Archive for January 24th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(UK 1943 73m) not on DVD

All games played in this club are for amusement only

p  Michael Balcon  d  Basil Dearden, Will Hay  w  John Dighton, Angus MacPhail  ph  Wilkie Cooper  ed  Charles Hasse  m  Ernest Irving  art  Michael Relph 

Will Hay (William Fitch), Claude Hulbert (Claude Babbington), Mervyn Johns (Arthur Grimshaw), Charles Victor (Safety Wilson), Lawrence Hanray (Sir Norman), Derna Hazell (Gloria), Lloyd Pearson (Col.Chudleigh), Maudie Edwards (Aladdin), Ernest Thesiger (Ferris), Aubrey Mallalieu (magistrate), Gibb MacLaughlin (butler),

A simple question for a film buff, or so one might have thought, would be “name the first Ealing comedy.”  The average person who only knows of them, not their chronology, might pick Kind Hearts and Coronets or The Lavender Hill Mob, a more shrewd individual might plump for Hue and Cry from 1946.  However, in actual fact, Ealing had been making comedies for years before that, and the jewel of these years was their association with Will Hay through his last handful of films.  Of the films that came out of that partnership, My Learned Friend is unquestionably the best, and least typical.

            William Fitch is a disbarred barrister who now obtains money by false pretences.  Found out and brought up before the local magistrate he has a stroke of luck in that the barrister prosecuting him is a prototype upper class twit, and he gets off thanks to the bumbler’s incompetence.  Later on they meet up for a drink at a nearby pub, but also meeting them there is another onlooker, a recently released offender who reminds Fitch of his inability to defend him and proclaims his nefarious intentions to gain revenge on all those people who put him in prison, including his counsel for the defence. (more…)

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