Robert Tressell’s novel The Ragged- Trousered Philanthropists is a classic of working- class literature. Set in the fictional town of Mugsborough the novel is based on Tressell’s own experiences working as a sign painter around the coastal town of Hastings.
The book, oft passed around the trenches of WWII, is credited with helping Labour achieve a landslide victory in 1945, resulting in the formation of the NHS and the country’s first true welfare system.
Throughout the decades Tressell’s story has continued to inspire generation after generation— with Tony Benn noting ‘he gave us a torch to pass on from generation to generation’, and George Orwell heralded it as ‘a book that everyone should read’. Despite this, a film adaptation has so far proved elusive. It’s our intention to bring Tressell’s depiction of the human struggle to the screen in an exclusively cinematic way.
Our film is about the pressures that survival forces on personal integrity, and the impossible decisions that the many are forced to make when living in a society that values capital over humanity.
We believe there are iconic themes and moments within this book that can resonate with an audience and provoke a powerful emotional response and in light of the young voter turnout at the most recent general election, we believe this is the perfect time to bring Tressell’s message to a new audience.