My Learned Friend

My Learned Friend is a 1943 British, black-and-white, comedy, farce, directed by Basil Dearden with his regular collaborator, Will Hay, as the film's star in the role of William Fitch. The principal supporting roles were taken by Claude Hulbert and Mervyn Johns . Character roles went to Laurence Hanray as Sir Norman, Charles Victor as "Safety" Wilson, Ernest Thesiger as Ferris and Ronald Shiner as the Man in Wilson's café.[1] It was produced by Michael Balcon, Robert Hamer and Ealing Studios. The film's title refers to a tradition in British law: when addressing either the court or the judge, a barrister refers to the opposing counsel using the respectful term, "my learned friend". This was Will Hay's last film, Hay went onto star as "Doctor Muffin" in The Will Hay Programme that aired on the radio in 1944. The humour of My Learned Friend took a darker turn than any of Hay's earlier films.

My Learned Friend
Directed byBasil Dearden
Will Hay
Produced byMichael Balcon
Robert Hamer
Written byJohn Dighton
Angus MacPhail
StarringWill Hay
Claude Hulbert
Mervyn Johns
Music byErnest Irving
CinematographyWilkie Cooper
Edited byCharles Hasse
Distributed byEaling
Running time
74 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


This comedy sees Will Hay playing a seedy lawyer, who finds himself marked for assassination by a forger whom he previously defended unsuccessfully. He teams up with an incompetent solicitor to try to prevent the deaths of others involved.

The film climaxes with a sequence where Hay hangs from the hands of the clock face of Big Ben in an attempt to prevent a time bomb being detonated.


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