The Holly and the Ivy (1952) Movie Script

- Oh, Mrs Moncreiff.
- Yes?
Just one moment.
Oh, it was freezing in the park.
I'm longing for my tea.
Uh, could you tell me yet
whether you will be here for Christmas?
Oh, dear, I hope not.
I do hope not.
Are there any letters for me?
Well, the afternoon post has come in
but I haven't had a moment to sort it yet.
I wonder if you'd mind just looking?
For 30 years, ever since my husband died,
I've been living in hotels.
But I've never yet
spent a hotel Christmas.
Uh, the management
prides itself on creating
a family atmosphere here.
Oh, yes, but the...
it's never quite the same, is it?
You see, I always go to Norfolk,
to my sister's.
But she died, poor darling, in the spring.
So this year, I'm not quite sure
what will happen.
Your post, Mrs Moncreiff.
Oh, thank you. Oh.
Darling Jenny.
I shall not be here for Christmas.
You are a lucky old thing, Bogie.
You know, I'd give a lot
to live in the west of Ireland.
Why don't you come over
for Christmas, Dick?
We'd love to have you.
- Oh, I'm sorry, I'm afraid I can't.
- Oh, what are you up to?
I always do the same thing at Christmas.
I go and stay with some cousins of mine
called Gregory in Norfolk.
Gregory? That's an Irish name.
Yes, but you wouldn't know him.
He's a parson.
Lives in a little place called Wyndenham.
What you laughing at?
I was laughing at the idea of you
spending Christmas at a vicarage.
A bit incongruous, isn't it?
Well, I might have to spent
all my life at a vicarage.
- I nearly went into the church.
- What?
When I was leaving school,
my father came to me and he said,
"Dick, my boy, it's time
you made your mind up
what you're going to do.
Your mother and I
have been talking it over,
and we've come to the conclusion
you've got a choice of two things,
soldier or clergyman."
Well, I thought it over,
and I said clergyman.
My father burst out laughing
and six months later, I went to Sandhurst.
I met a girl called Gregory
the other night at the Orchid Room.
A streamlined bit of work,
fashion expert or something.
Mm, that's it.
Now she's the daughter.
Matter of fact, I'm driving her down.
Yes, this is Associated Fashion News.
Miss Gregory?
Who wants Miss Gregory?
Colonel Wyndenham,
I'm afraid she's out at the moment.
Can I take a message?
I'm driving her down
to the country tomorrow.
I wanted to know
where to pick her up.
You don't know where I could find her,
do you?
Just a moment.
I'll look in her book.
I think she's at a dress show.
Yes, she is.
You can ring her at Mayfair 8272.
Now this is definitely
a very dramatic dress
for a very special occasion.
Excuse me, is Miss Gregory here?
She's wanted on the phone.
Oh, I'm sorry. She isn't here.
Try her home.
As I was saying, the hoop
is attached to this dress.
It's very lovely.
Not going away for Christmas?
Oh, dear, why ever not?
I can't leave Blossom.
Does seem a shame
you're losing your Christmas holidays
just for the sake of a cat.
I suppose you wouldn't trust him
with me, would you?
With you?
You know, I believe I would.
Well, I'm only next door.
And you do so enjoy going to
your brother's for Christmas, don't you?
I do, indeed.
They have a beautiful
house up there in Norfolk,
at that place called Wyndenham.
- I'm very fond of it.
- Oh, is he a clergyman, you said?
Yes, he is. This is my nephew.
He looks like a clergyman's son, don't he?
I mean, he's nice looking.
I better just stay and see you over.
Hey! You there.
- Who's that?
- Oh, hell.
Answer when you're spoken to!
- Sir.
- What's your name?
Gregory, sir.
Haven't you just put in
for a 48 for Christmas?
- Yes, sir.
- Well, you've had it.
You'll be eating cold meat here instead.
Now, get down off that wall!
- Come on, jump to it!
- Yes, sir.
Come here.
You cut along home, ducks.
It's past your bedtime. Go on, hop it.
You see you go in
the proper way this time.
And don't try those games again.
- No, sir. Please, sir?
- Well, what is it?
About that pass, sir, it's rather
important I should get home for Christmas.
Oh, no, it isn't.
You're in the army now.
- There's nothing important about you.
- Right, sir.
- I want to see the major, please.
- Well, you can't.
I thought there was an ACI that said
a man had a right see the OC at anytime.
Oh, I see, one of those
budding barrack room lawyers, eh?
- That won't do you no good, son.
- May I see the major, please, sir?
Yes, you can see the major,
alright, tomorrow morning,
0900 hours, Battery Office.
You're under charge!
- Get.
- Yes, sir.
Get moving.
Gunner Gregory, sir.
- 10359 Gunner Gregory, M.
- Sir.
You are charged under
Section 40 of the Army Act
in that after lights out,
you did enter barracks
by climbing the barrack wall.
- Well, Sergeant Major?
- At 00 hours, two minutes this morning.
Let's have it in English, Sergeant Major.
Yes, sir.
It were just after midnight last night.
That's better. Go on.
I found this man on top of the wall,
behind the cookhouse.
He had no late pass and admitted
he was climbing into barracks.
He was being assisted
by a young person, sir.
A young person?
A girl, sir.
- Is this true, Gregory?
- Yes, sir.
- Is that all, Sergeant Major? Well, go on.
- No, sir.
I happen to remember accused
asked for a 48 for Christmas.
I told him he'd had it.
I beg your pardon, sir,
I mean, to forget it.
I thought that was sufficient.
- Very lenient, Sergeant Major.
- Yes, sir.
Well, why is he here?
He refused to take my word, sir.
Asked to see the OC, behaved
in a very insubordinate manner,
and quoted AC Highs at me, sir.
That was very unwise of you, Gregory.
Well, sir, I, um, want to apply for leave
on compassionate grounds.
Well, sir, my mother's just died.
Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. When?
It was the last, um, May, sir.
But the point is...
Last May, eight months ago?
You seem to think the Army's got
a very tender heart, Gregory.
Well, sir, the point is that,
you see, my father is a parson.
- And you know...
- Stay at attention!
Well, sir, we've always rather made
rather a thing about Christmas.
And this year, my sister's
got to cope on her own.
I said I'd tried to get back
and help her if I could.
Of course, it doesn't really matter, sir.
No, it certainly doesn't matter.
I have never had a less adequate reason
for compassionate leave.
I never heard such nonsense.
Seven day CB.
Escort the accused, left hand,
left rear, quick march!
- Mr Young, just a moment.
- Sir.
Any reason why he shouldn't have it?
Oh, this'll do.
This is right for Wyndenham?
Yes, ma'am.
Change at Norwich.
Thank you so much. You have been kind.
Thank you.
Good gracious, how are you?
Oh, this is nice.
We can travel together.
Now, come in here. There's plenty of room.
- Is there a corner seat?
- Yes, look, you can sit there.
- Oh, I'm third class.
- Oh, it doesn't matter.
- We can pay the guard.
- Ah, no.
Oh, no, Bridget, we must be together.
I'll pay.
No, thanks.
Oh, no, but Bridget, you know,
really, there's no need.
I prefer it here.
Oh, very well, then,
I'll have to come in with you.
Uh, porter? Porter, just bring
my things in here, please, will you?
Oh, do you mind just moving up
just a little bit so that I can sit down?
Not at all, madam, not at all.
