Frank Burdon is a new reporter on a small-town Scottish paper. He's told to interview local politician William Gow, then left in charge of the paper overnight. He sees Gow being high-handed to a woman who can't afford to license her dog, and decides to run that story instead of the expected puff piece. Both are decent men, but a little too proud to back down, and the battle escalates into a criminal case... but at the same time, Burdon and Gow's daughter Victoria are falling in love. Written by
Early Chapter Of Vivien Leigh's Film Portfolio Is In Substance A Pre-Ealing Production, Albeit With Strong Elements Providing Strong General Interest.
Widowed Mrs. Hegarty (Sara Allgood), ice cream peddler residing in a fictive West Scottish coast village, Baikie, has as sole companion her dog Patsy, but after she neglects to pay an annual canine licensing fee, the Provost (Mayor) of Baikie, William Gow (Cecil Parker) commands that the animal be dispatched, thereby inciting the titular tempest, for which a young English journalist is largely responsible. He is Frank Burdon (Rex Harrison), recently arrived in Baikie to begin employment with its newspaper. "The Advertiser", and it is Frank's willfulness that brings trouble upon himself as well as for others. In spite of romantic mutual attraction between Frank and Gow's daughter Victoria (Vivien Leigh), the dauntless reporter is well pleased to find a strong human interest slant within Mrs. Hegarty's plight and composes a story that immediately is spread throughout Scotland, therewith effectively putting an end to Gow's political ambitions, as he was preparing to stand for a parliamentary post, an aspiration that has apparently gone a-glimmering due to the Patsy affair, with the Provost moved to exact redress from Burdon by suing him for slander, an action that summons the probability of a final break between Frank and Vickie Gow. The film is constructed upon a play, "Storm Over Patsy", written in 1930 by German expatriate to the United States Bruno Frank, who settled in Hollywood as a screenwriter. It was rephrased for its exhibition upon the American stage by Glaswegian James Bridie and mounted with a good deal of success during 1936 and 1937 upon Broadway, the production generally featuring vocative Allgood in addition to Leo G. Carroll as Willie Gow. The provincial complexion of Baikie is more clearly rendered upon the screen than the boards, and fortunately Alexander Korda supplies adequate funding to furnish what he intends as a "small" film with significant numbers of extras along with a gaily embellished mise-en-scène. A contemporaneous review of the picture by producer/director/critic Basil Wright, published in The Spectator, expanded the amiable film's popularity, and it has retained a following because of its colourful scenes and characters, but a viewer will make note as well of superb costuming and, as must be expected, a superior performance by Parker who handily annexes the acting laurels here.
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