UK / British Lion – Vale / 95 minutes / 1959
Writers: Frank Launder, Geoffrey Willans, from the novel by Nigel Tranter / Music: Cedric Thorpe Davie / Cinematogrpahy: Arthur Hibbotson / Producers: Frank Launder, Sidney Gilliat / Director: Frank Launder
Cast: Bill Travers, Fiona Clyne, Bernadette O’Farrell, Patricia Bredin, George Cole, Duncan Macrae, Gordon Jackson, Charlotte Mitchell, Dilys Laye, Elizabeth Campbell, Alex Mackenzie, Eric Woodburn
Armed with his personal Ten Commandments and a roving eye, Ewan McEwan (Bill Travers) is dispatched from his Hebridean island home with a single aim: marriage.
On the mainland, Ewan encounters a barmaid, who mistakes his enthusiasm for meeting women and accuses him of white slavery. Fleeing, he finds sanctuary at a remote farmhouse where the flirtatious Isobel (Dilys Lane) offers him the camouflage of a kilt. It turns out to contain the tartan of his island’s sworn enemies, the Campbells, making him the target of both the police and his island elders, who must be placated if he is ever to return.
Director Frank Launder attempts to repeat the popular appeal of his scriptwriting work on The Lady Vanishes and Oh. Mr Porter!, and the magic of the St Trinian’s franchise, which he produced, wrote and directed. Like its hero Ewan, the film skilfully avoids offence, and managed to impress the Manchester Guardian : “they have once again scored a success.”
George Cole, until then best known as Flash Harry from the schoolgirl romps, appears with Upstairs, Downstairs actor Gordon Jackson. Both play policeman, but would go on to find fame with television series placing them above or beyond the law (Minder and The Professionals ).
Ewan’s journey also turns out to be a trek through the early careers of future sitcom stalwarts Annette Crosbie and Terry Scott, each of whom help or hinder his way back to normality.