The holly bears a bark
as bitter as any gall
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
for to redeem us all
And the rising of the sun
and the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ,
sweet singing in the choir
The holly bears a berry
as red as any blood
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ...
Hey, Jenny.
- You going to be long?
- No, I've nearly finished.
- What time is it?
- It's time you got home,
aren't you expecting swarms of relations?
Shh, listen.
The playing of the merry organ,
sweet singing in the choir
The holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are
in the wood
The holly bears the crown
Come on.
- Don't you like carols?
- They're alright.
Want some talk with you
before they all come.
Oh, there's no more to be said.
Do you think I'm putting too much frost?
There's a lot more to be said,
if you ask me.
Wait a minute.
It's so lovely.
Strange how sound
can be so beautifully still.
Yeah, it's beautiful.
Come on, let's go, all the same.
Give me a moment.
T he holly bears a berry
as red as any blood
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ,
for to redeem...
Come here.
I suppose people who fall asleep
in the snow feel like this.
They know they've got to keep awake
but just for a moment
they give up the struggle
because the snow's so warm and cosy.
Never heard yet of anyone
freezing to death from a kiss.
No, but it's all so pointless, isn't it?
- It gets us nowhere.
- I don't know about that.
It's got a lot of people
an awful long way before now.
No, no, no, David, please.
Oh, bother, the chain's broken.
What on earth you doing all this for?
You got children coming or what?
No, no children, only of the people
we always have for Christmas.
Would you give it to me, please?
It's only what we always do.
Oh, and the bell.
Well, don't you like it?
Yes, it's pretty.
It's an awful waste of time.
I think you're mad,
stark, staring, raving mad.
Hey, come on down that ladder.
I want to talk to you.
No, David, I must finish.
They'll be here soon.
Jenny, I've heard.
It's all fixed.
That's what I came to tell you.
They want me to sail
at the end of January.
They've written to know
will I be taking my wife with me.
I told them, yes.
David, you know it's impossible.
You know I can't leave father.
- That's absurd. Of course, you can.
- Darling, it's not absurd.
There's no one else,
I must look after him.
Can't you understand I... I must.
It's all nonsense.
Look, when it comes to a conflict
between the children and the parents,
it's the parents that have to give way.
Otherwise, human life couldn't go on.
You're talking like a textbook, David.
Maybe I am, but you know me.
Not having the words
of my own saying these things, but...
but you know what I mean.
Look, what there is
between you and me is...
well, it's what the whole of life
depends on.
It's much too important to be sacrificed
to the interests of the old,
that's why there's always a conflict.
But this isn't a conflict.
This is what I feel for someone I love.
D'you not love me too?
Well, then it's suicidal.
Look, you're 31 now.
It'll be another five years before
I come back from South America.
You'll be 36 then. That's middle aged.
I know.
Look, Jenny...
I shouldn't have said that.
It's not true, anyway.
36 is nothing. I'm 34 myself.
Look, there's nothing to worry about.
I'll have a word with your father.
No, David, you mustn't.
Well, why not? He's a reasonable man.
- He wouldn't expect...
- Well, of course he wouldn't.
You don't understand,
that's the whole point.
If daddy knew about you and me,
he wouldn't ask me to stay
however much he wanted me to,
he wouldn't let me stay.
That's why he mustn't know
about us at all.
You won't tell him, will you promise?
Oh, oh, good gracious.
I've been asleep. What time is it?
- It's nearly six.
- Oh, good gracious, are you sure?
Oh, hello, David.
- What is it, daddy? Are you alright?
- Yes, I'm alright,
just a bit giddy for a moment.
I woke with a start, you see,
thinking I'd forgotten
all about the children.
What children?
The infants are having
their Christmas treat.
Well, you needn't go, surely.
You're not well enough.
If I'm not well enough to do my work,
I'd better give up. That's all.
- I'll get your coat.
- Well, how about you, David?
Have you heard anything yet?
Aye, it's all fixed.
- I'm to sail at the end of January.
- Oh, you're a lucky fellow.
You know, I always wanted
to go to South America,
ever since I was a boy.
When I was first ordained,
I made up my mind to go there,
as a missionary, you know.
But it never came off.
No, I... I never meant to stay
pottering about in England all my life.
Ah, well, there you are.
But South America's always
had a fascination for me,
ever since I first read Prescott,
"The Conquest of Peru."
Aw, that's a wonderful book now.
- Have... have you read it?
- No, I can't say that I have.
Well, it's about the place here,
D'you know where it is, Jenny,
the big, fat red book?
I won it as a prize for Latin verses
when I was at school in Dublin.
You know,
that was the first time I realised
the size of human history.
It's all about the Incas, you know,
remarkable people, the Incas,
great mathematicians,
sun worshippers, and...
and the first to discover
the value of guano as a manure.
Is that so?
Yes, you should tell your father
about that.
He'd be interested, being a farmer.
- Glasses, darling.
- Hmm.
Guano is a deposit of seabirds.
It's found all down those coasts.
The Incas were the first to discover
its value,
a great, civilized people, the Incas.
Now there's scarcely a trace of them left.
All vanished, all except the guano trade.
That's a big, modern industry.
Well, I'm going out there
to build aerodromes.
Aerodromes, now people want aerodromes.
You know, I often think
it must very pleasant
to be doing something people want.
That's the worst of being a parson,
nobody wants you.
Well, at least they do and they don't.
If you don't go near them, they say,
"Here have I been
in a place six months
and the parson never comes near me."
And if you do go, they say, "What's he
want to come poking his nose in here for?"
Hadn't you better go, darling,
if you're going.
Oh, yes.
Here, here, you want a torch
for coming back.
Her mother was just the same,
you know, David.
I don't know what I'd do without her.
- Have we whiskey in the house for Richard?
- Yes.
Leave it out on the side
where he can help himself.
Darling, it's so frightfully expensive,
we can't have Richard helping himself
whenever he feels like it.
We can't have people here then if we
can't afford to entertain them properly.
- Have you got your galoshes on?
- Yes, yes, I've got them on.
Would you... would you
care for a glass, David?
- No, thank you, sir.
- Darling, you must go.
You don't want to be
out when they all come.
No, that's true. When's Margaret coming?
Uncle Richard's driving her down.
You... you haven't met my younger daughter,
have you, David?
We don't see her
very often now, of course.
She's a journalist, you know,
writes articles on fashions
for the ladies' magazines.
You wouldn't think that would be
an interesting subject, would you now?
But it's an extraordinary thing.
I find myself enthralled
reading about the autumn collections.
The trouble they take now
with the silhouette,
I had no idea of it,
hip lines, waistlines.
It's almost a branch of engineering.
- Ah, it is, and Margaret's an expert.
- Darling, you must go.
Going? I've gone.
You see?
What about this sister of yours?
Why can't she come home?
She won't.
Why not?
She just won't.
She's got her job
and her friends in London.
What about your aunts?
You haven't met aunt Lydia, have you?
- Is that the old Irish termagant?
- No, that's aunt Bridget.
She's daddy's sister.
Aunt Lydia's mummy's sister.
She's rather grand and strange.
She's the widow of a King's Messenger.
He died when they'd only
been married a few years
and ever since, she's gone about feeling
she has a special understanding of men.
It's no use.
I'm the only one. I've got to stay.
You could find him a housekeeper,
couldn't you?
I mean, it's not such a terrible thing
for a man to live alone, is it?
Well, it's always worse for a parson.
He can't do the most ordinary things
simply because he is a parson.
