Thursday, March 31, 2022

Geordie ( 1955 )

In the 1950s, English actor Bill Travers was at the peak of his popularity as a leading actor in British films. Between 1950 and 1955 alone he made twelve of which was Geordie, a light-hearted tale of a Scotsman who becomes obsessed with physical fitness. 

Young Geordie ( Paul Young ) is a wee laddie who is ashamed of being so small for his age. Even his best girl Jean ( Anna Ferguson ) is taller than him. So one day he subscribes to Henry Samson's correspondence course on strength training. Before long, he becomes a strapping youth ( Bill Travers ) and one of the strongest men in the village. 

After his father dies, Geordie takes over his position as grounds and gamekeeper to the Laird ( Alistair Sim ) but he does not cease in his exercises and decides to put his strength to the test at the local Scottish Highland Games and throw the hammer. When this proves to be successful, he is invited to partake in the 1956 Olympic Games in Australia to represent Great Britain. Here, he shames his girlfriend when he kisses a fellow Olympian in public. 

Geordie makes for passing entertainment but it is sadly lacking in compelling drama. It could have been an engrossing little melodrama or, on the opposite spectrum, a fine comedy. Alack, it is neither. The film starts off well enough but loses direction midway through. Bill Travers often plays characters that are indecisive and undetermined and Geordie is no exception. The poor lad does not know what he wants to do with his life and, having no motive, he makes a very lackluster hero. If he were a big comical lug, Geordie's character would be amusing, but instead, he just seems like a lost man. 

Sidney Gilliat and Frank Lauder ( Night Train to Munich, The Blue Lagoon ) based their screenplay on the 1950 novel Geordie written by David Walker. Critics of the book state that the film is a very faithful adaptation of the novel, but I would imagine that the novel connects the incidents seen in the film more fluidly. A few extra lines of narrative here and there would have given more depth to Geordie's character, too. Frank Lauder produced and directed the film as well, one of many that he made in partnership with Sidney Gilliat. 

Geordie does feature beautiful cinematography by Wilkie Cooper of the Scottish highlands and a fine theme by English composer William Alwyn, so if you happen to catch it on television it is worth a gander.....but I wouldn't go out of the way to hunt it down. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm been a fan of Geordie since I saw it on TV in the 1980s as Wee Geordie. I guess it's not for all tastes, but I found it charming from start to finish and I quite liked the romance between Geordie and Jean.