Lease of Life

Date: 1954
Director: Charles Frend
Production Company: J. Arthur Rank Organisation, Ealing Studios, Michael Balcon Productions

Stars: Robert Donat, Kay Walsh, Adrienne Corri, Denholm Elliott
Location(s): Berkshire, Yorkshire

Region(s): ,


The modest vicar of a small village reevaluates his life when discovering that he has less than a year to live.

Additional Information:

Screen captures by Phil Wilkinson and uncredited now shots provided by Neil Oakes.

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Inside the village church at Hinton St. John, Reverend William Thorne teaches Sunday school. All Saints church seen from The Green in Lund, Yorkshire.

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The Lord's Prayer is said before the children make their ways home. Looking towards All Saints church at Lund in Yorkshire's East Riding.

A car drives into nearby Gilchester. Facing east on Keldgate Road towards Beverley, Yorkshire.

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Neil Oakes sends this and the uncredited "now" shots. A more formalised pavement now and a speed limit. (RL)

Inside the Cathedral a service draws to a close. Long Lane in Beverley with Beverley Minster dominating the scene.

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Now in "softer" surroundings. (RL)

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Leaving the Cathedral, the Dean (Walter Fitzgerald) meets the Headmaster of St. Martin's School (Cyril Raymond).

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The two discuss the position of School Chaplain. Outside Beverley Minster with properties on Minster Yard South in the right background.

William Thorne (Robert Donat) leaves his church and walks wearily home.

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It would appear that the gravestone has been attended to. (RL)

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The following morning, the Reverend and his wife Vera discuss their daughter Susan's music scholarship when a letters arrives from the Dean asking him to preach on St. Martin's School founders day.

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Vera and Susan catch the bus into Gilchester. A panorama of Beverley with Beverley Minster in the centre distance and buildings on Lady Gate and Corn Hill to the bottom right.

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In Ye Olde Oak Parlour, Susan waits with her music tutor Martin Blake while her mother learns that the Chaplaincy at St. Martin's may be offered to William. Looking along Saturday Market from Corn Hill in Beverley.

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The Reverend Thorne wishes Carter (Richard Leech) a good morning as he arrives at Sproatley's Farm.

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Mrs. Sproatley (Vida Hope) greets the Vicar who has come to visit her dying Husband.

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Reverend Thorne catches the bus from Gilchester after visiting Dr. Pembury. The corner of Corn Hill and Saturday Market in Beverley, Yorkshire.

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Learning that he has only a year to live, William contemplates his position on the journey home. Saturday Market with the Market Cross to the left and the tower of St. Mary’s church beyond.

Arriving back in Hinton St. John, the Reverend is met by Miss Calthorpe (Jean Anderson) and her Friend (Edie Martin). The Green in Lund with The Wellington Inn in the left background.

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The Wellington Inn now with changed signage. (RL)

The day on which William is to deliver his sermon in the Cathedral dawns. The Green, Lund in Yorkshire.

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At least the scaffolding on the church has been taken down. (RL)

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Following a visit to Mr. Sproatley, the Reverend returns home having missed the bus into Gilchester.

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After a less than conventional sermon, the congregation leaves Gilchester Cathedral. The west front of Beverley Minster.

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Outside the Cathedral, William speaks with a Pupil (Robert Sandford) as Vera (Kay Walsh) and Susan (Adrienne Corri) wait to leave.

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Shunning William, the Headmaster of St. Michael's and the Dean leave the Cathedral. The west front of Beverley Minster in Yorkshire.

William and his family take a taxi home. The corner of Keldgate and Admiral Walker Road in Beverley with the Minster in the left distance.

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A few more cars in Town now. (RL)

Bells chime at the church as people wake up to read about the Reverend's controversial sermon. Looking south on The Green in Lund.

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Not very much has changed. (RL)

Villagers comment on the news headlines. Facing The Wellington Inn from Lockington Road. The shop has since been incorporated into the public house.

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At least the closure of the shop went to good use. (RL)

Making his way to church, William is surprised to see many more people than usual arriving for the service. The Wellington Inn on The Green.

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That tree has certainly grown. (RL)

Crowds head to the church to hear Reverend Thorne preach. The Green in Lund near Driffield.

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One has to wonder whether white lines are really necessary there. (RL)

In the churchyard, Journalist Foley (Reginald Beckwith) approaches William. The graveyard of All Saints church on North Road, Lund.

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No background barn now. (RL)

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At Gilchester station, Vera wishes her daughter luck as she sets off to sit the entrance examination for the School of Music. Windsor & Eton Central station in Windsor, Berkshire.

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Vera continues to wave as the train departs for London. Windsor & Eton Central station also appears in 'Carry On Loving', 'That's Your Funeral', 'Doctor in Trouble', 'A Run for Your Money', 'Law and Disorder' and 'Two-Way Stretch' amongst many others.

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Martin Blake (Denholm Elliott) waits on the platform at Gilchester station as the train bringing Susan back from London arrives. Windsor & Eton Central station has been greatly redeveloped.

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Susan walks from the train, breaking into a run when she sees Martin. Windsor & Eton Central station in Windsor.

The funeral of Mr. Sproatley takes place. The graveyard at All Saints church in Lund.

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Fortunately no such event when Neil visited. (RL)

On a cold morning, the Sextant Mr. Spooner (Mark Daly) greets the Reverend William Thorne as he arrives at the church. All Saints church on The Green in Lund, Yorkshire.

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The graveyard is certainly better maintained now. (RL)