For instance, he can't just
drop into the pub in the evenings
when he's bored for company.
- People don't want him.
- Of course not.
A pub's no place for a parson.
No, but it's the same wherever he goes,
whatever he does.
People just don't feel free
to behave naturally when he's there.
Yeah, I know what you mean.
There's an awkwardness.
I noticed it myself
in the railway carriages.
Everyone stops talking for a moment
when a parson gets in.
Hmm, that's just it.
A parson's sort of set apart, isolated.
It's a difficult situation. I see that.
But I don't see why
it should all fall on you.
Look, that sister of yours
must take her turn.
I told you, she won't.
I suppose being older
I've always felt more responsible.
Aye, you'd feel that more
being the homemaking type.
You don't really know me, do you?
When we were small, I was always
the one that wanted to get away.
Margaret was a stay-at-home.
Somehow, it hasn't worked out like that.
I'm sure if you'd told her about
you and me, she'd help you out a bit.
She's been knocking
around London all these years.
She's had plenty of opportunity
to pick up a man.
You've managed that for yourself,
even though you are stuck
away in the country.
Why, it gives you
a sort of biological priority.
I'm sure if you asked her,
she'd give you a break.
I'll ask her.
But I don't think it'll be any use.
Well, you're not gonna let
everything depend on her, surely?
It does, I'm afraid.
It just does.
Now this is the sort of job
I've had in mind
ever since I started to qualify.
Nearly 20 years, ever since I was 14.
I've been working towards a job like this.
If I have to choose
between it and you,
it's no use to me.
Look, I don't mean to upset you.
Hello, hello, hello.
Anybody there?
Well, hello, chums.
Mick, I thought you couldn't get leave.
Oh, I wrangled it,
48 hours, compassionate.
What do you mean, compassionate?
Well, the Army's very sentimental
at Christmas.
- Hello, David.
- Hello, Mick. How did you fix it?
Well, I went to see the major
and pitched a tale.
That's one small advantage of being Irish.
I told him me mother
had died, me father's getting old
and me little sister,
oh, you want to see me little sister,
she's wonderful,
she's, um, she's bravely struggling
to keep things going.
And she... she wants us all home this year,
because maybe it's the last Christmas
we'd all spent together in the old home.
It worked like magic.
Almost swear when I finished,
there were tears in the major's eyes.
England won't go far wrong, Gregory,
as long as men feel like you do
about their homes.
Oh, Mick, you are awful, how could you?
Why, what's wrong?
It's all true, isn't it?
No, not a word of it's true.
You don't feel like that a bit.
Oh, I'm sorry.
I suppose I'm being silly.
I expect it's alright, really.
Look, will you and David finish
putting up the holly?
I must go and finish,
they'll all be here soon.
Well, what's the matter with her?
She's worried about your father, I think.
He wasn't very well just now.
Lord, he never seems to be
well these days.
And what about this darn holly, eh?
- Uh, get that up here on the chair.
- Right.
You better do that side of the room.
I'll do this.
Alright, stick it behind the pictures,
anyway we can get it to stay.
It's a strange thing, but I find
all this Christmas decorations
peculiarly depressing.
Yes, it is depressing.
I can't bear Christmas.
I used to like it as a child,
but now it's...
well, as you say, it's depressing.
What's the matter with my father,
d'you know?
He was a bit giddy for a moment,
that's all.
He ought to retire, you know.
I gather he can't afford to.
Oh, it's not that, he could but he won't.
- I'm the trouble, really.
- Why you?
Oh, he wants me to go to Cambridge
and that costs money.
I'm not the type to get scholarships.
Anyway, I've got a year to do
in the Army first.
That means at least four more years
for him in this place.
I don't want him to kill himself for me,
it's not worth it.
Anyway, I'm not sure
if I want to go to Cambridge.
Oh, there's a lot of advantages to be had
from a university education, you know?
By me? No, no, I'm not the type.
No use telling him that, though.
You probably can't realise what it's like
to have a parson as a father.
If you're not careful,
you get involved in a kind of
perpetual pretence.
Jenny seems to do alright.
Jenny, oh, yeah.
Margaret doesn't, though.
Is that why she doesn't come home
much these days?
That's my guess.
I can't think of any other reason.
Come to think of it,
Jenny's rather a special sort of person.
Course, Margaret's remarkable,
but Jenny's...
Aye, I know what you mean.
Jenny's got a sort of natural magic.
That'll be the aunts.
- Will you let them in, Mick?
- Yes, of course.
Oh, wait a second. Get rid of this holly.
Put it in the hall.
- What about the ladder?
- Yes, put it away
- you know where it goes.
- Sorry.
Siberia, it's like Siberia.
Did you forget we were coming or what?
Mick, dear, how nice to see you.
I didn't think you'd be here.
Let me take that.
What are you hanging round here for?
I thought you'd be overseas by now?
How nice you look in your uniform, Mick.
Don't you think it suits him, Bridget?
Jenny, darling!
I prefer the naval uniform, meself.
Be careful of that one,
there's breakables in it.
- That'll be seven and six, sir.
- Alright.
Oh, what a journey. We are frozen.
We've been travelling across Russia,
all those miles and miles of frozen land
and government pine forests.
And the heating in the carriage
seemed to have jammed.
Do you know it's exactly like
I imagined Russia to be.
No, wait, I want to look at you.
You're tired, darling.
You've been doing too much.
Hello, aunt Bridget.
- How are you?
- Oh, I'm alright, thanks.
Who's this?
Oh, I'm sorry, this is a friend of ours,
David Paterson.
How do you do?
Oh, how do you do?
That's a terrible habit,
not introducing people.
Are you staying in the house or what?
No, I just took a walk over, that's all.
My people have a farm down the road.
Come see your rooms,
I expect you're tired.
Oh, I'll just stay and thaw
for a moment, darling.
I'm frozen to the bone.
Jenny, what are all those ducks doing
walking about in the garden?
- Are they meant to be there?
- Oh, yes, they're alright.
You don't eat duck's eggs do you?
Don't you know they're poison?
A whole lot of people died
in Lincolnshire the other day
from eating duck's eggs.
It was all in the papers.
Do you put them in the cooking too?
Oh, they're alright.
We've used them for years.
What am I going to do?
I won't be able to eat a thing.
Isn't Jenny a darling? I'm so fond of her.
She was so splendid
all through my sister's illness.
And now I think she's quite wonderful,
the way she looks after her father,
don't you?
Aye, she's wonderful alright,
a bit too wonderful, if you ask me.
Too wonderful? What do you mean?
Well, in my opinion, you can
carry self sacrifice a bit too far.
Oh, I see.
Oh, I'm so glad, so very glad.
You're in love with her, aren't you?
No, no, no, no, don't tell me.
There's no need.
I can see it in your face.
It's written all over you.
Oh, I'm so glad, darling Jenny.
You know, I was so afraid
her being at home might mean...
Are you not rather jumping to conclusions?
Well, I'm not wrong, am I?
Don't tell me that I'm wrong.
No, no, of course not.
I'm never wrong about these things.
I always know.
That must be a wee bit disconcerting
for your friends.
You're not offended, are you?
No, but we haven't announced anything yet.
The engagement's not been made public.
Yes, but I'm not the public.
Secrets of that sort
are perfectly safe with me.
Oh, I do congratulate you,
Jenny's such a darling.
This is right, absolutely right.
You're cut out for each other.
I can always tell.
Are you a psychic or what?
