This chapter records some of the numerous references to the film, either by
invoking the title to make a point about the emotional conflicts involved,
or in more sustained situations. The latter include a witty advertising film
for refrigerators and a potter’s enactment of a scene between two lovers who
raise their coffee mugs that are engraved to reveal emotional responses. The
range of such allusions, along with many usages of the title in novels and
reviews of yet other books, reinforces our sense of the far from still life
of the movie.
Far from being cinematically backward, 1950s British film had dashes of imagination that outdid more famous or prestigious examples from the cinematic canon. In his contribution to this book, Dave Rolinson, particularly in his recovery of the neglected The Horse's Mouth, aptly draws attention to a sharper edge to 1950s British film comedy than is always acknowledged. British film of this period is not often credited with that kind of audacity or comic cheek. The comedy is often characterised as postcard or parochial, with the likeable but limited registers of, say, Henry Cornelius's Genevieve or Basil Dearden's The Smallest Show on Earth being typical of the range. Again a classic image from 1950s British cinema would be Jack Hawkins in The Cruel Sea, the epitome of quiet English integrity.