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The Barber of Stamford Hill

The Barber of Stamford Hill U rating

On the eve of his 50th birthday, lonely north London barber Mr Figg entertains the possibility of marriage

Drama 1962 61 mins

Overview

As Mr Figg natters to his clients, he fibs about his domestic life and imagines for himself a wife and children. After he lights the Sabbath candles one Friday evening, nostalgia for the warmth of his childhood home leads the Jewish bachelor to act on his fantasy. He takes a break from his regular chess evening with mute friend Dober to pursue the hand of his neighbour Mrs Werner, a busy and charming widow with two teenage children. Will family life meet Figg’s high expectations?

Adapted by Ronald Harwood from his 1960 television play, The Barber of Stamford Hill is a sensitive portrayal of adult loneliness and yearning for companionship. John Bennett plays Mr Figg with an uneasy charm that beautifully captures the character’s dissatisfaction with life as a single man, as well as his inflexibility. Dober’s silence makes him an intriguing audience for Figg’s incessant chatter, and Mrs Werner’s family life provides a prescient glimpse of how the teenagers of the 1960s were to break with long-held traditions.