Oh, what a delicious Scottish voice.
My husband was Scottish,
you know, from Argyllshire.
And ever since my marriage,
I've always felt
myself to be Scottish in a way.
What part of Scotland do you come from?
Not far from Aberdeen.
- And what do you do?
- I'm an engineer.
Oh, I'm afraid that means nothing to me.
I always said that engineering
is a little inhuman, somehow.
It's people that count.
After all, it isn't petrol and oil
that make the world go round, is it?
Good gracious,
what am I going to do?
Is there a train back to London?
But, aunt Bridget, really,
we've all eaten duck's eggs for 20 years.
That makes no difference.
I don't see why I should be made
to eat duck's eggs if I don't want to.
Hello, Richard.
- Hello, Mick, how are you?
- Let me take that.
- Thank you.
- Tell me, did you have a nice ride down?
- Awful, thank you.
- Terrible weather, isn't it?
- Brrr.
- Come in now.
Brrr, it's cold.
Jenny, my dear, how are you?
Oh, this is Colonel Wyndenham,
David Paterson.
- How do you do, sir?
- How do you do?
- Where's Margaret?
- Oh, she's not coming.
Not coming? Why not?
Well, she's not feeling very well,
a touch of flu, I think.
So, she thought she ought to stay put.
Oh, dear.
Daddy'd be so disappointed.
He's been so much looking forward
to seeing her.
Well, she sent you her love
and wished you all a happy Christmas.
Well, I think I'll be getting along.
Alright, David.
I'll take a walk over tomorrow sometime.
Goodbye, David.
Good night, Jenny.
Well, Bridget's still
flying off the handle.
Why must ye be always
mocking at people like that.
Lydia, how's the headache?
Headache? I haven't got a headache.
Nonsense, you've always got a headache.
Jenny, darling, he's charming,
absolutely charming.
Oh, I'm so glad.
- Jenny, is that your boyfriend?
- Why didn't you tell me?
I had no idea of that. Congratulations.
What on earth do you mean, aunt Lydia?
What's David been telling you?
He'd no right to say anything.
He didn't, I guessed.
Somehow I always know these things.
Darling, he's right for you,
absolutely right.
You know, Jenny, I always thought
you'd never get married like meself.
No, no, listen, please, all of you.
You're not to say a word about this
to anyone.
D'you understand? Not to anyone.
Is he married already or what?
In a month's time, David has to go abroad.
He'll be away five years.
Naturally, I want to go with him
but we can't be married
until I can find someone
who can come and look after father.
That's the way it was with me.
There was I stuck looking after me mother
till I was 45 and me figure gone.
In my opinion, parents have no right
to batten on their children like that.
Well, now.
I'm sorry
to be out when you came.
- How are you, Lydia?
- Martin, dear, how are you?
Bridget, I'm sorry to be out.
Well, Richard.
Hello, Martin.
What, Mick!
- Hi, Dad.
- I thought you couldn't get leave.
- He wangled it.
- Just him.
Well, now that's splendid, splendid.
Where's Margaret?
She's not coming, daddy.
Not coming?
But I thought
you were driving her down, Richard.
She's got flu.
Oh, that'll be awkward for her.
- Did you see her this morning?
- Yes.
- Was she in bed?
- No, no,
when I saw her, she was
already dressed to come
but she wasn't feeling very well
and thought perhaps she better not.
Well, now, I think
I'll just give her a ring
and see how she is.
- No, I wouldn't do that if I were you.
- You wouldn't? Why not?
Well, she's all by herself there.
She might be asleep.
Well now, Richard, will you...
- will you try you try one of these?
- Thank you, I will.
What are they?
There, now let's see what they call them.
Romeo y Julietta.
Tobacos sabinos superbos.
Well, that should be alright, eh?
The only trouble is
they may be a wee bit dry.
One of my church wardens
gave them to me two years ago.
They got mislaid in my desk.
Hm, that desk, we were
excavating it the other day.
You know, we found
over 1,000 old sermons in it?
Great Scot.
Oh, it's not such a great number
when you come to think of it.
Morning and evening, every Sunday,
there's 52 Sundays in the year.
You get through over 1,000 in ten years.
You know, since I was ordained,
I must have written enough sermons
to fill 150 books.
And I doubt if anyone's paid
the slightest attention to one of them.
Martin, dear, I'm sure they have.
I shall always remember one you preached
soon after my Philip died.
"And the man that stood
among the myrtle trees
answered and said, these are they
whom the Lord have sent to walk
to and fro through the earth."
I shall always remember that
because of the myrtle trees.
I was desperately unhappy.
It was such a help to me.
Well, I'm glad, my dear, I'm glad.
Well, Richard, how's it going?
He's in Dublin.
He came over at about
the same time that I did...
He had an idea to do well
and bring over extra horses
and hire them to...
What on earth are you doing here?
I've just been telling them
some darn story about you having flu.
I knew as soon as you were gone,
I couldn't stand it alone in the flat.
Oh, dreary Christmas.
When I came in here just now
and saw this room again,
I heard them all talking in there.
I felt I couldn't stand this either.
Well, what on earth do you want?
I don't know. That's the trouble.
Come on, pull yourself together.
Alright, I'll go up to my room first.
Yes, it's me.
- Look who's here.
- Who?
My child, I'm delighted to see you!
Oh, Margaret, what a pleasant surprise.
- Come and sit down.
- Let me take your coat.
- Have you had anything to eat?
- Yes.
How you feeling now, Margaret?
Wouldn't you be better in bed?
I don't think so.
I guess it wasn't flu after all.
Oh, but you're looking
a bit pale, you know.
You... you've been overworking,
that's what it is.
- Are you cold?
- A little. It's a cold night.
You better take a glass of whiskey.
Ah, now, Jenny, we forgot all about it.
Richard never had any whiskey
with his dinner.
- We... we got this out especially for you.
- That's alright, Martin.
- Here you are now, my dear.
- No, thank you, father.
Oh, come now, Margaret,
it won't do any harm. Drink it up.
- It'll do you good.
- Didn't you hear me say, no, thank you?
Fancy refusing whiskey.
Here, let me have it.
I'll drink it. Thank you.
How bitter the holly smells.
Holly? I didn't know it had a smell.
Yes, In the stalks when you break it.
You know, it's in the carol,
bitter as any gall.
"And Mary bore sweet Jesus
Christ for to redeem us all."
I always think Christmas
is the loveliest of the festivals.
D'you know I hate it?
Martin, why?
Ah, the brewers and the retail traders
have got hold of it.
It's all eating and drinking
and giving each other knick knacks.
Nobody remembers the birth of Christ.
But Christmas morning...
there's something about Christmas morning.
In a vicarage, with services
from 6 o'clock onwards?
There's no morning at all.
No, but the first moment
when you wake up.
Somehow, I don't know why
I always know it's Christmas morning.
It's as if during the night, while you
were asleep, something had happened.
You even expect the world
to look as different as it feels.
And you lie there,
taking it in and realising,
and this seems strangest of all,
that it's Christmas everywhere.
Of all the sermons in the year,
it's the one on Christmas morning
I dislike.
Nobody wants to hear you.
They're all fidgeting in their pews,
longing to be back home
basting the Christmas goose.
There's no time to be telling them
anything, anything important.
Ah, for all that,
I must write mine for the morning.
- Your coffee, darling.
- Hmm?
- Don't be all evening, will you?
- No.
Well, I must go and get on
with the washing up.
