This old British comedy, recently made available on DVD and probably seen for the first time in more than 80 years, has a most ingenious story line. The lead character Rollo Briggs, played by Gene Gerrard, accepts a bet that he can successfully disappear in the English countryside for a month without being found. He makes the bet with the owner of a London newspaper, who plasters his photo on the front page relentlessly because of his 'mysterious disappearance', so that everywhere Rollo goes, people recognise him and he is continually fleeing. He sleeps in straw in barns, joins a travelling circus and dyes his hair, gets a lift with a girl with whom he falls in love, and has many adventures. At one point he meets up with an escaped convict, played by George Zucco, who steals his clothes from him in the barn where he had been sleeping and leaves him only with convict's clothes to put on, which hardly assists his own attempts to evade notice. The film is directed in a lively fashion by Alexander Esway (also known as Alexandre Esway), a Hungarian immigrant who the previous year had co-directed with Billy Wilder in France MAUVAISE GRAINE (1934), starring Danielle Darrieux. Esway, who directed 20 films in his career, died early, at the age of only 49, in 1948. Little seems to be known about Esway, whose last film was L'IDOLE (1948), starring Yves Montand. This film is very much a light-hearted romp, not intended to be taken seriously. It is very much of its period, and all those wobbling female voices and blustering men are so thirties. But, as is always the case with such films, they are invaluable social documents. And there are plenty of old cars, village greens, and views of Eastbourne Pier, and other sights of interest to social historians and people interested in days of yore. The film is amusing and what is wrong with that?
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