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Fame Is the Spur (1947)

A British politician finds that his intense liberal views become more conservative with his rise to power.


Roy Boulting


Howard Spring (novel), Nigel Balchin (screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Wager ... The Boy Hamer (as Anthony Wager)
Brian Weske ... The Boy Ryerson
Gerald Fox Gerald Fox ... The Boy Hannaway
Jean Shepeard Jean Shepeard ... Mrs. Radshaw
Guy Verney Guy Verney ... Grandpa
Percy Walsh Percy Walsh ... Suddaby
Michael Redgrave ... Hamer Radshaw
Rosamund John ... Ann
Bernard Miles ... Tom Hannaway
Hugh Burden ... Arnold Ryerson
Carla Lehmann ... Lady Lettice
Seymour Hicks ... Old Buck (as Sir Seymour Hicks)
David Tomlinson ... Lord Liskeard
Marjorie Fielding Marjorie Fielding ... Aunt Lizzie
Charles Wood Charles Wood ... Dai


Hamer Radshaw (Sir Michael Redgrave) rises from a Manchester slum to an important post in the British Cabinet but, along the way, his strong Socialist beliefs undergo modifications to the extent that, while maintaining them in principle, he diametrically opposes them in practice. His "spur" for prosperity and social status causes him to sacrifice his ideals and friends, including allowing his wife, a fighter for women's rights, to be jailed. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Did You Know?


Closing credits: The characters depicted in this film and the names used are entirely fictitious and bear no relation to any living person. See more »


Hamer Radshaw: Did God ordain it, this contrast between sweat and ease, between want and luxury, or is it the product of man's will, of greed of selfishness?
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: 1870 See more »

User Reviews

Conscientious tale of personal power, glory and standing
13 July 2019 | by shakercoolaSee all my reviews

A British drama; A story about a man from a slum in Ancoats, Manchester who rises to political power, abandoning on the way his radical views for more conservative ones. The film's title is a reference to the poet Milton's words about fame in his poem 'Lycidas', that all politicians seek to deny that they love popularity more than they love the people. And so, in this film, an idealistic champion of the oppressed, a man from the slums rising to cabinet rank, is himself seduced by the trappings of power and finds himself the type of politician he originally despised. Michael Redgrave gives a grand performance, and embodies the gradual shedding of heartfelt beliefs as vanity replaces commitment. The film will have appeal for those viewing the period between the 1810 and 1946 as an unjust period of British life, particularly the right of women's suffrage. More will observe that the trappings of power make anyone succumb to what Milton described as "That last infirmity of noble mind." In the telling, the film is pedestrian and lacks humour in its binding but the production and direction is first rate.

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Release Date:

30 November 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fame Is the Spur See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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