Back-Room Boy (1942)

 |  Comedy  |  17 April 1942 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 148 users  
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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 »



(original story and screenplay), (original story and screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Arthur Askey ...
Moore Marriott ...
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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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 April 1942 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Mannekängerna som försvann  »

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Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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

Lumee! More Women.
25 March 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Arthur Askey plays Arthur Pilbeam, who after recently being jilted by his fiancé swears off women and seeks employment away from them. He lands a post at a remote lighthouse on one of the Scotish Isles, here he thinks he's finally cracked it and can enjoy solitude whilst providing the meteorological bulletins. However, his peace is soon shattered when young Jane walks into his life, she stowed-away on his boat for she's searching for her uncle on a neighbouring island. Then Bobbie shows up after her boat was torpedoed, then another boat load of survivors, predominantly women, arrive. Arthur is beside himself, but worse is to come for all of a sudden they all start to disappear one by one. Could this be another Mary Celeste? Only in lighthouse form?

Produced out of Gainsborough Pictures, this Askey vehicle is directed by Herbert Mason and co-written by Marriott Edgar, Val Guest & J.O.C. Orton. Starring alongside Askey are Googie Withers, Moore Marriott, Graham Moffatt and Vera Francis. Very much along the lines of another Guest/Edgar scripted piece, the classic Oh Mr Porter! this fun and breezy picture sees Askey restrained and the film be all the better for it. In truth it takes its time to get going, practically 40 minutes pass by before the additional characters start being introduced. Which means we are at the mercy of Askey and the delightful Vera Francis for much of the movie. But it works.

Francis isn't an annoying child star, she has nice delivery and her role is so well scripted it keeps the film breezy. Her natural like presence appears to have a good effect on Askey, who is more relaxed and thus the comedy is more humanistic and real. Enter the support players, who somewhat understandably given the plot, aren't given much to do. Which is a shame because more of Withers, Marriott & Moffatt would obviously have been a bonus. But it is what it is and as the mystery element kicks in, and some sinister undertones sidle up next to the comedy, the lack of meat for the support characters' bones is easily forgiven. There's no real surprises come the finale, but one thinks nobody would be expecting that given the time of the film's release. So sit back and enjoy this fun mystery for it's one of the better Askey pictures. 7/10

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