This is a movie that shifts its protagonist and hero midway, but keeps its central character who it's about. Charles Laughton gets to be its Mr. Potter, only thrust to the self-examining centre of a narrative while someone learns to stand up to him. He's the most ridiculous and least subtle performance in the movie, but also the best.
This is sort of a twisted, opposite King Lear story with the central younger couple emerging as heroic and worthy after being underestimated. It also plays like docudrama of small-town tyranny. It ends super abruptly, but well.
For David Lean, the comedy in this is way more to his strengths than Blithe Spirit or A Passage to India. A lot of it is letting Laughton and John Mills vamp, but this is a nice script too. Hobson is just bearable enough to spend this much time with, weird concept though.