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Back-Room Boy (1942)

 -  Comedy  -  17 April 1942 (UK)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 129 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

A lowly BBC employee pulls a prank at the studio and finds himself transferred to an isolated island where he is to set up a weather station at a lighthouse. As if in a fantasy, a ship ... See full summary »

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(original story and screenplay), (original story and screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Back-Room Boy (1942)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Arthur Askey ...
Moore Marriott ...
Jerry
Graham Moffatt ...
...
Bobbie
Vera Frances ...
Jane
Joyce Howard ...
Betty
John Salew ...
Steve Mason
George Merritt ...
Uncle
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Storyline

A lowly BBC employee pulls a prank at the studio and finds himself transferred to an isolated island where he is to set up a weather station at a lighthouse. As if in a fantasy, a ship carrying a bevy of beautiful models is shipwrecked off the coast and the models wind up on the island. However, when the models begin disappearing, the "back-room boy" investigates and finds a sinister scheme involving spies and Nazi battleships. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

lighthouse | nazi | spy | espionage | shipwreck | See more »

Genres:

Comedy

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Release Date:

17 April 1942 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Mannekängerna som försvann  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Featured in The Filth and the Fury (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Safe for Askeyphobes
1 January 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

One of Arthur Askey's better moments, in a Ghost Train/Oh Mr Porter-style comedy-thriller featuring a haunted lighthouse and a boatload of disappearing girls. Plenty to savour. In particular, Askey's performance, stripped of the charmless mugging to which he was regrettably prone, is very enjoyable, and unusually for him bears a passing resemblance to a member of the human race. Disappointed in love, he turns all misogynistic, tries to run away from women, and of course ends up surrounded by them; he is greatly supported by a dry, even sardonic script.

Other pluses include Moore Marriott on good form as Jerry, and a splendid debut by Vera Frances, surely one of the top child stars of the UK cinema. A real shame she didn't make more films. She delivers several marvellous lines, pearls of wisdom indeed, in a convincing cockney accent, although perhaps flawed by her imperfect diction; a very nice dry run for her finest moment with Tommy Handley in It's That Man Again. The opening sequence, where Askey is the man charged with doing the pips for the BBC, is splendid - as another commentator has already said, one wonders how many of the audience actually believed that they were produced by hand. The BBC has always inspired a vein of mildly surrealistic comedy, and Askey was one of its best exponents. And the scene where Askey first sees Googie Withers is genuinely scary.

There are minuses. After the BBC sequence, the plot takes an age to get going, and the scares of the middle third of the picture aren't connected strongly enough with those of the final third. The actual plot feels a bit bolted onto the rest of the picture. And although, in this genre, it is essential that the lead character is a cowardly incompetent who undoes the villains, here Askey is too cowardly, and does too little to thwart the sinister plot. Finally, Graham Moffatt has a couple of decent lines, but basically there is not enough for him to do, and sadly he is by now much too old to play the Albert character.

But all in all, a nice film, a cosy hour and a quarter, several good jokes, and certified safe even for committed Askeyphobes.


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