Lee Evans in The History of Mr Polly (2007)

Not Such a Pretty Polly

Following the death of his father, Alfred Polly (Lee Evans) finds himself coming in to a small fortune which in turn leads to him marrying his cousin, Miriam (Anne-Marie Duff), and then opening a shop together. But as the years pass by Alfred finds himself feeling more and more trapped in a life he doesn't fit in to whilst also thinking of Christabel (Georgia King) who he met when she was just a girl. It is then that Alfred decides he needs to make a drastic decision if he is to be able to live life on his terms, and so he just disappears one day, finding work at the Potwell Inn, a country pub where circumstances give him the perfect out.

It has been longer than I care to remember since I last watched the 1949 version of "The History of Mr. Polly" but remember clearly enjoying the storyline and also connecting with the character of Alfred Polly, brilliantly played by John Mills. Maybe it is due to my affection for both older movies and John Mills that this 2007 adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel ended up disappointing and failing to not only deliver the charm of the original but it failed to connect with me on the character level which the original did.

Part of the trouble with this 2007 version of "The History of Mr Polly" is that during the first half it doesn't have a natural flow to it and initially feels like it has cherry picked various scenes to do rather than telling the story, making it almost feel like an abridged version. The knock on effect of this feeling cherry picked is that it never spends enough time in a scene to not only create some atmosphere but to really build the character depth. And what that means is that whilst Lee Evans does a nice job of playing Alfred in a slightly odd ball manner doesn't really manage to bring the character to life. In fairness the second half is much stronger than the first but that first half spoils things.

What this all boils down to is that this 2007 version of "The History of Mr Polly" whilst still having a pleasantness due to the nature of the story doesn't bring it to life in the same way that the 1949 version achieved with his almost feeling like an abridged version of the story.