"Celia Johnson appeared in Lean’s next film (and first solo directorial effort) This Happy Breed (1944). Johnson is perfect as Lean’s middle-class muse, wide-eyed with dreams that would eventually be crushed by domestic disappointment. Ronald Neame’s creamy Technicolor photography elevates this story of “common people” to tragic heights: after his return from the first world war, a husband and his wife set down roots in a small town and start a family. Instead of the idealistic happiness of their dreams, the husband and wife become witnesses to their children’s disappointment, disaster, and even death. In This Happy Breed, the home becomes a landscape of human suffering, discontent, and uncertainty, all rendered through Lean’s exquisite direction and restrained performances of the cast."
Cullen Gallagher is a Brooklyn-based writer, musician, and curator whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Life Sentence, Moving Image Source, Bright Lights Film Journal, Beat to a Pulp, NoirCon, Crimefactory, Film Comment, The L Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Fandor, Not Coming to a Theater Near You, Hammer to Nail, Spinetingler, Between Lavas, Reverse Shot, and Guitar Review. He records instrumental music as Modern Silent Cinema and plays in the hardcore band Night Squad.