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Save Your Shillings and Smile (1943)


Main image of Save Your Shillings and Smile (1943)
35mm, 6 min, black & white
DirectorHarry Watt
Production CompanyEaling Studios
SponsorNational Savings Committee

Music hall star Tommy Trinder has to choose a date among the ladies of the chorus line. The lucky lady is the one who knows all about war savings.

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A cheerful musical comedy short designed to promote investment in War Savings, Save Your Shillings and Smile was one of a number of films commissioned by the National Savings Committee from Ealing Studios. It starred popular lantern-jawed comedian Tommy Trinder, a regular Ealing performer from 1942.

Trinder was a natural choice for light propaganda of this sort. At the height of his fame during the Second World War, he was renowned not only for patter but also for patriotic grit. Unbowed by the Blitz, he'd determinedly continued his stage performances despite the bombing, and after the sirens sounded, he would chat to those audience members who dared remain.

At the time of this film, as is evident from its opening scenes, he was playing the London Palladium in Best Bib and Tucker, a show built around him by impresario George Black. Black, mentioned by name in the film, controlled the Palladium, where Trinder was a favourite. According to show business legend, so lengthy was Trinder's tenure there that he redecorated his dressing room and installed a fruit machine.

Trinder, seen backstage, banters with his dresser before deciding which lucky chorus girl he will take on a date. Various vain girls - described by their wise wardrobe mistress as "silly girls spending money on clothing coupons just to swank about in restaurants" - are swayed by Trinder's celebrity and attempt to impress him (although one decides he "looks like the Victory V sign the wrong way round"). Trinder sings a song, then chooses to date the girl who doesn't have fancy clothes: the secretary of the War Savings group.

Vic Pratt

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
Complete film (6:46)
Did You Ever See a Dream Talking? (1943)
Eating Out With Tommy Trinder (1941)
Go to Blazes (1942)
Trinder, Tommy (1909-1989)
Watt, Harry (1906-1987)
Ealing Studios (1938-59)
Ealing Propaganda Shorts