|When the Bough Breaks|
|Directed by||Lawrence Huntington|
|Screenplay by||Peter Rogers|
|Based on||an original story by Moie Charles|
|Produced by||Betty E. Box|
|Edited by||Gordon Hales|
|Music by||Clifton Parker|
|Distributed by||General Film Distributors|
|19 November 1947|
|Budget||less than £125,000|
|Box office||£125,000 (by July 1953)|
When the Bough Breaks is a 1947 film directed by Lawrence Huntington and starring Patricia Roc and Rosamund John. It is an adaptation of an original storyline by Herbert Victor on adoption and the competing ties of one child's birth and foster family.
After learning that her husband is a bigamist who already had a wife, new mother Lily Gardner (Patricia Roc) resolves to raise her baby, Jimmy, on her own under her maiden name of Lily Bates rather than give him up for adoption. Each day Lily leaves Jimmy at a day nursery while she works as a shopgirl at a department store, and then cares for Jimmy herself at night. Frances Norman (Rosamund John), a middle-class married woman who works at the day nursery to be around children after losing her own baby, is drawn to Jimmy. When Lily, under stress from her demanding schedule, becomes ill with flu, Frances persuades Lily to let her and her husband look after Jimmy temporarily. When Lily recovers, she visits Jimmy at the Normans' comfortable home. Seeing that Jimmy is happy and is receiving better food and care than she was able to manage, Lily agrees to let the Normans raise Jimmy, although she refuses to sign any legal document formally allowing them to adopt Jimmy. Lily eventually gives up on staying in touch with the Normans and drops out of Jimmy's life, although she misses him. The Normans do not tell Jimmy he is adopted and he regards them as his parents.
Eight years pass, during which time Lily rises to the level of manager at the department store and falls in love with a kind shopkeeper, Bill Collins (Bill Owen), who marries her and is willing to accept Jimmy as his own. Lily visits the Normans to reclaim Jimmy, now that she has the resources to take care of him, but the Normans refuse to give him up since Lily has not been part of Jimmy's life and he does not know he is not the Normans' natural child. A legal battle ensues, and the court awards custody of Jimmy to Lily due to the lack of any formal adoption agreement. Jimmy goes to live with Lily and Bill, but has trouble adjusting to life in a working-class household, and runs away in an attempt to return to the Normans, whom he considers his true "mummy and daddy". Bill, seeing that Jimmy is unhappy, persuades Lily to let him return to the Normans. Lily and Bill then have a baby of their own and are shown happily celebrating his birthday, while Jimmy celebrates his birthday with the Normans.
The film was the second in four films produced by Betty Box for Gainsborough with a total budget of £600,000. The first was Dear Murderer.
It was less glamorous than the typical Gainsborough melodrama, with no outfit worn by Patricia Roc costing more than £5. Roc played a working class role.
The house featured in the film was based on the real life house of Sydney Box.
The film received negative reviews. However it was popular and made a profit. Trade papers called the film a "notable box office attraction" in British cinemas in 1948.