February 26, 2017


Once a Jolly Swagman – 1948 | 100 mins | Comedy, Romance | B&W

Plot Synopsis

Once a Jolly Swagman

Improbable melodrama set amongst the thrills andspills of a speedway track. The predictable script spans thirteen years and thecareer and loves of a cocky speedway ace. Bill Owen and Bonar Colleano providedependable support, but Dirk Bogarde never gets out of first gear.

Set in the 1930s, factory worker Bill Fox (DirkBogarde) quits his job and becomes a speedway rider the Cobra Speedway. Thetrack owner, Rowton (Sid James), puts Fox in a novice race that he subsequentlywins, but as his success grows so does his ego, and he becomes dazzled both byhis new-found fame and the radiance of socialite Dotty Liz (Moira Lister). Evenwhen his best friend on the track, Aussie Lag Gibbon (Bill Owen), flies overthe handlebars and is seriously injured, it doesn’t deter Bill from racing.

Bill does eventually become disillusioned with hisMayfair girlfriend and her circle of friends. He goes on to marry Lag’s sisterPat (Renee Asherson), and tries to form a union to ensure the riders and theirfamilies are financially secure should an accident occur on the track. Patattempts to steer Bill away from the track and towards opening a garage, butwhen he instead proposes they move to the US and he continues racing – she leaveshim. WWII arrives and Bill enlists as a motorcycle courier. After the war Billis left with two alternatives, make a success of his marriage or return to thetrack?

Production Team

Jack Lee: Director
Frederick Pusey: Art Direction
HE Fowle: Cinematography
Terence Morgan: Costume Design
Jack Harris: Film Editing
John Ferris: Film Editing
Betty Baugh: Makeup Department
Jim Hydes: Makeup Department
Bernard Stevens: Original Music
Ian Dalrymple: Producer
William Rose: Script
Jack Lee: Script
Cliff Gordon: Script
Charles Knott: Sound Department
Gordon K McCallum: Sound Department


Dirk Bogarde: Bill Fox
Bonar Colleano: Tommy Possey
Renee Asherson: Pat
Bill Owen: Lag Gibbon
Moira Lister: Dotty Liz
Thora Hird: Ma Fox
Cyril Cusack: Duggie
Sid James: Rowton
James Hayter: Pa Fox
Patric Doonan: Dick

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