February 26, 2017


Hey! Hey! USA – 1938 | 92 mins | Comedy | B&W


Plot Synopsis

Hey! Hey! USA

Will Hay, the master of niggling irascibility, meets Edgar Kennedy, the master of smouldering rage. One might expect a rather jarring clash between comedians of such different styles, but it is not their failure to work together which cripples the film – they complement each other wall enough – a turgid plot in which Hay has to masquerade as an education expert thrown into the company of Kennedy, a racketeer and follow stowaway on the same America-bound liner.

There are some amusing scenes on board ship, especially a tortuous history lesson which Hay gives to a bored and contemptuous pupil whose wealthy parents have asked him to supervise their son’s education. There is also a good episode in which, as the guest of the couple at their Chicago home, he has to make an impromptu talk on education for a commercial radio network. His floundering is sabotaged every few moments by an announcer eager to extol the virtues of a brand of cereal, which the exasperated Hay ends by sardonically endorsing. But his pedagogic bluff is jettisoned in favour of a laboured kidnapping plot in which Hay is entrusted with the ransom money by the boy’s distraught parents. It is Kennedy, of course, who turns up to collect the loot, and the couple find themselves caught between two rival gangs.

The film has to resort to such desperate shifts as Hay ‘blacking up’ to take part in an Emancipation Day parade which ends in a chase round Lincoln’s statue where the ransom money has been hidden. If this film was an attempt to got Hay accepted by an American public, it cannot be considered a success, for neither the alien setting nor the strained plot allow his character room to expand.

Production Team

Marcel Varnel: Director
Alex Vetchinsky: Art Direction
Arthur Crabtree: Cinematography
RE Dearing: Editing
Cecil Milner: Music
Louis Levy: Music Direction
Edward Black: Producer
Frank Launder: Script
Howard Irving Young: Script
JOC Orton: Script
Val Guest: Script
Marriott Edgar: Script
Ralph Spence: Script
WS Salter: Sound Department


Will Hay: Benjamin Twist
Edgar Kennedy: Bugs Leary
David Burns: Tony Ricardo
Edward Ryan: Ace Marco
Fred Duprez: Cyrus Schultz
Paddy Reynolds: Mrs Schultz
Tommy Bupp: Bertie Schultz
Arthur Goullet: Henry \’Gloves\’ Johnson
Gibb McLaughlin: Ship\’s Steward
Eddie Pola: Broadcast Announcer
Peter Gawthorne: Captain
Roddy McDowall: Urchin on Dock

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