The Winslow Boy: Inspired by an Actual Event

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  • Topic: The Winslow Boy, Cedric Hardwicke, George Archer-Shee
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  • Published : May 22, 2011
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The Winslow Boy is an English play from 1946 by Terence Rattigan based on an actual incident in the Edwardian era, which took place at the Royal Naval College, Osborne.

Contents [hide]
1 Performance History
2 Background
3 Plot
3.1 Differences between reality and fiction
4 Film adaptations
5 External links

[edit] Performance HistoryThe play's London premiere was in 1946, and it featured Emlyn Williams, Mona Washbourne, Angela Baddeley, Kathleen Harrison, Frank Cellier, Jack Watling and Clive Morton. It was under the direction of Glen Byam Shaw.

The play's Broadway premiere was in 1947, and it featured Frank Allenby as Sir Robert, Alan Webb as Arthur Winslow, and Valerie White as Catherine Winslow.

The play was later made into a famous 1948 film directed by Anthony Asquith, starring Robert Donat as Sir Robert Morton KC, Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Arthur Winslow, and Margaret Leighton as Catherine Winslow. There was also a 1999 version, directed by David Mamet, and starring Nigel Hawthorne as Arthur Winslow, Jeremy Northam as Morton, and Rebecca Pidgeon as Catherine. The play has also been adapted for television, including a 1990 version starring Gordon Jackson as Arthur Winslow, Ian Richardson as Morton and Emma Thompson as Catherine.

[edit] BackgroundSet against the strict codes of conduct and manners of the age, The Winslow Boy is based on a father's fight to clear his son's name after the boy is expelled from Osborne Naval College for stealing a five-shilling postal order. To clear the boy's name was imperative for the family's honour; had they not done so, they would have been shunned by their peers and society. The boy's life would have been wrecked by the stain on his character.

The play was inspired by an actual event, which set a legal precedent: the case of Stonyhurst College alumnus George Archer-Shee, a cadet at Osborne in 1908, who was accused of stealing a postal order from a fellow cadet. His elder brother Major Martin...
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