Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oh, Mr Porter! and Will Hay

I have now watched my Oh, Mr Porter! DVD from LoveFilm.

The first thing to say is that I must have watched the film on television as a child, because I had a little shock of recognition when I heard the line "With his ear 'ole painted green". Not the funniest line in the film, but it probably appealed to me then.

It's an enjoyable film and it has not aged too badly. Hay's comic persona of a baffled, venal authority figure is more acceptable tastes than the lovable gumps played by George Formby or Norman Wisdom.

The plot was more or less borrowed from Arnold Ridley's play The Ghost Train. Hay plays William Porter, who is appointed as station master at Buggleskelly on the Southern Railway of Northern Ireland (shades of the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople). The line is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of One-eyed Joe, but that turns out to be a story put about by IRA gun runners to keep the locals away.

There is clearly a thesis to be written on Hay's influence on the Scooby-Doo cartoons.

Anyway, with the help of an elderly steam locomotive named Gladstone, Hay captures the gun runners and hands them over to the authorities.

There are some good lines of dialogue (thanks IMDB):

Superintendent: It's a country station, rather off the beaten track.

William Porter: Oh, I don't mind, as long as it's near the railway.


First irate farmer: [confronting the station master about a cancelled train] I've got a return to Dublin.

Second irate farmer: And I've got a single to Belfast.

Third irate farmer: And what am I going to do with my Cork?

William Porter: [Opens his mouth to reply but thinks better of it and says nothing]

Mention of Arnold Ridley reminds me that Jimmy Perry says that Hay and his sidekicks Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt taught him the comic potential of the trio pompous man, old man and boy.

That became Captain Mainwaring, Corporal Jones and Pike in Dad's Army.

1 comment:

moggy said...

THE FILM I HAVE GOT, ITS VERY FUNNY THE BIT ABOUT THE LITTER MAKES ME LAUGH the farmer and his pigs top man will heay was !!!