Oh, Mr. Porter! (1937)

Genres - Comedy, Crime  |   Run Time - 84 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Will Hay was one of Britain's most beloved comic figures and his comedies from the 1930s were guaranteed crowd pleasers. Oh, Mr. Porter! is arguably Hay's best film and if the passing years have inevitably dimmed some of its comic luster, it remains very funny. Concept counts for a lot with a Hay film, which almost always follows the comedian as he bumbles his way ineptly through a new occupation for which he is supremely unfit. Porter finds Hay vainly attempting to lead a dupe that blithely ignores his every command, providing more than enough fodder for Hay's patented double takes and reactions. The plot is farfetched and stretches to the breaking point, but Hay and his compatriots distract from the nonsensical nature of the proceedings and director Marcel Varnel keeps things moving at a snappy and diverting pace. Even though the action stops so that Hay and compatriots Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt can engage in pointless music hall shenanigans, Varnel keeps these side trips from throwing the film off-course. Like many Hollywood "star comic" films, Porter never really goes anywhere, despite all of its huffing and puffing, but it's a very pleasant trip to nowhere.