Saturday, 19 October 2013

Davy (1958)
This was the fourth from last film produced by the legendary Ealing Studios. It's a rather maudlin tale of a music hall act, the Mad Morgans, a family act whose most talented member Davy (played by Harry Secombe) dreams of becoming an opera singer...
Harry Secombe
... much to the concern of the rest of the act who fear that without him their days are numbered.

Ron Randell, Susan Shaw, Bill Owen and George Relph (the father of the film's director Michael Relph)

Right from the start it's clear they are not experiencing great success with their act, playing at the Collins Music Hall, a rather down-at-heel theatre in a dingy London street.

This story of the dying days of the music hall (where the 'stars' dream of getting a slot on television) was a rather fitting project for Ealing Studios whose own star had waned and which had been reduced to producing comedies as poor as this one.

Because it is poor: really poor. The plot is weak, there is little comedy, it is poorly paced and rather depressing, yet without any real charm to commend it. You know a film is bad when the most memorable scene is a monkey in a dress drinking coca cola:

The attempt at injecting glamour into the film - basically Susan Shaw in her underwear and getting her bum painted on stage -
Susan Shaw

Susan Shaw, Harry Secome and Bill Owen

counts for little. And Shaw is hardly the glamour girl she was ten years earlier - although I suppose that's the point.

There's little to say about the film apart from to have a look at some of the bit-players:

Bernard Cribbins (in an uncredited role, only his second film appearance)
Kenneth Connor (with Bill Owen and Harry Secombe)

Joan Sims, Gladys Henson and Liz Frazer (Elizabeth Fraser in the credits)

Whilst Sims, Connor, Fraser and Cribbins would become screen regulars in the years ahead (as would Ron Moody who had a 'blink and you miss it' role as a unicyclist) Gladys Henson was one of the old guard - someone who'd already made their career - often as Jack Warner's onscreen wife. Another of the old guard was Frank Atkinson ...

Frank Atkinson (right)
... who had started his film career in 1930, had starred in 'Death Drives Through' (see earlier post) ...
Death Drives Through (1935)
 ... played a bit part in 'The Man in the White Suit' ...
Frank Atkinson in 'The Man in the White Suit'
... and was also a screenwriter, having ten scripts produced in the 1930s and a TV series in the 1950s. He died in 1953.
Finally, Susan Shaw's son was played by Peter Frampton, the son of Harry Frampton who worked as a make up artist on 'Davy' and many other Ealing Studios productions. Frampton junior followed his father into the industry and was the chief make-up artist on Braveheart.
Peter Frampton
 This poster is currently available from Greg Edwards:

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