A Fire Has Been Arranged (1935)

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Alastair Sim in A Fire Has Been Arranged
 

Released in 1935: When jewelry store burglars get out of prison and discover that a department store has been built over the spot where they hid their loot, a fire must be arranged.

Directed by Leslie S. Hiscott

The Actors: Chesney Allen (Ches), The Buddy Bradley Rhythm Girls (shop girls), Bud Flanagan (Bud), Harold French (Toby Ragland), Mary Lawson (Betty), Alastair Sim (Cutte), Hal Walters (Hal), C. Denier Warren (Shuffle), Robb Wilton (Oswald), Vincent Holman (ex-detective), Vera Lynn (unknown), Jack Vyvian (prison warder).

 

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Fun with Fire

Papa was a preacher in small Western Pennsylvania towns, and I was born while he was pastoring in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the home of the infamous weather predicting groundhog. When I was nine we moved to Meadville, Pennsylvania, and that is when I was first introduced to the term 'arson.' The church in Punxsutawney had caught fire and burned, and after it was re-built dad, as the previous pastor, was invited to return and participate in the dedication service of the new church. One of the big wigs of the church headquarters was there and was making a joke at the beginning of his remarks. He said that he and the current pastor were speaking with the insurance agent before the new church was dedicated, and the agent asked if they wanted to include hurricane damage protection in the new insurance policy for the church. Supposedly the current pastor said that they wouldn't need to have hurricane insurance as they didn't know how to start a hurricane. In this 1935 British slapstick comedy about arson we are treated to some amazing comedic word play and situation comedy. The movie starts with a trio of jewelry store bandits who bury their loot in a big hole in the country outside town before being caught and sent off to prison for ten years. In those ten years the town grows, and a large department store is built where the loot is buried. But alas, it is 1935 and the world is in a Great Depression, and because a lot of folk don't have the money to buy the department store goods, the store is going broke very quickly and the financial backers are upset and want out. Our ex-con jewelry store robbers, played by the famous comedy team of Chesney Allen and Bud Flanagan, along with Hal Walters, are hired by the store owners to burn the place down so that the insurance money can pay off the investors and incinerate the cooked-books. Alastair Sim is outstanding as Cutte, one of the store managers who hires the boys to burn down the building. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter and grab your favorite beverage so you can enjoy the show.

Alastair Sim and C. Denier Warren in A Fire Has Been Arranged
Mary Brian, Isabel Jewell and Patsy Kelly
Alastair Sim and Chesney Allen
Alastair Sim and Chesney Allen
Alastair Sim, Harold French and C. Denier Warren
Alastair Sim, Harold French and C. Denier Warren
Alastair Sim as department store owner Cutte
Alastair Sim as department store owner Cutte
Alastair Sim faces the investors and tries to convince them to put more money into his department store
Alastair Sim faces the investors and tries to convince them to put more money into his department store
Alastair Sim - 1935
Alastair Sim - 1935
Bud Flanagan, Chesney Allen and Hal Walters getting out of prison
Bud Flanagan, Chesney Allen and Hal Walters getting out of prison
Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen in A Fire Has Been Arranged
Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen in A Fire Has Been Arranged
C. Denier Warren and Alastair Sim
C. Denier Warren and Alastair Sim
C. Denier Warren and Alastair Sim discuss the 'cooked' books
C. Denier Warren and Alastair Sim discuss the 'cooked' books
C. Denier Warren as Shuffle, one of the department store owners
C. Denier Warren as Shuffle, one of the department store owners
C. Denier Warren gets called to the office and is reluctant to go
C. Denier Warren gets called to the office and is reluctant to go
Chesney Allen and Jack Vyvian
Chesney Allen and Jack Vyvian
Chesney Allen cracks wise with Jack Vyvian
Chesney Allen cracks wise with Jack Vyvian
Hal Walters, Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen
Hal Walters, Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen
Hal Walters and Bud Flanagan
Hal Walters and Bud Flanagan
Harold French and Mary Lawson singing a happy song
Harold French and Mary Lawson singing a happy song
Harold French singing
Harold French singing
Harld French sings with the Buddy Bradley Rhythm Girls in the background
Harld French sings with the Buddy Bradley Rhythm Girls in the background
Harold French in A Fire Has Been Arranged
Harold French in A Fire Has Been Arranged
Mary Lawson and Harold French spot the boys digging in the basement
Mary Lawson and Harold French spot the boys digging in the basement
Mary Lawson tells Harold French about the robbery in her father's jewelry store ten years earlier
Mary Lawson tells Harold French about the robbery in her father's jewelry store ten years earlier
ROb WIlton and Harold French
ROb WIlton and Harold French
Robb Wilton opening the department store for the day
Robb Wilton opening the department store for the day
The Buddy Bradley Rhythm Girls in A Fire Has Been Arranged
The Buddy Bradley Rhythm Girls in A Fire Has Been Arranged