Doctor Syn (August 25, 1937)

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Doctor Syn
 

Released on August 25, 1937: A village of smugglers in Kent tries to outwit the King's tax collectors when he comes searching for smuggled wine and brandy.

Produced by Michael Balcon and Edward Black

Directed by Roy William Neill

The Actors: George Arliss (Doctor Syn), Margaret Lockwood (Imogene Clegg), John Loder (Denis Cobtree), Roy Emerton (Captain Howard Colly, Royal Navy), Graham Moffatt (Jerry Jerk), Frederick Burtwell (Rash the schoolmaster), George Merritt (Mipps the coffin maker), Athole Stewart (Squire Anthony Cobtree), Wilson Coleman (Doctor Pepper, M.D.), Wally Patch (Collyer's Bo'sun), Meinhart Maur (Mulatto), Muriel George (Mrs. Waggetts, Pub Owner )

 

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The Pirate and the Parson

Today we travel back to Merry Olde England in the days of Pirates versus the Royal Navy sailors chasing the booze smuggling pirates. As our adventure opens we watch as a boat full of pirates ties a grotesque mulatto man to a tree and leaves him to die. It seems that the monstrous mulatto pirate has killed Pirate Captain Clegg's wife, and is abandoned to die tied to a tree. We then travel twenty years into the future to a small village in Kent named Dymchurch, and in the cemetery we see a headstone that declares that the infamous pirate Captain Clegg was captured and hung by the villagers twenty years earlier. We then join the villagers inside the church who are singing a grand old church hymn. As Mipps the coffin maker is finishing his chore of collecting the money from the good parishioners he notices a rope bobbing up and down under the bell tower and quickly climbs the stairs to the bell tower where he sees a light far away blinking out a coded message. He goes back down to the sanctuary and walks up to Doctor Syn, the parish Vicar, whispering furtively in his ear. The good Vicar stops the service and announces to the villagers that Royal Navy tax collectors are on the way to the village in search of smuggled brandy and wine, and it would be best if everyone went home to prepare. We learn that almost the entire town is in the smuggling business, and Vicar Syn is the head of it all. Now . . . If this story were filmed in the U.S. . . . movie censors that ruled every movie plot until the late 1960's would have forbidden this story to be filmed. In this story of booze smugglers vs the King's tax collectors the smugglers are the good guys and the King's tax collectors are the bad guys . . . Not something that American's were allowed see . . . . Lawbreakers were never permitted to 'win' in Hollywood movies during the years of censorship. Fortunately for us Yanks those days of censorship are over and we can finally enjoy a great story that Brits have enjoyed for almost a century. The way the plot unfolds reminds me of the U.S. sit-com tv show "Hogan's Heroes" about WWII prisoners who outwitted their German captors every week. The King's tax collectors are no match for the odd collection of villagers and their smuggled wine . . . Until the monstrously hideous Mulatto, who is now part of the King's tax collectors, gets loose and goes in search of revenge on Captain Clegg the pirate. The end may be in sight for the village of smugglers, and the deep, dark secret of Captain Clegg, the legendary pirate smuggler from 20 years earlier may be uncovered at last. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Athole Stewart, John Loder and George Merritt
Athole Stewart, John Loder and George Merritt
Frederick Burtwell and Muriel George
Frederick Burtwell and Muriel George
George Arliss and Margaret Lockwood
George Arliss and Margaret Lockwood
George Arliss and Athole Stewart
George Arliss and Athole Stewart
George Arliss and Graham Moffatt
George Arliss and Graham Moffatt
George Arliss and John Loder
George Arliss and John Loder
George Arliss
George Arliss
George Merritt and George Arliss
George Merritt and George Arliss
Graham Moffatt, Roy Emerton and Athole Stewart
Graham Moffatt, Roy Emerton and Athole Stewart
Graham Moffatt
Graham Moffatt
John Loder and Margaret Lockwood
John Loder and Margaret Lockwood
Margaret Lockwood and Frederick Burtwell
Margaret Lockwood and Frederick Burtwell
Margaret Lockwood and George Arliss
Margaret Lockwood and George Arliss
Margaret Lockwood and John Loder
Margaret Lockwood and John Loder
Margaret Lockwood and John Loder
Margaret Lockwood and John Loder
Margaret Lockwood
Margaret Lockwood
Meinhart Maur
Meinhart Maur
Roy Emerton
Roy Emerton
Roy Emerton and George Arliss
Roy Emerton and George Arliss
Roy Emerton and George Merritt
Roy Emerton and George Merritt
Roy Emerton and Wally Patch
Roy Emerton and Wally Patch
Roy Emerton
Roy Emerton
Wilson Coleman as Dr. Pepper
Wilson Coleman as Dr. Pepper
movie credit screen for Wally Patch
movie credit screen for Wally Patch
movie credit screen for Athole Stewart
movie credit screen for Athole Stewart