The Common Touch

The Common Touch is a 1941 British drama film directed by John Baxter and starring Geoffrey Hibbert, Harry Welchman, Greta Gynt, and Joyce Howard.[1] The film is a remake by the director of his 1933 film Doss House. [2]

The Common Touch
Original British trade ad
Directed byJohn Baxter
Produced byJohn Baxter
Written byBarbara K. Emary
Geoffrey Orme
Based ona story by Herbert Ayres (as C.G.H. Ayres)
StarringGeoffrey Hibbert
Harry Welchman
Greta Gynt
Joyce Howard
Music byKennedy Russell
CinematographyJames Wilson
Edited byJack Harris
Distributed byAnglo-American Film Corporation (UK)
Release date
  • 15 December 1941 (1941-12-15) (UK)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Pianist Mark Hambourg appears in a small role.


At the age of 18, orphaned Peter Henderson leaves school in the middle of the term (after winning a cricket match) to take over the family firm, one of the most important in the City of London, as arranged by his late father. Cartwright, one of the company directors, tries to retain control of the decision-making, but Peter follows his father's explicit instructions to learn about the business.

One day, Peter asks an employee about what occupies a certain city block his firm wants to demolish. (Cartwright and his cronies are secretly trying to enrich themselves.) The man tells him about Charlie's, a dosshouse. Peter and a former schoolmate disguise themselves to look the place over. While they are there, Charlie notifies everyone that the establishment will be closing soon, as it and the neighbouring tenements will be demolished.

Inky, one of the residents, consults lawyer "Lincoln's Inn". He has kept away from his beautiful daughter, cabaret performer Sylvia Meadows, because of his forgery and blackmailing past. He thinks he is the reason Sylvia has not married noted cricketer Stuart Gordon; Lincoln agrees to see what he can do. Peter eavesdrops when Charlie consults with Lincoln, and learns that Cartwright is involved in the eviction and is coming to Charlie's tomorrow.

Inky sends a letter to his daughter via Peter, but she does not believe he can keep his word, as he has been unable to do so in the past. When Inky is told, he commits suicide for her sake; he leaves behind a letter which also reveals that he forged the signature of John Henderson on a document which he believes has something to do with the closing of Charlie's. However, Lincoln states they need to get their hands on some of Cartwright's papers as corroboration. They make Tich, a resident of Charlie's, look like a gentleman to use his nimble fingers. They go to Cartwright's suite, where Tich knocks out the butler, then opens the safe. With the information obtained, Peter informs Charlie's residents that his company will rebuild a new and better Charlie's.


Listed in opening, but not closing credits:

There is also an appearance by Carroll Gibbons the bandleader.


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