|Index||5 reviews in total|
I'm guessing, but I'm probably on firm ground that with the success of
the Ealing Studios Whiskey Galore two years earlier, it was felt that
Green Grow The Rushes with a similar subject would have a built in
audience. Though Green Grow The Rushes is not quite as good as Whiskey
Galore, it's certainly an amusing enough comedy about a village and the
marsh territory surrounding it determined to maintain their
independence and way of living even in the modern times of the post
World War II United Kingdom.
One thing that Green Grow The Rushes does have is a young Richard Burton in one of his earliest screen appearances. He plays a young fisherman who has a more lucrative sideline in smuggling. In fact it's the cottage industry of this coastal town. Which is a source of some amusement to Burton when reporter Honor Blackman of the town paper acts all innocent like she doesn't know.
In fact this place has prized it's independence for several hundred years since Henry III granted them a charter of home rule way back when that sort of thing wasn't done. However three officious bureaucrats from various ministries show up with a plan for what we in America might term urban renewal and the town springs to action. Every wile and stratagem they can think of and liberal use of the home rule charter granted them thwarts these bureaucrats at every turn. It's all led by Roger Livesey who is the captain of one of the smuggling ships.
Green Grow The Rushes is a bright and amusing comedy, but I honestly don't think anyone would have predicted the enormously successful career of Richard Burton from seeing it though.
I believe it was G. K. Chesterton who described himself as a "Little Englander." To those of us born after WWII, it is hard to fully grasp what he had in mind; which is the reason why I like Green Grow the Rushes, because I think it gives some idea of what Chesterton meant. It is ostensibly about a boat that became stranded with a load of brandy. But the subtext involves the conflict between officials of the British national government and the locals and their local officials who attempt to thwart the government by invoking laws and immunities dating back to feudal times. In this sense it is a libertarian classic which reminds us that so-called feudal Europe was in fact a complex tapestry of autonomous localities, fiefdoms, principalities, etc., under a relatively weak (by today's standards) central state. The movie manages to convey a sense of nostalgia for a type of little England with its absurdly dressed officials and independent-minded locals who stand in contrast to and are suspicious of the suited technocrats who descend upon them to change their customs and plan their lives.
British comedy about a marsh community with a little secret. Some government snooties bounce into town to boss folks around, but the joke is on them. The entire community is involved with booze smuggling, and they're not about to give it up. Richard Burton and Honor Blackman are among the cast. Favorite part: the fate of the little clipper ship full of booze as it encounters a dangerous storm. What does the crew do when faced with being discovered with contraband? They drink it...and wreck the ship. The next morning the ship has been lifted over the sea wall into a farmer's meadow. A movie that makes me smile every time I think of it.
This film was the first venture of ACT Films,a company set up by the technicians union to provide more employment for its members.they were aided with government money through the NFFC.They did have problems getting this and their other films distributed with the result that the venture was a short lived affair.If the other films were of a similar quality to this then it is little surprise.It is a clear copy of Whiskey galore and Passport To Pimlico only without the originality and humour of the original.Instead of humour slapstick takes its place often with woeful results.the climax is just plain awful.What makes it worse is that the cast is good.Roger Livesey on his way down to character parts and a very young Honor Blackman and Richard Burton.Shame this talent is wasted on this dismal farce.
Is there any documentation on the story of this movie. In other words, how does this derive from the 18th-century English folk song "Green Grow the Rushes" (?) Those words are sung in the second line of each verse. The first verse is, I'll sing you one O. Green grow the rushes O. and so on until the song reaches I'll sing you twelve O... it's a counting song, similar to "The Twelve Days of Christmas." In Kent, the movie's setting, some of the locals are "Lily White," though no reason is given by the movie as to how anyone earns that designation. In the song, each verse (after the first) has the line, "Two, two, the lily-white boys, clothed all in green O." But the original meaning of that is now a matter of speculation.
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