Old Mother Riley in Paris

“Nice work if you can stick it.”

She gets the sack in a Mammoth economy drive.

“I’m a lady I am, a lady, and I defy you to prove it!”

Daughter’s engaged to the lodger, Joe. “How sharper than a serpent’s thingumabob...!”

He has himself transferred to the Continent, a strategic move.

“I don’t believe it, no man ever goes to Paris for business!”

Britmovie, “amusing... irresistible”.

The Tour E. “Is there anyone here who can speak Yorkshire?”

Changing a light bulb she falls on her arse and winds up in hospital.

“And how are you today, Mrs. Riley?”

“Oh, as well as can be expectorated.” The Virginia Woolf Clinic, evidently. “The doctor said I shall soon be incandescent.”

German espionage is already at work in Paris. Photos of the Maginot Line are in question.

“Madam? Scotch.”


“No, large.” Joe is thought to be in British Intelligence.

Her furniture is distrained, she is ejected. “Don’t forget the hot water bottle, it’ll be cold on the Embankment.” The insurance pays. “See you when I have another accident!” Two years’ back rent, “a mere fleabite,” and it’s off to Paris for the daughter’s “future happiness.”

Plenty of genius here, at the interval, for them as likes such things, genius and all, Newton’s “law of gravy.”

Damned if the old baggage doesn’t bail out in a parachute. “Anglaise,” a French officer observes. She is arrested under suspicion of espionage.

S’il vous plaît, madame.”

“Keep your hands off me or there’ll be no civil play... you can’t do this to me, I’m a British object I am.” Damned if she doesn’t escape to the Hotel Magnesia and dinner with the daughter, “I don’t suppose we’ll have to go to the counter for our vinegar here... I did NOT order trifle!”

Carrier pigeons betray la patrie. “And another thing, I don’t like pigeons, they have no respect for person or place, you should see Nelson’s Column.” Arrested again as Madam Zero. “I’ve never spied anywhere, excepting through keyholes.”

TV Guide also finds it “irresistible’. Halliwell’s Film Guide can’t make head nor tail of the films (“the padding is hard to sit through”) but in this instance knows a “superb comedian” when it sees one.

“They get some very nice people here.”

“When?” She finds Joe at a cave amongst the apaches and hauls the girl to police court, Madam Zero, quisling. “Not that one, the other one!”

Old Mother Riley is decorated. “What a night of adventure!”

TV Guide, “most farfetched and yet most entertaining.”


Old Mother Riley M.P.

And Minister of Strange Affairs, too.

As political capers go, a great day for the parliamentary system. Mrs. Riley defeats a wealthy blighter who wants to pull down all the houses of East Street and especially all the pubs, even “our spiritual home, the Rose & Crown”, and put a tax on beer and tea and bread, a man of vile character, “by Frankenstein out of Dracula.”

A great day for England that begins after the by-election, a squeaker, with a proposal in Parliament to curb the budget by closing all the parks one day a week and save on keepers’ pay, Old Mother Riley objects in no lace curtain terms.

The genius of the film is to recognize in the grasping ingrate a foreign potentate up to his thick ears in debt to the Crown.

TV Guide, “nonsensical but full of laughs.”


Old Mother Riley at Home

“What do you want that wood for?”

“I’m gonna make a big bonfire and sit on it.”

It’s a parlous position.

“How do you do, Mother Riley?”

“I do everybody, mind y’self.”

From “find the Queen” at the racetrack to the fish stall, “I’d rather be no class than your class.”

Daughter’s affection strays. “Where’s my Kitty?”

Your Kitty?”

“Yes, you heard!”

“No cats allowed in this hotel, Madam!”

“Cats, cats, who’s talkin’ about cats? I’ll give you cats!”

“I don’t want any cats! Now get out, before I put you out!”

You put me out? You couldn’t put me out if you were triplets!”

A woman of varied resources. “I’ll write to my Member of Parliament, he’ll make a maiden speech about this, this treatment to a civilised creature!”

Long before The Ladykillers (dir. Alexander Mackendrick), Mrs. Riley is recompensed at a posh gambling club strictly sub rosa, where “a girl’s best friend is her mother.”

TV Guide, “one of the weaker series entries.”


House of Darkness

Melachrino’s First Rhapsody related by himself to the director on the floor of the sound stage, a beautiful little masterpiece concerning the artistic mediocrity who wages war twice against the rest of the house, “a little egotistical tinpot Cromwell puffed up with a sudden delusion of grandeur,” whose query is this when caught pilfering the contents of the household safe, “do you think you could manage to look a little less intense?”

Screenplay by John Gilling, “just a few clichés strung together” (TV Guide).