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You're Only Young Twice (1952)

 -  Comedy  -  July 1952 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 30 users  
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A new Lord Rector arrives at Skerryvore University, in Scotland, but turns out to be a very attractive young woman, Ada Shore.


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Title: You're Only Young Twice (1952)

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Credited cast:
Duncan Macrae ...
Prof. Hayman
Joseph Tomelty ...
Dan McEntee
Patrick Barr ...
Sir Archibald Asher
Charles Hawtrey ...
Adolphus Hayman
Diane Hart ...
Ada Shore
Robert Urquhart ...
Edward Lexy ...
Lord Carshennie
Jacqueline Mackenzie ...
Eric Woodburn ...
The Bedellus
Molly Urquhart ...
Lady Duffy
Reginald Beckwith ...
BBC Commentator
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
The College of Dramatic Arts Glasgow
Student (as Ronald Corbett)


A new Lord Rector arrives at Skerryvore University, in Scotland, but turns out to be a very attractive young woman, Ada Shore.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

group 3 | based on play








Release Date:

July 1952 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First feature film of Robert Urquhart. See more »

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User Reviews

Hilarious British Comic Masterpiece
13 February 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is a truly hilarious, witty and satirical film of the highest quality. I wonder if Americans could possibly understand the humour, which is quintessentially British. The script is liberally filled with the most devastatingly clever one-liners, not all of which will be grasped by everyone, as many of them are extraordinarily subtle. As an example, there is a pub called The Plough and the Stars, run by a renegade Irishman. The horrid Professor Heyman, who is the bogey of the story, says: 'There's something behind the name "The Plough and the Stars".' This is amusing for those who realize that it is a pointed reference to the famous play of that title by Sean O'Casey. But those not familiar with O'Casey and what he stood for will not understand the joke. This was the first film appearance of Ronnie Corbett, who became one of Britain's best-loved and most famous comedians. It is so amusing to see him as a squeaky little young man with an eager face, right at the commencement of his career. (After his death I bought his Saab.) Charles Hawtrey, though young, was already a film veteran by this time. I found him delightfully funny all the way through this film, and he added greatly to it. He later became a 'Carry On' regular. He was really a Kenneth Williams before Kenneth Williams, so outrageous and hilarious to watch. The film is set entirely on a fictional university campus in Scotland, though the University of Glasgow was used as the location. In most of the scenes the students are played by actors and actresses who are far too old. Towards the end of the film, there is a scene in a huge hall of the University where there are hundreds of real Glasgow students taking part, and then it is more realistic and convincing, because they are genuine university students. The film has one of the wittiest and most literate scripts of any British comedy film. It is based on a play by James Bridie (1888-1951), who alas died before the film was finished. Bridie was a fascinating character who worked with Alfred Hitchcock on three films and was one of the founders of the Edinburgh Festival. The film is a devastating attack on academic pomposity, which is a delight to watch if you are one of those like myself who has encountered and detested it. This film is one of a number of British comedy classics which have recently been released for the first time on DVD. There are many lost gems to be found in those recent releases, along with some disappointments such as ONE WILD OAT (1951, see my review). In this film, the actress Diane Hart gives an extraordinary performance, which I find rather hard to describe, and so I leave it to viewers to see what they can make of it. She plays a young woman named Miss Shore who turns up at the university and is mistaken for the Principal's new secretary, Miss Lamplighter. In fact, the real Miss Lamplighter later sends a letter saying she is not coming, but in the meantime Miss Shore thinks it amusing to pretend to be her, and so she acts as the Principal's secretary. She is really the niece of the gate-keeper, who goes under the name of Dan McEntee but is in fact a famous Irish poet and nationalist fighter, a 'General', who has gone to ground incognito. On the side, he owns and runs the pub near the campus called The Plough and the Stars, which all makes sense as the tale progresses. The twists and turns of the story, the juggling with identities, what with two people pretending to be someone else, and the academic stresses and conflicts, make this film engrossing to watch. A great deal of use is made of the wonderful university locations, and the atmosphere is successfully conveyed. There are many good character actors in the film. Edward Lexy as the elderly Lord Carshennie is very god, Robert Urquhart as young Sheltie, Dancan Macrae (who really came from Glasgow, lived and died there) as the horrid Professor Hayman, and Patrick Barr as Sir Archibald, all do very well. Diane Hart's uncle is played very broadly, as if he were onstage at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, by Joseph Tomelty, and he was a real Irishman, not someone just putting on the accent. Terry Bishop directed the film very well indeed, even though it was his first feature film. It is a pity that he never got a major feature film success in his career and got stuck in TV series like DANGER MAN (1960-1) instead; he retired in 1964 even though he lived until 1981. This film is wonderfully funny, and it disembowels academic pretensions and pomposities so ruthlessly and gleefully, that I suspect James Bridie, and possibly some of the screen writers as well, must have endured the hideous experience of witnessing, or even having to spend time in close proximity with, such nightmare people in their bubble. See this if you can, especially if you have ever had any contact with the world of academics. If you have had bad experiences and know what the film is 'on about', you will laugh yourself sick and love every minute of it. If only more such films were made, exposing the monstrous world of academe, with its reptilian denizens, who tear at each other's throats like the vicious saurians that they so often are.

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