“Oh, Mr Porter!”

One of my favourite films of the 1930s is the black and white feature “Oh, Mr Porter!”, starring Will Hay.

Hay was a very interesting chap, hugely clever, a serious astronomer (there is an asteroid named after him) and the person who gave Amy Johnson flying lessons.

He made a number of very funny films where he played a bumbling, slightly corrupt official who gets into trouble. In this film he is a station master, he is often a teacher or policeman. In his best films, he is accompanied by Graham Moffatt and Moore Marriott (centre).

Marriott was a seriously good straight actor. He could take out his teeth, insert a false plate with a single tooth and it was so funny.

The plot is simple and eerily familiar: Hay takes over as station master at a forgotten station in Ireland, near the border. He tries to make something of the station, offering day trips, but gets involved with smugglers.

The film ends with a famous windmill scene, followed by a train chase.

It may seem a big corny these days, but some of the one liners, especially “Where’s your clock?” are hilarious.

“Ask A Policeman” is also worth a watch.

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