By the Shortest of Heads

By the Shortest of Heads was a 1915 British film starring George Formby as a stableboy who outwits a gang of villains. It was Formby's first film; he was aged ten at the time. The film is now considered lost, with the last-known copy having been destroyed in 1940.

By the Shortest of Heads
By the Shortest of Heads
Directed byBert Haldane
Produced byBarker Motion Photography
StarringGeorge Formby
Release date
1915
CountryUnited Kingdom

Plot

Formby played a stable boy who outwits a gang of villains and wins a £10,000 prize when he comes first in a horse race.[1]

Cast

  • George Formby as Tony Dawson
  • Jack Tessier as Eric Dawson
  • Moore Marriott as Captain Fields
  • Jack Hulcup as Geoffrey Warrington
  • Percy Manton as Squire Markham

Background

George Formby Snr was worried that his son, George Formby, would watch him on stage and begin a career on stage; he was against the boy following in his footsteps, saying "one fool in the family is enough".[2][3] After a year of Formby working at a stables in Middleham, he was apprenticed to Thomas Scourfield at Epsom, where he ran his first professional races at the age of 10, when he weighed less than 4 stone (56 lb; 25 kg).[4] In 1915 Formby Snr allowed his son to appear on screen, taking the lead in By the Shortest of Heads.[1] After completing the filming, Formby Jnr was sent to Ireland to continue his jockey training, as were the five horses Formby had purchased that year, which joined others he had previously bought.[5][6]

The film is now considered lost, with the last-known copy having been destroyed in 1940.[5]

References

  1. Fisher 1975, p. 49.
  2. "George Formby: A Man With Pride in his Roots". The Guardian. Manchester. 7 March 1961. p. 16.
  3. Bret 1999, pp. 6–7.
  4. Bret 1999, p. 7.
  5. Smart & Bothway Howard 2011, p. 51.
  6. Bret 1999, p. 8.

Sources

  • Bret, David (1999). George Formby: A Troubled Genius. London: Robson Books. ISBN 978-1-86105-239-1.
  • Fisher, John (1975). George Formby. London: Woburn-Futura. ISBN 978-0-7130-0139-6.
  • Smart, Sue; Bothway Howard, Richard (2011). It's Turned Out Nice Again!. Ely, Cambridgeshire: Melrose Books. ISBN 978-1-907732-59-1.


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