Old Mother Riley's Circus

Old Mother Riley's Circus is a 1941 British comedy film directed by Thomas Bentley and starring Arthur Lucan, Kitty McShane and John Longden.[1] Old Mother Riley takes over a struggling circus and makes a huge success of it.[2] The trade ad poster proclaims, "A LAUGH - A YELL - A ROAR - A LUCANQUAKE!" The film was made at the Rock Studios in Elstree by British National Films. It was the final film by Bentley, who had been a leading British director during the silent era and early sound era.

Old Mother Riley's Circus
British trade ad poster
Directed byThomas Bentley
Produced byWallace Orton
Written byBarbara K. Emary
Geoffrey Orme
Con West
Arthur Lucan
StarringArthur Lucan
Kitty McShane
John Longden
Edgar Driver
Music byKennedy Russell
CinematographyJames Wilson
Edited byClifford Boote
Jack Harris
Distributed byAnglo-American Film Corporation
Release date
9 February 1941
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Plot summary

Old Mother Riley is the ringmaster after taking over a big top with flagging fortunes. Although the circus is plagued by the disappearance of its owner, and the bailiffs are at the door, the show somehow manages to go on. Money starts to pour in, financial disaster is avoided, and Mother Riley discovers her long-lost daughter is in fact the star of the show.[3]


Critical reception

TV Guide said, "the usual padding that plagues the "Old Mother Riley" series is avoided thanks to a jolly atmosphere and some decent acts."[3]


  1. "BFI | Film & TV Database | OLD MOTHER RILEY'S CIRCUS (1941)". Ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  2. "Old Mother Riley's Circus | BFI | BFI". Explore.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  3. "Old Mother Riley's Circus Review". Movies.tvguide.com. Retrieved 22 February 2014.

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