DescriptionTHE COLLECTION OF PAUL GREGORY AND JANET GAYNOR
AL HIRSCHFELD (American, 1903-2003)
Charles Laughton in Hobson's Choice, 1954
Pen and ink on board
15 x 13-1/2 inches (38.1 x 34.3 cm)
Signed center right: Hirschfeld
Al Hirschfeld produced this marvelous drawing as the poster illustration for Hobson's Choice, the award-winning 1954 David Lean film starring Charles Laughton, John Mills and Brenda DeBanzie. Laughton held the title role of Henry Horatio Hobson, proprietor of a successful bootmaker's shop in nineteenth-century Salford. A widower with a weakness for the pub (hence the pint of stout in Hirschfeld's drawing), he tries forcefully to rule the lives of his three unruly daughters. When he decrees 'no marriages' to avoid the expensive matter of dowries, eldest daughter Maggie rebels and sets her sights on Will Mossop, Hobson's star bootmaker. Maggie and Will leave to start up in competition, and she then turns her mind to helping her sisters marry their chosen partners. In British parlance, a "Hobson's choice" is a free choice in which only one option is offered. In other words, it is a "take it or leave it" situation.
Al Hirschfeld gave Paul Gregory this caricature of his great theatrical colleague as a gift.
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