Geordie - DOC by stdepue


									“Geordie,” or “Wee Geordie,” (1955) as you may know it, has been
considered another of the classic comedies Britain made and exported in
the 1950s. It’s a 93-minute comedy/drama/romance, with a strong sports
element, set in Scotland, although it was filmed in Shepperton Studios.
It was taglined “A Giant among Comedies.” And, surprisingly enough,
it’s in full glorious Technicolor, giving us Scottish heather in its
purple prime, sparkling lochs, verdant glens and green fields.

Wee Scottish lad Geordie, who hopes to win his classmate Jean,
undertakes a body building program guaranteed to pack on muscles, and
indeed he does grow a treat. He successfully gains height, weight and
strength, wins Jean; also a slot as a hammer thrower on the British
Olympics team preparing to compete in the 1956 games in Melbourne,
Australia. However, even as he wins his event, wearing his kilt, radio
reports from down under mistakenly broadcast that the gold medal winning
athlete has a new love; Geordie must clear that up when he gets home.

Geordie Mac Taggart is well played by Bill Travers, (BORN FREE). The
great British comic actor Alastair Sim (A CHRISTMAS CAROL) turns in a
yeoman supporting performance as the Laird. Geordie’s mail order
physical culture guru Henry Samson (Francis DeWolff) is obviously an
affectionate spoof of real life mail order muscle building he-man
Charles Atlas. Other stalwarts of British 1950s comedy, such as Raymond
Huntley, (PASSPORT TO PIMLICO) as an Olympic selector, and Miles
Malleson (KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS) as Lord Paunceton, also appear.
Frank Launder directed. The film does an excellent job of memorializing
its set time and place; the postman doing his rounds on a heavy old
bicycle, the old house, built of local stone outside and in, in which
Geordie’s family lives, and in which his Mum darns socks, surely a lost
art or craft; the multi-layer tweeds locals wear in their chilly
weather, horse and donkey carts.

The film is lovely to look at, but someone has been foolish in the
extreme. These actors are talking their best Scottish dialect, and
there are no subtitles. Alastair Sim’s presumably funny dialog went
right by me, as I suppose it will go by most others on my side of the
pond. What a waste, and what a case of being penny wise and pound
foolish. I remember this film with delight from my childhood, but I
can‘t recommend it now.

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