No, not tonight, darling, you're tired.
Stay here in the warmth.
Can I be of any help?
No, thank you,
auntie dear, you stay here.
You can't go on leaving everything
like this to your sister.
Look at all she does,
running this great house
without any help and cooking all the meals.
Jenny doesn't mind that.
She's the domestic type.
What type do you consider yourself?
One regards oneself
as an individual, aunt Bridget.
Types are other people.
The aunts say
you're fed up with being at home.
That's not true, is it?
- Why shouldn't it be true?
- Then it is.
- You are fed up.
- Well, no, not exactly.
Of course, it's a preposterously
inconvenient house.
But I always thought you liked being here.
So I do very much in a way
but it's a bit limiting.
Particularly when...
Oh, we can't talk about it now.
I'll tell you later.
- What is all this?
- It's perfectly simple. I...
I want to get married, that's all.
Oh, darling, who? Anyone I know?
He's called David Paterson.
He's an engineer.
I expect you'd think him very dull.
Why should I?
Oh, I don't know.
What's it matter anyway?
Point is, he's got a job in South America.
He sails in a month's time,
and naturally, I want to go with him.
- And what's to prevent you?
- Well, who's to look after daddy?
How can I leave him with just anyone?
Course, I know the ideal solution for him.
- What?
- With you.
Margaret, couldn't you come home
for a little while?
You're such a special person to him.
It would make all the difference.
No, I'm sorry. That's out of the question.
You say it so immediately.
Flick, like that and it's done with.
Life has to be very easy
for people like you.
It's always easier
than people like you make it.
You have grown hard, haven't you?
Whatever's happened to you?
You've changed.
You never used to be like this.
- You must know you've changed.
- Of course, what do you expect?
Life does change people.
Why do you never come home now?
After mother died,
I made sure you'd try.
Because I don't belong here anymore,
as you say.
I've changed.
Maggie, you're not happy, are you?
Who is?
Oh, plenty of people.
Perhaps, if they're stupid enough.
Why must you always crackle like ice?
What's happened to make you seem
all frozen over inside?
You're like someone out
of a Hans Andersen story.
The frozen queen who went down
to the gardens of the dead.
- Did she?
- Mag, what has happened?
Oh, do tell me.
Alright, I'll tell you.
You remember Bob?
Your American?
My American, yes.
But I thought he was killed
right back in the middle of the war.
Yes, he was killed, quite killed.
I loved him very much.
They... they found his body,
what was left of it.
Oh, darling,
you should have come home for a bit.
You needn't even have
told us anything about it
- but you should've come.
- I was pregnant.
It was all rather difficult.
I didn't quite know what to do.
It was just about then that mother
was ill for the first time. You remember?
I couldn't very well tell anyone.
Well, you could have told me.
Yes, I suppose I could.
There didn't seem to be
much point in that.
Luckily, I was away in London at the time
so I thought I'd better
get on with it by myself.
How awful for you.
Oh, no it wasn't too bad
once I'd made up my mind.
But darling, what happened?
Were you alright?
Yes, quite alright. It was a boy.
I called him Simon.
I don't know why.
If only I'd known.
Of course, I see it all now.
But it was a... it was
a bit of a problem at first.
That's why I went to live
with Sally and Christopher in Highgate.
They had a nanny for the twins.
She looked after Simon as well.
It left me free
to get a job in the daytime.
Well, now you see why I never wanted
to stay very long when I did come home.
I was always wanting to get back to Simon.
Yes, of course.
Oh, Mag, darling, it's wonderful.
I'm dying to see him.
How old is he now?
He would've been five last September.
Would have been?
He died last year of meningitis.
Well, there it is.
Now you know.
And he was only four?
When I was in hospital,
I heard a child once.
Urgh, how unpleasant for you.
But Margaret, darling,
I don't quite understand.
Simon was the reason
for your not coming home, but...
now there's no reason left, surely?
Oh, yes there is,
I couldn't stand the pretence.
Why would there be any?
Oh, because father thinks of me
as someone I no longer am.
Does it make so much difference?
Well... well, nothing's left the same.
It's... well, it's... it's not numbness.
It's not despair.
It's... it's a sort of clarity.
Not like yours, though.
Because of it, I don't feel or think
as I used to about anything,
even little ordinary things,
like Christmas decorations and holly.
Oh, don't you see, if I came
back and lived with father,
I should be playing a part all the time,
pretending to be like I used to be.
No, it would be an impossible,
unbearable situation.
The only solution would be to tell him.
- I couldn't do that, could I?
- Couldn't you?
No. No, I suppose you couldn't.
At least... no, I don't really see
how you could.
- It would upset him too dreadfully.
- Exactly. That's the trouble.
He'd see it as a moral issue but I don't.
Besides, the whole thing's over
and done with now.
Over and done with?
What nonsense life is.
You think so?
Just at the moment, yes.
Hither page and stand by me
If thou knowest in telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?
Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By St. Agnes' fountain
Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear them thither
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather
Sire, the night is darker now
and the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart...
I've just been telling Jenny.
About Simon?
How did she take it?
Very well.
There's a lot to be said for Jenny.
Margaret, you must leave that alone.
We have to get through the evening
- Yes, but not that way.
- How else?
Well, if you're gonna start drinking,
you much better have stayed in London.
I'm sorry.
I suppose I'm being rather a bore.
Well, you are, rather.
That's the trouble with drunks.
They are bores.
I'm not a drunk.
Well, but, you're well on the way
to becoming one.
Oh, nonsense, Richard. Don't be silly.
Alright, perhaps not just yet, but...
How many times in the last two years
have you gone home really sober?
Having spent the evening drinking
with people who bore you to tears?
You know perfectly well why.
Why do you bother about me?
I have to, I'm your godfather.
How strange you are.
I believe you take this
godfather business quite seriously.
Well, why not?
I wonder why my parents
ever chose you to be a godfather.
You don't even believe in God.
Or do you?
What's it matter to you what I believe in?
- It does matter.
- Why?
Because I think perhaps
what you can believe in,
I could believe in, too.
Tell me, seriously, do you believe in God?
No. I thought not, uh-huh.
There it is.
I'd say, we're in for a jolly evening,
two hours of cosy Yuletide.
Can't you feel it closing in on us?
Mick, let's get out of here.
- Let's go to the pictures.
- OK, suits me.
Come on, then, quick.
You miss the beginning, I don't suppose
the film will be any good anyway.
Never mind, escape,
the foundation of all entertainment.
It's a fleapit.
I'm frozen to the bone in this house.
We've been talking about you
and your dear David.
Come by the fire, aunt Bridget,
and keep warm.
No, thank you.
I'll sit away from the fire.
I don't want to soften meself.
Listen, darling, we've been over it
all most carefully
and we've come to the conclusion
that there's only one solution.
- What's that, aunt Bridget?
- Your father ought to retire.
Well, I don't know
what they'll make of it all, I'm sure,
but I'm going to tell them something
about the ancient origins
of their Christian customs.
How very interesting.
D'you know why you put holly
on the walls at Christmas?
Something to do with the druids, isn't it?
No, that's the mistletoe.
It goes right back
to the old nature worship,
the struggle between the holly
and the ivy.
There's a lot about it here in this book.
The holly was the young men,
and the ivy was the girls.
It was the struggle between them
as to who should rule the house.
I know who rules in this house.
Come and sit down, darling,
here in the warm.
Where are the other two?
They've gone out.
