All my life I’ve been enthralled by the British Cinema. CELIA JOHNSON, has over the decades been a shining star giving performances with such emotional depth and breadth of the human experience that any actress would be hard pressed to surpass the delicate balance of her singular acting abilities.
Watching her as the overworked, no nonsense, capable wife and mother in, ‘This Happy Breed’, was to envision the multitudes of English women who were the product of the before and after of (WWI) World War 1. This Happy Breed, explored the everyday lives of working class people on the British Isles who were the natural, breathing, emblem of love of God and Country. Their courage and fortitude was the moral and emotional ‘stiffener’ for the war ravaged years ahead under the ominous threat of Hitler. How this seemingly frail actress could convey all this is what makes film the wonder that it is. Before I try to delve into some of the individual scenes; I want to pay tribute to her face, those large expressive eyes, the scope of a face that would not be thought of traditionally or immediately as a picture of porcelain beauty, or to coin a phrase, unlike the legendary Helen of Troy it could not launch a thousand ships. Yet, it had the ability to enrapture one in an extraordinary way. Whether she was the prim housewife in ‘Brief Encounter’, or in one of her last roles shown on American TV, in ‘Staying On’, somehow her voice, face, and body melded together to create something superb in the field of acting. Vic's Picks for flicks Celia Johnson This is illustrated amply in any of the roles which she played, in ‘Staying On’, she was left to be the widow among the alien corps. I wonder if she was aware of the fact, that in that heartrending speech to her dead husband, Tusker she was in fact speaking for scores of women newly bereaved, and feeling just as alone and forsaken among strangers even in their own home and country? This is the quality of human relating that her acting could etch on the minds and hearts of her viewers. CELIA JOHNSON was the quintessence and foundational epitome of the English Woman at home and abroad as a working caregiver in every essential way. Flimography: Please check out some of her stellar work in the following films…. This Happy Breed, Brief Encounter, The Astonished Heart, The Holly And The Ivy, Staying On, Captain’s Paradise, The Importance of being Earnest, In Which We Serve. Come back again for more of Vic's Picks for Flicks Celia Johnson,