Let George Do It (1938 film)

Let George Do It is a 1938 comedy starring popular stage comedian George Wallace. It was the first of two films Wallace made for Ken G. Hall at Cinesound Productions, the other one being Gone to the Dogs (1939). Hall later called Wallace "in my opinion, easily the best comedian that this country has produced."[2]

Let George Do It
Directed byKen G. Hall
Produced byKen G. Hall
Written byGeorge Wallace
Frank Harvey
Based onstory by Hal Carleton
StarringGeorge Wallace
Joe Valli
Music byHamilton Webber
Maurie Gilman
CinematographyGeorge Heath
Edited byWilliam Shepherd
Production
company
Distributed byBritish Empire Films (Aust)
ABFD (UK)
Release date
17 June 1938 (Australia)
1940 (UK)
Running time
79 mins (Australia)
CountryAustralia
LanguageEnglish
Budget₤21,000[1]

Synopsis

The plot concerns a man, Joe Blake, who works as a stage hand in a vaudeville theatre headlined by Mysto the magician. When he finds out that the girl he is in love with, Molly, is getting married, he gets drunk with his friend Happy Morgan and decides to commit suicide. Joe offers to leave all his possessions to a gangster, Zilch, if Zilch will arrange a painless death for Joe.

The next day Joe finds out he has received an inheritance and wants to live, but Zilch and his men, including Unk, abduct Joe and demand half his money. Joe escapes with the help of Clara, a woman who has a crush on him, resulting in a wild speedboat chase across Sydney harbour.

Cast

Production

Stuart F. Doyle signed George Wallace to a contract with Cinesound in February 1937. It was originally announced that he would be making Gone to the Dogs, set against a background of greyhound racing.[3] That turned out to be Wallace's second Cinesound movie; this was the first.

As with most Cinesound comedies of the late 1930s, Hall employed a team of comedy writers to help with the script along with credited screenwriters Wallace and Frank Harvey. This consisted of Hall, cartoonist Jimmy Bancks,[4] Bill Maloney and Hal Carleton.[5] The story followed a formula developed in Wallace's Ticket in Tatts: "George is given a simple labourer's job... Quite innocently is fired... He then becomes involved in a simple wish-fulfilment device... the device is complicated by an equally simple set of stereotyped gangsters who have no motivation beyond innate greed for greater wealth, and in each situation they are foiled, usually accidentally, by George and his friends."[6]

The male romantic lead was played by Neil Carlton, a Melbourne-born actor who had appeared in films in England. "I've been searching for a juvenile of Carlton's type ever since I have been directing", said Hall during production. "He's handsome, a good actor, and possesses a fine singing voice; stands 6 ft 1 in. in his socks, weighs 14 St., and is a splendid all-round athlete."[7]

Filming commenced on 30 January 1938[8] and finished on 22 March.[9] During the shooting of a speedboat chase scene on Sydney Harbour, the boat crashed into a racing eight near Double Bay, cutting it in half and injuring three rowers.[10]

There were several musical numbers which demonstrated Wallace's ability to sing and dance.[11] A water ballet, choreographed by Leon Kellaway, brother of Cecil Kellaway, was shot but was mostly cut in the interests of keeping the film at a fast pace.[1]

Release

Hall later wrote that the two films he made with Wallace "were very substantial hits".[12] Variety wrote "it broke records everywhere."[13]

The famous tenor Richard Tauber saw the movie when touring Australia.[14]

It was released in Britain in 1940 as In the Nick of Time, to avoid confusion with the 1940 George Formby film Let George Do It.

References

  1. Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 181.
  2. Philip Taylor, "Ken G. Hall", Cinema Papers January 1974 p 86
  3. "GEORGE WALLACE". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 27 February 1937. p. 12. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  4. Jim Bancks at Australian Dictionary of Biography
  5. Ken G. Hall, Directed by Ken G. Hall, Lansdowne Press, 1977 p 142
  6. Pike, Andrew Franklin. "The History of an Australian Film Production Company: Cinesound, 1932-70" (PDF). Australian National University. p. 93-94.
  7. 'New Screen Hero Found', The Mail (Adelaide) Saturday 19 February 1938 p 4
  8. 'CINESOUND FILM. New Australian Comedy', The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 19 January 1938 p 8
  9. 'FILM STUDIOS NOT CLOSING', The Argus (Melbourne) Wednesday 23 March 1938 p 2
  10. 'The Road to Reno is Gay Romantic Drama', Sunday Times (Perth) Sunday 20 November 1938 p26
  11. Clip from the film at Australian Screen Online
  12. Ken G. Hall, Directed by Ken G. Hall, Lansdowne Press, 1988 p147
  13. https://archive.org/stream/variety133-1939-01#page/n22/mode/1up
  14. 'TAUBER LAUGHS AT COMEDIAN Australian Film', The Argus (Melbourne) Monday 4 July 1938 p 2
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