On Christmas Eve?
Gone out?
They've gone to the pictures.
To the pictures?
I didn't know
there was anything interesting on.
How quiet it is.
It's the snow, aunt Lydia,
It muffles everything.
What's the joke, Martin?
Oh, it was just something
that tickled me here, that's all.
In the Middle Ages, they had
a Feast of Fools at Christmas.
It seems they got a bit rowdy at times.
And in 1444,
the cathedral chapter of Sens
laid down a regulation
that not more than three buckets
of water
could be thrown over a curate at vespers.
But Martin, why do they do all these
extraordinary things at Christmas.
Well, nobody knows why.
One theory is it goes back to the days
when they were making the calender.
They put in the extra days
between the lunar and the solar year
and when they put them in,
they felt they were queer sort of days
that didn't really exist,
days on which anything might happen.
How strange.
I used to feel rather like that
about Christmas when I was a child.
I remember how wonderful it was
seeing the snow outside,
finding our Christmas stockings.
And all day long,
a strange sort of excitement.
And then in the evening,
downstairs in the drawing room,
dark green and glittering,
the Christmas tree.
Somehow Christmas
never seems quite the same now.
As one gets older,
the magic seems to go out of things.
Ten o'clock.
I'll put the kettle on.
I expect the others will be back soon.
I'll come and help you.
Yes, Lydia, dear.
Martin, dear.
Bridget and I have been talking
and we can't help feeling that perhaps
the time has really come
when you ought to begin
to think of retiring.
I have several years ahead of me yet.
Of course, you have, Martin, dear,
that's just the point.
Why not have them to yourself?
What about me work?
Or perhaps you don't think
that's very important.
I do. Of course, I do.
And I know how splendid you are.
You've given yourself completely
to the people of this place.
Don't you know, I doubt if half of them
have the faintest conception
of what I'm here for.
They think I'm paid to marry them
and bury them
and sign their pension papers for them
just like a civil servant.
I should have thought
a little country town like this
was just the sort of place
where the parson still does
have a great deal of influence.
Well, you'd think so, wouldn't you?
And that's what I thought when I came.
There's the church,
a great 14th century church
standing up there
in the middle of the town.
It's the centre of the place,
It should be the centre
of the place spiritually, too.
But it's not, no.
That little tin pot shack of a cinema
they've gone to tonight
has more influence on the lives
of people here than the church.
I think the clergy have no one
but themselves to blame,
they're a lazy lot.
Oh, but you can't say that about Martin.
No one could have worked harder.
Martin, dear, you deserve a rest.
You can't go on forever.
Oh, nonsense,
I'd be nothing without me work.
But you have so many interests.
Look how you enjoy
poking in your old books.
Poking in old books wouldn't be enough
to make sense of me life.
It's kind of you
to bother about me, but I...
I'd rather carry on while I can.
That's all very fine and large.
You've not only yourself to think about,
there's Jenny too.
Jenny? What's Jenny to do with it?
It's no life for a girl to be
stuck away here looking after an old man.
It's time she got away
and led a life of her own.
She's perfectly free to go
if she wants to.
Yes, but Martin, is she?
Jenny, what's this
your aunt Bridget's been saying?
D'you feel that you want
to get away from here?
Oh, aunt Bridget, really?
We've only been trying to persuade
your father he ought to retire.
Oh, it's no use talking about that.
But, tell me, Jenny...
You're just in time for tea.
Ah, come and sit down, Margaret.
Come and get warm,
you look frozen.
Some people
put films before family, I see.
Come here in the warm now, no nonsense.
Well, Richard, had a cosy evening?
Your gardens of the dead are here tonight
with a vengeance, Jenny.
It's like walking over
the surface of the moon.
The snow's too pale.
Jenny, lend me a hand.
Oh, she should never have gone
out in the cold like that.
Before where we know where we are,
that flu of hers
will be turning to pleurisy.
She's drunk, Martin.
That's what it is, she's drunk.
The holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all trees that are in the wood
The holly bears a crown
We just passed the carol singers
over at David, uh...
what's his name, David?
You know, Jenny's boyfriend?
- Hello, aunt Bridget, had a nice evening?
- Disgusting.
Good night, Martin, dear.
Oh, good night. Good night.
It's rather a good bit of luck.
I saw rather a good film.
"Nanook of the North," all about Eskimos.
Of course, it's old
but it was really very...
You've not been near the cinema.
Why don't you tell the truth?
The truth?
You can't be told the truth.
That's the trouble.
That's the whole trouble.
You can't be told the truth!
You'd better go to bed, Michael.
Better give them something.
It's alright, father.
I've got a shilling here.
Oh, Jenny, Jenny.
What would I do without you?
You'll never have to, father.
Happy Christmas, Richard.
Happy Christmas, Jenny.
Would you like some coffee?
I'm just going to make some.
No, I don't think I've got time
before the train.
What train?
You don't say, aunt Bridget's going?
Bridget? No, no, Margaret.
Oh, she mustn't.
Oh, I don't know, perhaps it's best.
Richard, what about this drinking of hers?
It was frightening last night.
Oh, I wouldn't worry too much
about last night, if I were you, Jenny.
It was exceptional.
There were special circumstances.
Coming home at all
was a bit of a strain for her.
She only drinks because she's unhappy.
And it's not only her grief. It's...
it's because she's askew with the world.
Maybe, but her...
her askewness, as you call it,
well, that's considerably worse
than her drinking.
She got that straight,
she'd be perfectly alright.
Of course,
London's the worst place for her.
I wish she wasn't going home
to that flat all by herself.
Seen my father this morning?
No, not yet.
Trouble is they all make such
a darn fuss about everything.
Who do?
People like my parents, religious people.
Mother was just the same.
Any conversation goes right back to
the creation of the world and beyond.
Well, take a thing like last night.
Alright, I was tight. I admit it.
It was darn silly
in front of the aunts and all.
Anybody'd have the right
to be a bit annoyed about it.
But an ordinary father, you know,
a stock broker or someone would just...
just tick you off
and that'd be an end to it.
For the parson,
the whole thing's quite different.
He may not be angry,
he may not even say anything,
but he'll be what Jenny calls upset
which is worse.
Well, I must go and to try start the car.
Margaret's going.
I said I'd take her to the station.
I don't blame her. If I had
two pins, I'd go myself,
it's going to be awful here today.
Cheer up, Mick, ol' boy,
in a 100 years, we'll all be dead.
Just look at the sun on the snow,
it's heavenly.
We might almost be in Lapland
or somewhere.
I'm not going to stay here
after what happened last night.
- Bridget, you're not going.
- I am.
Oh, but it's so wrong
to take up this attitude.
I do feel it's so wrong.
We ought to try and be more tolerant.
I don't see the point
of tolerating low habits.
Anyway, you ought to stay
if only for Jenny's sake.
She's taken so much trouble
with all these wonderful preparations.
No really, I think it most unkind of you
to go off like this.
Oh, well, I... I didn't mean it
that way at all.
I know you didn't, aunt Bridget.
You'll miss the goose if you go now.
Goose is it you're having, not turkey?
Oh, dear, don't you like goose?
I do. I prefer it.
Now I don't know what to do.
Then stay on, Bridget.
Please, do stay.
Very well, then, I will.
I'm going now to get ready for church.
Aunt Bridget, Happy Christmas.
Happy Christmas.
Oh, hello, Mick.
Do you know where Jenny is?
Oh, she's in the kitchen.
