteau film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    HOLIDAY CAMP is a fine little British comedy production that feels like HI-DE-HI, albeit with a 1940s setting. It was popular enough to spawn sequels along with an associated radio series. The film has a larger-than-life family heading to a holiday camp for a weekend of excitement, so if you wanted to see what Butlins looked like in the 1940s, this is the film. Jack Warner and Kathleen Harrison are the ever-bickering couple, but the fun comes from seeing all of the different character sub-plots that mingle and interact as the story goes on. Dennis Price plays one of his ultimate cad characters, womanising everywhere he goes. Jimmy Hanley is a jilted sailor with a penchant for chocolate. Peter Hammond plays a gambling addict who gets fleeced by a couple of chancers. Flora Robson hunts for lost love Esmond Knight (stealing the film with his one-scene cameo, full of pathos). Hazel Court, future scream queen, is gloriously beautiful and lights up the screen whenever she appears. There's also a biggish role for the criminal underutilised in cinema Esma Cannon. If you're a fan of British comedy, then HOLIDAY CAMP is a real treat.
  • writers_reign1 March 2018
    Warning: Spoilers
    As time-capsules go this is up there with Millions Like Us, Bank Holiday, Brief Encounter etc. It stands up well and is a good example of the portmanteau genre once you get past the improbabilities - a Holiday camp targeting the working class is surely the last place that would attract Flora Robson's genteel spinster who has thrown her life away on an invalid mother' and assuming Dennis Prices' on-th-run murderer WOULD choose to lay low in a Holiday camp he would hardly wish to draw attention to himself by being the life of the party. It's also a little surprising that something as earthy as this was the work of Godrey Winn, usually much more precious than this. It's claim to fame is that it introduced the Huggets who got their own spin-offs on the strength of it yet they don't get that much more screen time than any of the principals and if Esme Cannon walks away with it Jimmy 'solid oak' Hanley nearly scuppers it. Worth a second look.
  • oz1-600-7587136 August 2018
    The Drummer in the Ballroom scenes ........is that Spike Milligan ?