MY OLD DUTCH
Sog.: Leslie Arliss. Scen.: Mary Murillo, Bryan Edgar Wallace, Marjorie Gaffney, Michael Hogan. F.: Leslie Rowson. M.: Derek Twist. Scgf.: Peter Proud. Int.: Gordon Harker (Ernie), Betty Balfour (Lil), Florrie Forde (Aunt Bertha), Michael Hogan (Bert), Finlay Currie (il medico), Mickey Brantford (Jim), Glennis Lorimer (Valerie Paraday), Peter Gawthorne (sig. Paraday), Frank Pettingell (zio Alf), Robert Nainby (il nonno), Bill Shine (il cugino Aarry). Prod.: Gainsborough Pictures · 35mm. L.: 2000 m. D.: 81’. Bn.
Mary Murillo was one of an impressive writing team for this vehicle for popular star Betty Balfour. The film is based on the famous song of 1892 by Albert Chevalier, a major star of the English music hall, which he performed in for years as a sketch and also produced as a play. Betty Balfour and Michael Hogan star as Lil and Bert – a pair of working class Londoners who “get engaged on ‘Ampstead ‘Eath, marry, have a son, sacrifice everything to make him a ‘gent’ and lose him in the war”. Cockney colour is provided by Gordon Harker and music hall legend, Florrie Forde and most interesting for us today, the film contains a mise en abyme set in a cinema containing scenes from the lost 1915 version of My Old Dutch with Albert Chevalier himself playing Joe and Florence Turner playing Sal. At the heart of the drama the original song tells a sentimental story of an old man singing the praises of his faithful wife of forty years. The term ‘my old dutch’ allegedly comes from Cockney rhyming slang – either Dutch plate/mate or Duchess of Fife /wife – take your pick.