July 24, 2014

Films

Convict 99 – 1938 | 91 mins | Comedy | B&W

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Plot Synopsis

Convict 99

Benjamin Twist (Will Hay), becomes a prison governor, a job he obtains when mistaken for another candidate of the same name. His arrival at Blackdown coincides with a mutiny among the inmates, and he is thrown into a cell before he can convince anyone of his identity. He encounters the prison’s oldest inhabitant (Moore Marriott), and learns at first-hand of the harsh regime. So when the mistake is discovered and he takes charge, he makes sweeping reforms: turning calls into homes from home, with electric fires, cosy armchairs, radios and curtains, introducing a la carte menus, and making money for the prisoners by ‘playing the market’ with the aid of a convicted share-pusher. But the funds are stolen, and Hay has to venture into darkest Limehouse to recover them.

Stalwart character actors like Gawthorne. Basil Radford, Denis Wyndham and Garry Marsh keep the narrative going. But Marriott’s compulsive tunneller, Jerry the Mole, is the film’s richest character. The scene in which he emerges through the floor of the governor’s office, to have it patiently explained to him that the entire prison has been rebuilt since he started his tunnel years before, is one of the funniest in the Hay canon.

Production Team

Marcel Varnel: Director
Alex Vetchinsky: Art Direction
Arthur Crabtree: Cinematography
RE Dearing: Editing
Louis Levy: Music Direction
Edward Black: Producer
Val Guest Ralph Smart: Script
Frank Launder: Script
Marriott Edgar: Script
WS Salter: Sound Department

Cast

Will Hay: Dr Benjamin Twist
Moore Marriott: Jerry the Mole
Graham Moffatt: Albert
Googie Withers: Lottie
Peter Gawthorne: Sir Cyril Wagstaffe
Basil Radford: Governor
Dennis Wyndham: Head Warder
Wilfred Walter: Max Slessor
Alfred Goddard: Sykes
Garry Marsh: Johnson
Basil McGrail: Bates
Ben Soutten: Raymond
Teddy Brown: Slim Charlie
Kathleen Harrison: Mabel



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