Will have to check this out as the only copy I had (think it was 'grey market') was of such poor visual quality that it was almost impossible to follow. I suspect, however, that the shades of contemporary cinema managers would disagree with the 'trash heap' epithet, as such films were often of the type which kept the audiences coming in. They were aimed at a combination of youngsters and those who had done a long and tedious day's work in factories, shops and mines and who would have been looking for a piece of footle to relax with. And one would have watched them with several hundred other folk. Rubbish they may be, but it is a good thing that such fare should remain available for us to watch.boblipton wrote:I have concluded that watching Old Mother Riley movies, like eating live frogs, should best be done first thing in the morning, to ensure that nothing worse will happen in your day. Unfortunately, by the time I noticed the availability for viewing of Old Mother Riley, Detective (1943), I had been up for some time, and it clashed with my dictum of getting unpleasant tasks out of the way as soon as possible.
In this one, Lancashire lad Arthur Lucan, who impersonated Old Mother Riley in drag, with his wife, Kitty McShane, playing his daughter, gets involved in tracking down black marketeers, His Majesty's police and spies being unable to do it on their own. There was clearly some money spent on this movie. Miss McShane introduces two songs, and there is a goodly amount of location shooting. Nonetheless the usual process shots, looping and other means of keeping production costs down are both obvious and destructive of any comedy.
It is true that the Old Mother Riley movies were enormously popular. Lucan had been voted the second most popular British screen personality in 1941, and he would appear as the character 17 times on the screen, with another movie planned when he collapsed on stage and died. Nonetheless, even with my old-fashioned taste for slapstick, I find the character, series and this movie irritating. The character screeches, and never ceases her stream of malapropisms; there is nothing to put me on the character's side except the writer-mandated inevitable success. The routine may have once been popular, but its time has long gone, and the lack of anything worthwhile in this film other than that outdated shtick should consign it to the trash heap.
And one has to remember that it was often the 'Carry On' and 'Confessions' films which kept cinemas afloat in later years, and dreadful as many of them may be, it was also the TV spin-offs which kept closure at bay and even brought older patrons back to cinemas for more of what they saw on 'the telly'.
Oddly enough, as a very young fan of series such as 'Meet the Wife', I thought a film of that series would be attractive, and it was only a couple of years later that the flood commenced with TIL DEATH US DO PART in 1968. If only I'd thought to write and suggest...*
*there were a few early spin-offs from 'Life With the Lyons', 'The Grove Family', and 'The Larkins' (INN FOR TROUBLE), but it wasn't 'til a decade later that we had a great rash of them.