I think I'll fetch her.
No, no, just... just tell her
I'm ready for my coffee, would you?
She's making it now, I think.
Good. Hmm.
Ah, well. Hmm.
- Father?
- Yes?
I'm, uh...
I'm sorry about last night.
Ah, well.
Can't be helped now. There it is.
Tell me, do you... do you often
take too much to drink?
Not often, no, of course not.
It has happened before, though, has it?
Well, yes, I, um, have
been tight once or twice.
I suppose you think nothing of it?
I suppose it is a bit silly.
It all depends how tight you get, really.
Does it?
It does not.
That's a superficial way
of looking at things.
The rightness or wrongness
of anything you do
depends on what you think life is for.
- Have you ever thought of it that way?
- Oh.
I'm sorry. Here's your coffee, darling.
Drink it while it's hot.
- Oh, thank you, Jenny.
- Mick's having some too.
I'll come and help you
with all the washing up.
No, no, finish your coffee first.
Don't want to spoil your Christmas
for you.
Says it was only an accident
about last night.
Truly, you might have seen to it
you didn't make your sister drunk.
I made her drunk? Wasn't my fault.
You're not suggesting
it was hers, are you?
Well, it certainly wasn't mine. I didn't
even know she meant to go to the pub.
Oh, don't start making excuses.
What's the matter who thought of it first?
- That's a contemptible thing to say.
- Well, it's true.
I suppose you're of age
to be responsible for your own actions.
Aren't you ashamed to stand there
and tell me
- it was your sister who made you drunk?
- Well, the truth is...
oh, alright, have it your own way.
Now look here, Michael,
I hadn't meant to say anything about this
but there's something else
that's been bothering me.
I don't suppose you were too drunk to know
what you were saying last night?
No, I wasn't.
I asked you why you didn't tell the truth.
- Do you remember what you said then?
- Yes, I remember.
You said that I couldn't be
told the truth, didn't you?
- Yes.
- What did you mean by that?
- Oh, I don't know...
- No, Michael, I want to know.
What did you mean when you said
I couldn't be told the truth?
Well, I meant exactly what I said.
You can't be told the truth,
at least not by us,
not by Jenny and Margaret and me.
The real facts about us
would hurt you too much, so we lie to you.
At least if we don't lie,
we conceal the truth from you.
The whole situation in this house
is built on lies and concealment.
Situation in this house?
Well, look what happened just now.
I was trying to tell you about last night,
what happened to Margaret
but you wouldn't listen.
Of course I understand very well,
of course, what you mean
about responsibility.
The plain fact is...
well, she drinks!
There, you see, it does upset you.
Can you blame us for trying
to conceal that sort of thing?
- How long have you known this?
- Only since last night.
It's just one of the few things
I did find out last night.
Of course, there have always been
things you couldn't be told.
I didn't realise how far it had gone,
when it's a question of Jenny's
spoiling her whole life.
Jenny? Jenny? What's Jenny to do with it?
I heard that Jenny wants to get married
to David Paterson.
Well, does she now?
Well, I'm glad it was my own idea.
I thought nothing was coming of it.
Yes, but the way she felt,
she ought not to
unless Margaret could come here
and be with you.
There's no need for her to feel that.
I don't want anyone to feel obliged
to be here with me.
But why did she refuse? Why?
Not because she didn't want to
but because she couldn't face
settling down here
to a life of false pretences.
And yet she felt
she couldn't tell you the truth.
The truth? The truth? What truth?
The truth about herself.
I didn't know till last night,
neither did Jenny.
That's all part of the same thing.
She could have told us both
quite easily years ago
but she didn't want to put us in the
position of deceiving you all the times.
So she had to go through
the whole thing alone.
That's how she gotten
to this terrible state.
Will you stop ranting
and tell me what all this is about?
Well, during the war, she had an affair
with an American airman.
It was serious.
I mean, she was in love with him.
He was killed and after he was killed,
she found she was going to have a child.
I see.
Well, don't you see how impossible
it would be to tell you a thing like that?
- Impossible? Why impossible?
- Why? Isn't it obvious?
You're a parson. You'd be shocked.
You'd bound to be shocked.
D'you think because I'm a parson,
I know nothing about life?
Why do you think I was ordained
in the first place?
D'you think it was because
I was so easily shocked
that I couldn't face realities?
No, of course not.
As a parson, you have
a different attitude to life.
You think a thing like this
that's happened to Margaret is wrong
and what's more, you would expect
everybody else to feel the same way.
Well, don't you see,
how can parsons expect
to be told the truth?
A man can't even talk to them
like ordinary human beings.
Well, if that's the way
I've made you all feel.
I've failed.
I've failed completely.
Oh, heck.
Poor Jenny, I'm afraid
you're going to have a trying day
but I'm glad
you persuaded Richard to stay.
It was not easy.
Oh, well, that comes with living alone.
Hasn't made you difficult, aunt Lydia.
Oh, well, it's different for me.
There's been someone in my life.
I haven't always been alone.
It's strange how our life
only seems to have meaning
because of someone else.
You understand that, Jenny,
you're in love.
Don't, aunt Lydia, that's all over.
We can't get married.
I realised it quite clearly last night.
Oh, darling, no, that's such a mistake.
When you're in love, you mustn't
let anything stand in the way.
Isn't that sentimental, aunt Lydia?
Marriage isn't the only thing
in the world.
It's a very important one.
Don't you think people
exaggerate its importance?
I'm 70, Jenny.
I've seen quite a lot of the world.
I know what I'm talking about.
Everyone needs someone else.
Loneliness is a terrible thing,
it can do appalling things to one.
That's why I'm always so sorry
for people like Bridget.
She did what you're thinking of doing.
She stayed at home
to look after your grandmother.
I think she was quite right to do that.
Perhaps. But think what it has meant.
Ever since your grandmother died
Bridget has been quite alone.
If she died tomorrow, it wouldn't really
make the slightest difference to anyone.
That's why it means so much to her
to be here with you all for Christmas.
Oh, Margaret, oh, you're...
you're going, are you?
Oh, well, perhaps it's better so.
Uh, one... one minute, though,
before you go.
I... I want you to know that... that I know.
Michael's just told me.
I can see that you would feel
the way that you do about it, but I...
I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Margaret.
I... I've been no use to you,
no use at all.
Well, never mind.
I managed alright.
Yes, but that's just what hurts me
that you felt
that you had to manage alone
and that you've gone on feeling it
all these years.
Oh, it's a terrible thing.
Tell me, has it always been the same
when you were children,
did you feel the same way then?
Michael tells me that you, all of you,
always been afraid
to speak freely before me.
Well, not for any personal reason,
only because of religion.
Because of religion.
A fine caricature I've made of religion
if that's how it seems
to me own children.
It should be because of my religion
I have more sympathy
and understanding for people.
But I have, Margaret, I have.
Do I seem the kind of men that turn away
from the sorrows of his own children.
Ahh, if I do, it's no wonder me works
had so little effect all these years. I...
I've been distorting
and misrepresenting religion
all my life without knowing it.
I can't believe it.
Oh, well, it's too late now.
If that's how you feel, you'd better go.
You'll be happier in London.
- Happy?
- Well, at least you'll have your child.
Didn't they tell you? He's dead.
Oh, Margaret.
No, no, please.
It's all over and done with now.
But at least your...
your friends and your work
will be of some comfort to you.
My friends are anyone
who wants another drink.
