Alastair Sim as the Laird
|Directed by||Frank Launder|
|Produced by||Sidney Gilliat
|Written by||Sidney Gilliat
David Walker (novel)
|Music by||William Alwyn|
|Edited by||Thelma Connell|
|Running time||93 minutes|
|Box office||£218,384 (UK)|
Geordie (released in the U.S. as Wee Geordie) is a 1955 British film based on David Walker's novel of the same title, with Bill Travers in the title role as a Scotsman who becomes an athlete at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. The cast includes Alastair Sim and Norah Gorsen.
The film starts with Geordie as a small boy concerned about his small stature, taking delivery of his new body building book by Henry Samson, he embarks on a fitness programme. Geordie grows up a fine figure of a man, he is helping his father take a dead stag (hit by a car) back to the family home when his father complains of chest pain and subsequently dies, making Geordie the new gamekeeper. He gets a letter from Mr Samson who encourages him to take up hammer throwing. On his first attempt at hammer throwing he almost hits the Laird who then shows interest in helping him. The Laird then almost hits the local minister on his bike who turns out to be a good thrower himself and encourages Geordie further. Geordie reluctantly enters the Highland games and makes two bad throws before getting advice from the minister and a welcome boost by the return of his girl who he thought disapproved of competition. He wins with his final throw. The Olympics selection committee visit him, see him throw in anger and invite him to join the British team for the Melbourne Olympic Games in Australia. Henry Samson meets Geordie at the docks as he boards the ship, they show off for the gathered press. Unhappy to be away from home Geordie finds it difficult to be enthusiastic about training on board ship. The Danish female shot putter Helga takes a shine to Geordie and talks him out of his mood and tells him she loves him before they disembark. Geordie then starts sightseeing before the games with Helga who makes it obvious how she feels about him while he shops for a hat for Jean his Scottish girl. Whilst the selector is trying to discourage Helga there is a car crash and Geordie lifts the car off an injured man in front of the Australian press. Geordie then puts on his late father's kilt in front of the selectors who disapprove until he tells them "no kilt, no throw!" He comes out last in the opening ceremony in his kilt causing a big fuss as the Olympic Committee get a telegram saying the kilt is not to be worn. Again Geordie fails with his first two throws, Helga speaks to him, but he still feels out of place and misses home, then he finds inspiration by recalling Jean's encouragement and throws a world record. The radio commentary describes how Helga kisses Geordie in congratulations and how they were seen together round Melbourne. Jean is heartbroken. On his return there is no one to meet him other than his mother and the Laird who tell him his actions have caused a scandal in the glen. He finds Jean fishing and they argue and fall in the river, on showing the hat he has brought for her they kiss and make up.
- Alastair Sim - The Laird
- Bill Travers - Geordie
- Norah Gorsen - Jean
- Molly Urquhart - Geordie's mother
- Francis de Wolff - Samson
- Jack Radcliffe - The Minister
- Brian Reece - Olympic Selector
- Raymond Huntley - Olympic Selector
- Miles Malleson - Lord Paunceton
- Jameson Clark - Geordie's father
- Doris Goddard - Helga
- Stanley Baxter - Postman
- Duncan Macrae - Schoolmaster
- Paul Young - Young Geordie
- Anna Ferguson - Young Jean
- Margaret Boyd - Laird's maid
- Michael Ripper - Australian journalist
The film has been criticised for its condescending treatment of the Scots, and for the performance of Gorsen as Geordie's girlfriend, described as "one of the worst attempts at a Scottish accent ever to appear on screen, although there are a number of serious contenders for that title".
In real life the hammer throw at the Melbourne Olympics was won by Hal Connolly of the US.
- Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p506