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Thread: Sing As We Go

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Nov 2009
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    Sing As We Go (Basil Dean 1934) is probably the most successful of the Gracie Fields films, made when she was at the top of her career. The greater part of the film’s budget went to her fee and Basil Dean, the film’s producer and director, writes sourly about it. It was written by J. B. Priestley whose novel, The Good Companions (1929), established him as Britain’s leading popular left-wing novelist. There is little that is challenging or original about the script, which simply links a set of Gracie Fields routines and songs around the closing down and reopening of the mill where she works. “Gracie?, who is as popular in the mill as Gracie was in the theatre, is delegated to appeal to the boss, Hugh Philips (John Loder) to keep the factory open. She hasn’t the remotest chance and, although she flirts with him, it is hopeless. She leads her work-mates out of work, singing the title song, as cheerfully as she might lead them in. The following day, on a tip from her aunt, she is on ‘er bike to Blackpool at the height of the holiday season and where her adventures begin. She skivvies in a boarding house, sells sticky toffee and ice cream on the front, sings in the funfair, is chased around the town by a bobby played by Stanley Holloway, meets up with Phyllis, played by Dorothy Hyson, who has come down from London to win the beauty prize, and gets involved with a fake spiritualist played by Maire O’Neill. Hugh is around too and, while watching Gracie sing “Just a Catchy Little Tune? in a side show, meets Dorothy. Gracie, who was never in with a chance, takes it philosophically and sings Love, Wonderful Love, but there is a resolution; she is instrumental in having the mill restart and is taken on again, this time as welfare officer. The template for Sing as We Go is most likely, Hindle Wakes, the play by Stanley Houghton written in 1910, which had already been adapted to the screen three times, the most recently in 1931 by Victor Saville. In the Houghton play, the factory closes down, not because of a lack of business, but because it is wakes week, the company holiday, when almost everyone went to Blackpool, but it is, essentially the same idea; the break from the drudgery of routine factory life is an opportunity to let the hair down. Sing As We Go does not attempt to raise any questions about unemployment or its consequences; workers take it on the chin as the way of the world; it might be thought to deliberately question nothing about society. Sing As We Go succeeds because of the exuberance of Gracie Fields, by taking the audience out of is itself. Apart from featuring the operatic singer, Norman Walker, Muriel Pavlow, who recently appeared in Stephen Poliakoff’s Glorious 39, and Richard Greene, who is best remembered from television’s The Adventures of Robin Hood, are, astoundingly, somewhere in there.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    69 times
    I always remember my late mother saying it was the first film she saw at the cinema,where - I

    think - her grandad took her to see.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

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