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Looking Forward

(1933 b 82')

En: 6 Ed: 7

Adapted from a play by C. L. Anthony, the owner of a department store lays off an employee of forty years and considers selling the store.

In England business is very slow at the Service department store. Gabriel Service (Lewis Stone) is told by his partner Mr. Felton (Halliwell Hobbes) that he is sacking ten men. Service tells Benton (Lionel Barrymore) that in spite of his having been there forty years his job is no longer needed. To economize Service and his son Michael (Phillips Holmes) take the bus. At the Bentons young Willy (Douglas Walton) cannot borrow money for tennis from his mother. Benton tells his wife (Doris Lloyd) he got sacked, and they let their servant go.

In the Service mansion Ray invites Isobel (Benita Hume) to his place. Her step-daughter Caroline (Elizabeth Allan) is also going out. Michael goes out, and Service is left alone for dinner. Caroline shows her legs to Geoffrey and asks to borrow money from her father; but he refuses. Service learns the bank will not accommodate his firm. He says they must give up the house and the dogs. All their money is trying to save the business. Isobel has a settlement of 500 pounds a year. Service agrees to see Stoner, whose suburban store still makes money. Service and his partners decide to sell to Stoner. Service expects the staff will soon be greatly reduced. He comes home late without dinner and tells Caroline they will keep the house and her dogs. She tells her father that his wife Isobel has gone away with Ray.

The Bentons are selling home-made pastries, and Willie delivers them by bicycle. Benton tells his daughter Elsie they made twenty pounds last month. Caroline Service tells Geoffrey she has been a parasite as she worries about her father. Michael shows his father metal furniture he has designed; he turned down a position in Germany. Service says they must sell or go bankrupt in six months. Service on the way to the solicitor meets Benton, who tells him about his pastry business and how being laid off turned him around. He says the young can meet the challenge, as they did in the war. Service sees a newspaper announcing the sale to Stoner. Service decides not to sell. Caroline tells Service and Geoffrey she is living on a low salary, and Michael orders pastries for their shop from Benton. As the rain stops, they see a rainbow.

This story shows how the Depression caused chain reactions of lay-offs, forcing people to scramble for new opportunities. Economic pressures challenge relationships and personal motivations.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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