I hope you enjoy this please seed as long as possible
Sreenplay:Will Hay & R.Edmunds
Editor:Alfred Roome. Art Direction:Vetchinsky.
Musical Direction:Louis Levy.Photography:Chas.Van Enger
A Gainsborough Picture.Distributed by Gaumont British 78mins
This is Will Hay's first film for the Gainsborough Studios and is probably the best of the early Hay comedies. It is fast, witty and very incisive. Hay's sense of timing and screen craft are superb. In this film Hay tries to get the balance right between act and story, the comic set routines and the odd one-liners which was often a problem that confronted the music-hall artist who made the break into feature films. All the music-hall set pieces are brought into this film and they get the full treatment the magic tricks that go wrong and the How Hi(gh) is a chinaman routine being a couple. The story is based on the characterisations of J.B.Morton who wrote under the name of Beachcomber in the Daily Express.
One feels that Hay who was given credit on the film for screenplay must have used his creations from his Fourth Form at St Michael's sketches he so wonderfully made his own as Mr Morton's recollection of the events of the time were that he had no involvement in the production of the film and only met Will Hay on one occassion.
Hay is the Headmaster of a public school called Narkover. The old school tie at this institution is roguery in any form whatsoever. All the boys at this school are either gamblers, forgers, thieves or pick- pockets. All the old-boys are now convicts whose prison records are proudly recorded on stone tablets that adorn the walls of the school. Hay's appointment comes about by way of a forged letter made by Faker Brown who is the secretary for the Governor of Blackstone prison where Hay gives regular tuition to the inmates. On arrival at the school Hay is greeted with a time honoured Narkovian tradition which involves the blowing up of his car, a welcome carpet is pulled from beneath him and is attached to his vehicle and he is dragged around the school grounds which then culminates with a blanket tossing which see's him thrown right up into the air many times resulting in him being dispatched in a disheveled state at the feet of the school Governors who have gathered to greet him.
From his first arrival Hay gets duped into playing cards with the boys for money. They think he will be a pushover, but typically Hay as already sussed out the opposition and successfully achieves by way of sleight of hand a clean sweep of aces and rids the boys of their pocket money. In another scene we catch a glimpse of the Hay persona of him feeling uneasy around his superiors when he catches the classroom culprit who is firing at him with a catapault. He asks the boy to stand up so he can be punished, on standing up he is taller than Hay, so by way of a compromise he asks another boy to stand up and on finding him much smaller than himself he clouts him instead.
The main plot evolves around a mis-placed diamond necklace which belongs to Lady Dorking one of the school governors. It eventually finds it's way into the school's rugby ball which is to be used in the annual rugby match between the present pupils and the old-boys. It dawns on all those playing in the game that the ball contains £10,000 worth of diamonds and they all want their share. The game turns into a free for all with Hay coming off second best. It all ends when Hay kicks the diamond filled ball into the arms of the local constabulary who present it back to it's rightful owner and he is carried from the pitch victorious only to be given that fine Narkovian tradition once again the old blanket tossing routine.