Old Mother Riley’s Ghosts

They beset her at Castle Riley to scare the specifications out of her, pertaining to a new fuel.

The scion of the firm has gone his own way, a house engineer with the answer has thrown in his lot with a gang of thieves.

Mrs. Riley, “gone with the wind up” from “7 Treadmill Street, next to the gasworks,” where “I’ve blistered me brisket,” against “a lamb in wolf’s underwear” and “what have you done on my chemise,” having inherited “an hysterical castle... Riley, the mother of invention” counters the foe, “he’s got such a canister look!”

Maps aren’t much use in the Battle of Britain, you need a new one every week, she points out.


Love on the Dole

An oddly situated little film, recollecting as it does the Depression in 1930 England (with an ancient memory of Peterloo), and assisting some years later at the birth of the British New Wave, with a distinct influence on Billy Liar and The Entertainer, among others.


Old Mother Riley in Society

An unsuitable position for the lady’s maid to a young woman of mystery who weds into the upper crust, therefore Mrs. Riley descends from the bus as it were and drifts down into situations wanted and the dosshouse.

Daughter is the principal boy in Aladdin on the stage (a nice pirouette), wooed and won, mustn’t upset the sausage barrow.

The director of Love on the Dole has this from Capra and Griffith, to be sure.


Theatre Royal

The pinch of genius has the lovely house worn down by impossibly bad productions foisted on the management unbeknownst by a cartel out to secure it, bankruptcy threatens, “no man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”

Raleigh and Drake (Flanagan and Allen) get the inspiration in bed (Arbuckle and Keaton, Back Stage, Go West), a tour of the provinces with an unmistakable hit show called Shake Partner in the offing.

Finlay Currie plays the Yank producer Clement J. Earle momentarily fobbed off with stage trappings at the benighted residence of the penurious maven. Ken Russell happily derives a good deal of The Boy Friend from Baxter’s film, which also is a source of Curtiz’ White Christmas (“like a duck that is dy-ing”).

“Not their best,” says Halliwell’s Film Guide.


Ramsbottom Rides Again

A fine riposte to Jack Benny in Charley’s Aunt (dir. Archie Mayo) the year after Charley’s (Big-Hearted) Aunt (dir. Walter Forde).

A beautiful analysis in its own right, very funny indeed, and then it comes between Band Waggon (dir. Marcel Varnel) and Make Mine a Million (dir. Lance Comfort) on a very important theme, commercial television (in the latter film, the only reality).

Wild Bill Ramsbottom’s grandson the pub owner goes to Canada en famille to claim his inheritance, a saloon in Lonesome, somewhere.

Black Jake wants the uranium, there are Indians about.

Arthur Askey, the “he-man” needed in “this dump”.