Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Fortunate Fool (1933)

This film is an example of the much derided 'quota quickies' that were produced in the UK during the 1930s simply to make up the numbers of British films needed to meet government-imposed levels of British made films on display in UK cinemas, thus preventing the market being swamped by American films, so protecting UK industry. Whilst the genre - for want of a better word - has long been written off as being without merit, recent re-releases from the Ealing Rarities Collection have shown this to be a falsehood - some of the productions still stand the test of time.

Unfortunately, this isn't one of them.

This is rather uninteresting.

Hugh Wakefield
 It tells the story of a rich man Jim Falconer who pretends to be broke and on the verge of suicide in order to meet similarly down and out people and help them. On London's embankment he meets Helen (Joan Wyndham) an unemployed orphan girl who has chosen suicide over her only other option, prostitution ...
Joan Wyndham
... and Batty (Arthur Chesney), an ex-boxer and career criminal:
Arthur Chesney
He invites them into his home and, after various trials and tribulations etc etc .... something happens .... although by this time no one really cares. All I remembered was that there was a message for the world:

"If you want to learn about life, learn to live."

Not a bad one that.

Oh, and it's available in Volume 6 of the Ealing Rarities Collection ...

... luckily the other films on this disc make it worth purchasing since The Fortunate Fool is only for the most dedicated of viewers. And for ardent fans of David Lean who was the film's editor.

Here's some of the rest of the cast:
Bobby Comber

Elizabeth Jenns

Jack Raine
P.S. One further point of interest: Mike Johnson appears in a bar scene, getting into a fight with Batty (Arthur Chesney) about boxing.
Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson
Johnson later played a boxing trainer, Harry Dunn, in the 1939 film There Ain't No Justice. In the James Curtis novel upon which that film is based, Harry Dunn tells a young boxer about the differences between the way his generation dressed and how the up and coming boxers of the thirties dress. He tells them that his generation never wore collars and ties, instead they wore collarless shirts and loosely knotted silk scarves - exactly as Johnson wears in The Fortunate Fool ... There, I finally found something interesting to say about the film!

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