Diggers in Blighty

Diggers in Blighty is a 1933 Australian film starring and directed by Pat Hanna. Hanna decided to direct this film himself after being unhappy with how F.W. Thring had handled Diggers (1931).[3]

Diggers in Blighty
Directed byPat Hanna
Raymond Longford (associate director)[1]
Produced byPat Hanna
Written byPat Hanna
Wilfred King
Edmund Warrington
Bert Reid
Based onstage show by Pat Hanna
StarringPat Hanna
Joe Valli
CinematographyArthur Higgins
Pat Hanna Productions
Release date
11 February 1933
Running time
72 mins
Box office£18,000[2]


While serving in the Australian Army in France in 1918, soldiers Chic and Joe steal some rum from the quartermaster's store. They later help British intelligence pass on some false battle plans to a German spy and are rewarded with ten days' leave in England. They go to a country house in Essex and have trouble with their uncouth manners but help some upper class friends have a romance.


  • Pat Hanna as Chic Williams
  • Joe Valli as Joe McTavish
  • George Moon as Joe Mulga
  • Norman French as Sir Guy Gough
  • John D'Arcy as Captain Jack Fisher
  • Prudence Irving as Alison Dennett
  • Thelma Scott as Judy Fisher
  • Edwin Brett as the Colonel
  • Nellie Mortyne as Aunt Martha
  • Isa Crossley as the sister
  • Raymond Longford as Von Schieling
  • Guy Hastings as quartermaster sergeant
  • Field Fisher as Muddles
  • George Randall as Colonel Mason
  • Alfred Frith as a Tommie
  • Reg Wykeham as WO Pay Corps
  • Sylvia Sterling as French adventuress


The script was based on material Hanna had performed on stage for years. Although Hanna did not make the film under the Efftee umbrella, he hired Efftee Studios facilities and technical staff.[4]

The film was shot over six weeks commencing in October 1932. Many of the cast had appeared on stage, including Hanna, Valli and Moon. They were joined by comedian Alfred Firth in his film debut.[5]

Old Melbourne Gaol stood in for a medieval castle.[6]


The movie was released on a double bill with an Effee film, Harmony Row (1932). Hanna later claimed that the film was a big success at the box office but due to the amounts taken by cinema owners and distributors it took him over a year for his production costs to be recovered.[7][8]

Contemporary reviews were poor, the critic from the Sydney Morning Herald claiming that:

Everyone in the play seems to be talking at the top of his or her voice; and talking so fast that the listener often grows quite desperate trying to keep up with them. Any microscopic respites from speech are zealously filled up with bursts of lively music... The directors must realise that actors need directing when they are before the camera. Merely to turn the players (however clever) loose in a drove across the studio floor is fatal.... The acting... is often much too violent for the screen; and, in the case of the women, the energetic "registering" of emotion recalls the early days of the silent screen... Mr. Hanna would be wise to consult well-informed opinion concerning his story and his continuity. Both are exceedingly weak.[9]

The film was released in England.[10]

Diggers in Blighty proved to have a long life and Hanna re-released it regularly over the next 20 years. It was appearing in cinemas as late as 1952.[11][12][13]


  1. "Raymond Longford", Cinema Papers, January 1974 p51
  2. "Counting the Cash in Australian Films"', Everyones 12 December 1934 p 19
  3. Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 160.
  4. "AUSTRALIAN FILM". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 28 December 1932. p. 4. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  5. ""DIGGERS IN BLIGHTY."". Townsville Daily Bulletin. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 11 October 1932. p. 6. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  6. "No title". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 9 November 1932. p. 5. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  7. 'QUEENSLAND FILMS', The Courier-Mail (Brisbane), Wednesday 7 March 1934 p 3
  8. "AUSTRALIAN FILMS". The Barrier Miner. Broken Hill, NSW: National Library of Australia. 26 February 1934. p. 3 Edition: HOME EDITION. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  9. "NEW FILMS". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 10 April 1933. p. 5. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  10. "MOTION PICTURES". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 4 April 1933. p. 8. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  11. "Comedies, Old And New". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 25 September 1952. p. 7 Section: Women's section. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  12. "DIGGERS WHO FACED FOOTLIGHTS". The Advocate. Burnie, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 5 August 1950. p. 13. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  13. "He still collects on "Digger" films". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 14 March 1950. p. 3. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.