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You Lucky People! (1955)

Courtesy of Adelphi Films

Main image of You Lucky People! (1955)
35mm, 79 min, black & white
DirectorMaurice Elvey
Production CompanyAdelphi Films
 Advance Films
ProducerDavid Dent
ScreenplayAntony Verney
Original radio playSidney Nelson
 Maurice Harrison
CinematographyGordon Dines
Music byEdwin Astley

Cast: Tommy Trinder (Private Tommy Smart); Mary Parker (Private Sally Briggs); Dora Bryan (Sergeant Hortense Tipp); Rufus Cruickshank (Sergeant Major Horace Thickpenny); Michael Kelly (Sergeant Manners); Mark Singleton (Lieutenant Arthur Robson)

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The tribulation of of a platoon of 'Z' reservists who find a fortnight's training an unwelcome interruption.

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After WWII, comedian Tommy Trinder toured extensively abroad, returning home to find his British profile somewhat diminished. Eager to regain lost ground, early in 1955 he signed up with the tiny, family-owned Adelphi film company for You Lucky People!

The script dealt with the humorous exploits of Class Z Reservists (previously enlisted soldiers available for recall to active service) compelled to leave civvy street for a refresher course of training. Adelphi may not have been Ealing, where Trinder made his best-regarded work, but the prospect of a new film tailored to showcase his comedy (the original title, Get Fell In, was changed to match Trinder's familiar catchphrase) - represented an excellent opportunity for widespread exposure.

After permission to use 20th Century Fox's trademark Cinemascope was sternly denied, it was shot by veteran director Maurice Elvey using a rival French process, christened CameraScope by Adelphi's Arthur Dent. It was, proclaimed the pre-release publicity, "the first feature to be made with an anamorphic lens in black and white! It's a camerascoop!"

The film premiered at the Cinema Exhibitors Association's 1955 summer conference in Llandudno, an event usually dominated by the screening of a prestigious new release from the Rank Organisation. This year the Rank boys were busy setting up the VistaVision widescreen process at Pinewood, and by chance, the Dents scored another camerascoop. You Lucky People! had pride of place, playing on the conference's closing night, and was followed by an Adelphi dinner dance for the delegates.

That evening the town band, hired by Adelphi publicist Michael Glynn, marched along the high street - bedecked with Adelphi banners for the occasion - bashing out rousing tunes outside the delegates' hotel. They were led by one of the film's cast, noisy celebrity Sergeant Major Ronald Brittain.

Enthusiastically received by industry attendees, You Lucky People! garnered highly positive reviews. Kine Weekly championed Elvey, declaring it "expertly handled by the doyen of English directors... team work hearty, gags both time honoured and topical and staging generous." The film was booked for the whole of the Rank-owned Gaumont cinema circuit, given respectable equal billing with American crime drama The Naked Street (1955).

The film did steady business. Better still it kept Trinder fresh in the public consciousness and reinforced his credentials as a British comedian, before, in September 1955, he found renewed fame as the host of ITV's Sunday Night at the London Palladium (1955-67).

Vic Pratt

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Video Clips
1. On the parade ground (3:24)
2. The smart utility rifle (3:13)
3. Guard duty (2:38)
Carry On Sergeant (1958)
Bryan, Dora (1924-)
Trinder, Tommy (1909-1989)
Adelphi Films