Film of the Month

Poet's Pub (1949)

A poet takes over the management of a rural pub.

Poet's Pub is a pleasant, breezy little film that has long been forgotten - and probably for good reason. There's a slightness to it that makes the average Ealing Comedy look like an Ingmar Bergman film in comparison. Derek Bond plays the poet - recent Oxford Blue, poet, ex-soldier and all-round good egg. He gets the job because he complains about the place to the landlord and the new owner, Fabia Drake, just offers it to him. His only qualification appears to be that he is as posh as she is. Within five minutes the place is a roaring success, thanks presumably to the natural managerial skills of the naturally posh.

So with little or no drama coming from the pub's transformation, where's the plot going to spring from? Well, there's an Elizabethan glove rumoured to be somewhere on the premises which some of the guests are looking for. Plus love interest Rona Anderson has a fearsome father in the shape of James Robertson Justice - who also happens to be a poetry critic. And surprisingly-posh maid Barbara Murray's up to something too. But none of this really amounts to much.

 Though it doesn't have a top-notch cast, there are several players who are always welcome, but they aren't given anything much to do. James Robertson Justice shouts a lot, Leslie Dwyer does his cockney barman thing and Joyce Grenfell is at her most gallumphing.

Though the script aims at a gentle whimsy there are a few elements that jar. Anderson and Murray are both pawed at more than is strictly seemly. And when Anderson is taken hostage she is threatened with having acid thrown in her face. It all feels misjudged. Somewhere there's a script editor who didn't earn their rmoney.

The critics at the time weren't keen, and the film has since sunk without trace, but it's short enough to be worth a passing look if you have a spare afternoon.

Script adapt.: Diana Morgan. (o.a. Eric Linklater)

Director: Frederick Wilson

Players: Derek Bond, Rona Anderson, James Robertson Justice, Peter Croft, Leslie Dwyer, John McLaren, Barbara Murray, Joyce Grenfell, Fabia Drake, Iris Hoey, Andrew Osborn, Kay Cavendish, Maurice Denham, Leslie Weston, Geoffrey Dunn, Roddy Hughes, Philip Stainton, Joan Sterndale-Bennett, Alexander Field, Sam Kydd, Dorothy Green, Ann Codrington, Olwen Brookes, Arthur Lowe, Mona Harris, Anthony Steel, Patricia Hayes

Poet's Pub on Youtube