On Saturday I streamed for the second time a great movie titled, The Wingless Bird. It is based on the book of the same name by Catherine Cookson. The story line begins in 1913, just before the outbreak of world war two. The location is England.
The heroine is Agnes Conway who is the daughter of a man who owns a guest house, confectioners shop and smoke shop. Agnes, like all of Catherine Cookson’s heroines, is a very strong woman. Agnes (Aggie) is twenty-two and a little bored with life. Until she can figure out what to do with her life she helps her father run the family’s confectioner’s shop.
On Christmas eve 1913, Charles Farrier walks into the confectioner’s shop for the first time with his sister Elaine. While waiting to be served, Charles observes Aggie and is attracted to her. Charles returns to the shop at a later date to see Aggie but pretends that he came to purchase cigars from the smoke shop.
Aggie’s parents, on the other hand, are in a loveless marriage. They sleep in separate bedrooms because Aggie’s mother will not allow her husband to touch her. There is a secret within the marriage that comes out as the story line progress.
One night Aggie overhears what the secret is about her father and the next morning the atmosphere is strained during breakfast.
Aggie’s sister Jessie gets romantically involved with a young man named Robbie Felton who is from the “other side of the tracks” and not considered worthy by their father.
Predictably, Jessie and Robbie are not careful and she becomes pregnant. Robbie is a good decent man though and so is his family. Robert loves Jessie and wants to marry her as soon as possible.
Jessie confides in Aggie about her pregnancy. Their parents find out and all heck breaks loose. Their father will not allow Jessie to marry Robbie.
In the meantime, Charles Farrier is madly in love with Aggie. Aggie admits that she loves Charles but her mind is preoccupied with Jessie’s predicament. Charles explains to Aggie how she can help her sister get away and marry Robbie.
Charles is very close to his brother wants Aggie to meet Reginald (Reggie). At this point is where the story line gets even more interesting. Reggie is obviously deeply affected by Aggie. I wish that I had that kind of charm.
The threesome have tea together and Reggie is delighted by Aggie. He recognizes that Aggie is very intelligent and that there is no pretense about her. Reggie and Charles are sons of wealthy landowners. Their parents are still mentally living in the 19th century, so class difference is very important to them. Both men know that their parents will see Aggie as merely a shop girl and beneath them for a daughter-in-law. Reggie is supportive of Charles wanting to marry Aggie. Reggie completely understands why his brother is so smitten with Aggie and doesn’t blame him one bit. Charles asks Reggie to help him convince Aggie to go ahead with their plans to marry, which he does.
World War two breaks out and Reginald is on the war front which deeply changes him. Charles does not enlist, but instead is a writer and insists on living his life the way that he chooses. Reggie eventually returns from the war as a wingless bird.
Through tragedy and a couple of surprises, The Wingless Bird concludes in a very moving way. I had to play it back several times. It is a strange but very touching movie that I will never forget.