My Learned Friend

My Learned Friend
Directed by Basil Dearden
Will Hay
Produced by Michael Balcon
Robert Hamer
Written by John Dighton
Angus MacPhail
Starring Will Hay
Ronald Shiner
Charles Victor
Music by Ernest Irving
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Edited by Charles Hasse
Distributed by Ealing
Running time
74 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

My Learned Friend is a 1943 British, black-and-white, comedy, farce, directed by Basil Dearden with regular collaborator Will Hay and starring Ronald Shiner as the Man in Wilson's café, Will Hay as William Fitch and Charles Victor as "Safety" Wilson.[1] It was produced by Michael Balcon, Robert Hamer and Ealing Studios. The film's title refers to a tradition in British law: when addressing either the court or the judge, a barrister refers to the opposing counsel using the respectful term, "my learned friend". The supporting cast included Claude Hulbert, Mervyn Johns and Ernest Thesiger. It was the last film featuring Will Hay as he had an operation, however, it wasn't the last role in his career as he would star as "Doctor Muffin" in The Will Hay Programme that aired on the radio, the radio show began in 1944. The humour of the film was different from the humour of Hay's films he previously made with Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt and the film had more of a dark humour than any of Hay's other films. Hay had planned to make more films with Claude Hulbert that had a dark humour, but it was Hay's last film due to illness.


This comedy sees Will Hay playing a seedy lawyer, who finds himself marked for assassination by a forger whom he previously defended unsuccessfully. He teams up with an incompetent solicitor to try to prevent the deaths of others involved.

The film climaxes with a sequence where Hay hangs from the hands of the clock face of Big Ben in an attempt to prevent a time bomb being detonated.


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