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Beer on DVD  no.51

Cheer Boys Cheer

A comedy produced by Michael Balcon. Two breweries, the 150 thousand gallon-a-day Ironside Consolidated, Metropolis-like with towering gleaming steel vessels and no humans visible, that could have been at home beside the fields of the Nuremberg Rallies and the idyllic timber-built 150 year-old Greenleaf Brewery that could just as well be a farmyard, run by a benevolent owner who gladly dines with his own workers. Two of these chaps more often appeared in Will Hay films so there’s tons of slapstick. One brewery is focussed only on increasing production of a single and mediocre product whilst the other has a range of quality beers and a recipe book that plays a crucial part in the plot. The one has cornered the market in London and wants to buy up more pubs in the Home Counties, just to soak up the extra production. This is in the days when brewers had tied estates. To give away too much would make this review a spoiler, but a romance develops between the son of the Ironside empire and the Greenleaf daughter.

It’s 1939 and Old Man Ironside’s reading matter just happens to be Mein Kampf. Among his dirty tricks to put Greenleaf’s pubs out of business, he sends lorries laden with thugs (it’s in black & white so you can’t tell if they’re brownshirts) who attempt to instigate riots and brawling in Greenleaf pubs. Ironside Senior’s son John has infiltrated the Greenleaf business in the new post of advertising manager aiming to splurge money on an ad campaign, concealing the costs so that they collapse into bankruptcy. The female lead is the lovely Nova Pilbeam who only died in July 2015. Irish comedian Jimmy O’Dea plays Matt, head brewer at Greenleaf whose recipe book includes a beer called Deirdre of the Sorrows (not Iceni Brewery’s of the same name) that induces tears in all who taste it.

The film is most readily available on “The Ealing Studios Rarities Collection: Volume 9”. These collections of four films, often not seen since their release (this one just 2 weeks before war broke out) can often be had for around £7. Picture quality is really crisp and the sound amazingly clear for its age.



to be printed in O-to-K , 2016  text ©RKW 2016