Oh, I've often thought
how much I'd rather be here.
But, of course, it wouldn't work.
I can see that.
I'm out all day scribbling smart,
highly paid nonsense.
It earns the rent of a wonderful flat
that I can't bear to stay in alone
for five minutes
when I get back in the evening.
Well, it makes no sense.
But why should it after all?
The world as a whole makes no sense.
You mean it makes no sense to you.
No, not only to me, to everyone.
Only most people don't notice it.
I've been made...
more aware of it, that's all,
because of what happened.
You mustn't let it make you bitter.
I'm not bitter.
This has nothing to do
with my personal feelings at all.
It's something I've seen.
Why just as you,
suddenly see the solution
of a mathematical problem.
Only this isn't a solution.
Aren't you deceiving yourself
when you say
that it's nothing to do with feeling?
I don't think so.
Well, it began with feeling, of course.
But feeling soon exhausts itself.
You can't feel even grief forever.
But grief leaves an emptiness.
There's always a blankness.
Yes, I know, but it's not that.
It's something far bigger than that.
It's as though in that blankness
I've suddenly stumbled on something
that affects everyone.
Everyone in the world.
Well, listen, when Robert was killed,
I really did love him, you know.
And after that, I found
I was going to have Simon,
well, now, that seemed important
because... not only because of Robert
but another life
in the world is important.
So for the next four years, I did
everything I possibly could for Simon.
Well, then he died.
And I just felt, well...
well, what was the point of it all?
What was the value of all that effort?
Don't you see?
It was then that I first began
to realise that in the end
it's the same for everyone.
Practically all the efforts
that people make
are simply to keep life going
whether their own or somebody else's.
And the whole thing's doomed to failure,
we know that.
Life can't be kept going indefinitely.
With the sun's growing cold, in the end,
the human race
will be frozen off the Earth, well,
what sense does that make?
Oh, I know.
I know what you'll say about God
and immortality and so on, but...
I just can't believe in that.
No, how can you understand?
You're a parson.
Yes, I am.
It was thoughts like yours that I had
when I was a young man
that first made me think
of being ordained.
I never could be certain
from one moment to the other
what I believed about anything.
I'm not interested in faith.
I don't want to...
comfort myself with fairy stories.
Fairy stories?
Oh, I'll not have you say that.
You know, that's the trouble
with your generation.
You must see and touch
before you can believe.
Well, can you touch the wind?
St. Augustine said that.
Oh, you're clever, you're intelligent.
But you frighten yourself with words.
Ah, people don't know what they want
half the time,
more money, they think, or more power
or just another drink, perhaps,
or another wife or another lover.
Ah, but it's none of these things
because even when they have them
there's still something they want.
They don't know what it is
and they go on wanting something
and not knowing what it is.
And that is the root
of all the religions in the world.
But you must face life,
you know, Margaret.
Grapple with it,
not turn your back on it
before you can make sense of it all.
Why do you think I became a parson
in the first place?
Because I saw what life was like,
not because I didn't.
And yet, Mick comes in here
and has the impudence to tell me
that I can't be told about you
because I'm a parson.
And you tell me
that I can't understand your need
because I'm a parson, too, I suppose.
It's insufferable nonsense.
Oh, botheration,
I hadn't meant to say a word.
But why didn't Jenny tell me
that she wanted to get married?
Ah, so you've woken up
to the truth at last.
What did you know about this?
Did you know Jenny wanted to get married?
I did.
And I hope you've been telling Margaret
where her duty lies.
You leave Margaret out of this.
You're a foolish old woman, Bridget.
Always with a chip on your shoulder,
always up against somebody.
If you hadn't been so cantankerous
all your life,
Jenny could have asked you to come here
and keep house for me,
instead of spending all your life
pampering that fat cat of yours.
You'll be cruel to a cat, I suppose.
I believe cats have souls.
Ah, listen, the full peal.
Ah, what an absurd world it is.
The Christmas bells,
peace on Earth, goodwill towards men.
And here have I been losing my temper
and shouting at you.
I beg your pardon, Bridget.
I must be off at once.
Where... where's me coat?
It's here. I'll get it.
Ah, and me beastly galoshes.
Here it is.
Is there anything else you want?
No, no, yes, yes, it's, um, over there.
Jenny makes me wear these for the snow
but I can't be seen in church in them.
Here, put one in each pocket.
What a wonderful idea.
Are you sure you've got
everything you want?
Yes, yes, thanks.
You know, I'm sorry
to be rushing off like this.
That's alright. Here's your sermon.
Ah, thank you, Margaret.
You know, this... this talk we've had,
there's been truth in it.
If not in the words,
then between the words
or between us.
And that's why I'm grateful to you
because it's not often
I have a real talk with anyone.
Uh, no.
Happy Christmas.
If you're half a man, you'll take
Jenny out of this double quick.
- Out of what?
- Disgusting.
I don't care to talk about it.
Happy Christmas.
Oh, my poor David, I am so sorry for you.
What is all this gloom about?
Well, but hasn't Jenny told you?
It's been dreadful, quite dreadful.
The most appalling things have happened
since you were here yesterday.
Yes, but what? That's what I want to know.
What has happened?
I haven't time, I'm going to church
but it's disastrous,
absolutely disastrous.
Mick, can you tell me
what's been happening?
Oh, yes, there's just been
an atomic explosion.
Since last night, the whole of our lives
have been split open, exposed.
This morning, everybody's stumbling
about among the debris.
The whole place is radioactive. I must go.
- Wait, have you got a sixpence?
- What for?
The collection. Jenny will pay you back
out of the housekeeping. Goodbye.
- Good morning.
- Good morning.
You'll be Margaret, I suppose.
Look here, I have a bone to pick with you.
What's all this about
you refusing to come home?
But I am coming home.
You are?
- There now, I said you would.
- Did you?
I told Jenny yesterday. I couldn't
believe it when she said you wouldn't.
I wonder why she thought I wouldn't.
I don't know, she said you just wouldn't,
that's all.
Said you weren't
that sort of a person.
I thought it was monstrous.
You remind me of my aunt Bridget.
You seem to have very
explosive views about people.
Oh, I just see things clearly. That's all.
Well, be careful
you don't see them too clearly.
Hey, what are you getting at?
I can't make head or tail of anyone
in this house this morning.
What's the matter with you all?
It's Christmas, the family festival.
We've all learned a thing or two
about each other, that's all.
Oh, I haven't the time to see Jenny.
You must tell her,
perhaps it would be better
for you to tell her anyway
say that I've had some
talk with my father
and everything's quite alright.
That last bit's the most important.
She'll know what it means.
Don't worry,
she'll know what it means, alright.
- Pack up, Margaret.
- I'm not going to London.
- Not going?
- I'm going to church.
- But I've just started...
- It's Christmas.
Come on, you old heathen.
Oh, happy Christmas.
Happy Christmas.
- Happy Christmas.
- Jenny.
- Jenny.
- Coming.
Oh, David!
- David, I'm so late.
- Jenny, Margaret's coming home.
- Oh, she mustn't.
- Mustn't?
You mean you've changed your mind?
- No, but...
- What does this mean then?
She just this moment told me to tell you
she's had some talk with your father
and it's quite alright.
Oh, that's wonderful.
It won't be easy, of course, but...
it's everything.
Jenny, what's the matter?
What are you crying for?
I think you're mad,
stark, staring, raving mad.
O, come all ye faithful
joyful and triumphant...