The Butler's Dilemma

The Butler's Dilemma is a 1943 black-and-white British comedy film, directed by Leslie S. Hiscott and starring Richard Hearne in a dual role as Rodney Playfair and a Butler called Chapman, Ronald Shiner as Ernie, Ian Fleming, Francis L. Sullivan, Judy Kelly and Hermione Gingold.[1] It was produced by Elisabeth Hiscott, Graham Cutts for Shaftesbury Films, and filmed at British National Studios.[1]

The Butler's Dilemma
Directed byLeslie S. Hiscott
Produced byElizabeth Hiscott
Graham Cutts
Written byMichael Barringer
StarringRichard Hearne
Francis L. Sullivan
Judy Kelly
Hermione Gingold
Music byJohn Blore Borelli (as John Blore)
CinematographyJames Wilson
Edited byErwin Reiner
Shaftesbury Films
Distributed byAnglo-American Film Corporation
Release date
  • 29 November 1943 (1943-11-29)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


A group of friends undertake a number of deceptions in order to stage an illicit gambling party. Wimpish Rodney Playfair (Hearne) is persuaded, by a promise to erase his gambling debts, to impersonate an old manservant named Chapman (also played by Hearne) for a few weeks in order to unwittingly provide an alibi for an accomplished thief. Hearne's dual roles alternates between him playing the timid young Playfair, (in effect Hearne playing his real age) and the doddery butler 'Chapman', who is 'Mr Pastry' in all but name.


Critical reception

TV Guide gave the film two out of five stars, calling it, "Terribly tepid."[2]


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