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Released by Pathéscope August 1939 on 9.5mm sound as T.9135 (6 reels) - price £15.13sh.6d.

"A FIRE HAS BEEN ARRANGED" GB 1935   Director: Leslie Hiscott
   70mins B/W  Cert "U"               Producer: Julius Hagen
 (approx.50 minutes on 9.5mm)         Twickenham Film Distributors 
 Story:H.Fowler Mear, James Carter    Screenplay: H.Fowler Mear, Michael Barringer
 Photography: Sydney Blythe           Musical Director: W.L. Trytel
 Dances arranged by Buddy Bradley
 Musical numbers: Maurice Sigler, Al Goodheart, Al Hoffman and Bud Flanagan, Horatio Nichols
 Film Editing: Michael C. Chorlton    Art Direction: James A. Carter
 Assistant Directors: Arthur Barnes, Victor Trytel
 Filmed at Twickenham Film Studios, UK
 Location filming at Brooklands Race Track, Byfleet, Surrey, UK
 Music in the Pathéscope 9.5mm print includes:
       "Underneath The Arches" - played by an Orchestra over the opening credits
       "They're Building Flats Where The Arches Used To Be" - sung by Flanagan & Allen
 Music cut from the 9.5mm print:
       "The Fire Brigade" - sung by Robb Wilton & Mary Lawson
       "It Doesn't Cost A Thing To Smile" - sung by Robb Wilton, Harold French & Mary Lawson
 Cast: Bud Flanagan ............. Bud
       Chesney Allen ............ Ches
       Mary Lawson .............. Betty
       Robb Wilton .............. Oswald
       Harold French ............ Toby
       C.Dernier Warren ......... Shuffle
       Alastair Sim ............. Cutte
       Hal Walters .............. Hal
       Vincent Holman ........... Ex-Detective (uncredited)
       Jack Vivian .............. Prison Warder (uncredited)
       Buddy Bradley Girls ...... Shopgirls
       Vera Lynn ................ extra (uncredited)
               Alastair Sim  

Here is a picture, with robust comedy, that relays music-hall humour to the screen without loss of laughs. Flanagan and Allen, the popular variety team, are given plenty of scope in the absurdly funny story and with the help of a first rate supporting cast deliver side splitting gags with healthly rapidity; the cheery homely nature of the typically English humour more than offsets the airiness of the story.

Bud, Ches and Hal, three crooks, rob a jeweller's store, bury their ill-gotten gains in waste ground and then have to go to gaol. A ten years' stretch faces them and when they come out, they find that an imposing emporium has been erected on the grave of their loot. It so happens, however, that Shuffle and Cutte, directors of the store, are in financial difficulties and plan to burn down the store. All five villains get together.

Needless to say, the plot does not work out according to plan; in the first place, the daughter of the man whom Bud, Ches and Hal had robbed gets hold of the jewellery first and then the insurance policy on the building lapses before the conflagration begins. A merry bunch of twisters emerge unscathed. - Pathéscope Monthly Aug/Sept 1939

Maybe the Pathéscope write-up is a little over enthusiastic, but then they were selling prints of the film! The film does remain as an interesting piece of pre-war UK entertainment. Alastair Sim is excellent in his portrayal of the crooked store manager whilst there is a clever routine by Flanagan and Allen at a typical 1930's roadhouse - no doubt one of their variety theatre 'turns'. Vera Lynn mentions in her autobiography that she appeared as an 'extra' in the crowd scenes outside the department store. The 9.5mm print has good picture and sound if you can find a copy. If you want to see the full musical and dance numbers then I can recommend the recent DVD release - see below - gln March 2004

The problem with the 9.5mm sound releases, was that, like later Super 8mm cut-downs, the feature films were usually shortened, in this example from 70 minutes down to about 50 minutes. In the case of "A Fire Has Been Arranged" this meant the loss of some interesting musical dance numbers and songs plus scenes with Robb Wilton training his fire team (the Buddy Bradley Girls in frilly short skirts - just right for fire-fighting!) - "The Fire Brigade" and "It Doesn't Cost A Thing to Smile".both sung by Robb Wilton & Mary Lawson are the main omissions.

Well now ninefivers have the chance of viewing "A Fire Has Been Arranged" full length
on an excellent DVD release from DD Video (now Simply Entertainment)
Buy from Simply Entertainment or MovieMail, UK Amazon etc. - (price approx. £9.99)

Watch "A Fire Has Been Arranged" full length on You Tube 16Apr2014


Created March 2004 ...... Last updated: 01 December 2017 ...... 95flmcatt9135.htm ...... ©MM1V Grahame L. Newnham