Don't Take It to Heart

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Don't Take It to Heart
"Don't Take it to Heart" (1944).jpeg
Directed by Jeffrey Dell
Produced by Sydney Box
Written by Jeffrey Dell
Starring Richard Greene
Alfred Drayton
Patricia Medina
Moore Marriott
Music by Mischa Spoliansky
Cinematography Eric Cross
Edited by Frederick Wilson
Distributed by General Film Distributors
Release date
30 November 1944
Running time
90 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Don't Take It to Heart is a 1944 British comedy film directed by Jeffrey Dell and starring Richard Greene, Alfred Drayton, Moore Marriott and Patricia Medina.[1]


When the castle of the earls of Chaunduyt (pronounced "Condit") is damaged by German bombing during the Second World War, an ancient ghost is awakened. He is sighted by the butler Alfred Bucket and another servant when they come to inspect the damage, and he becomes front page news. Lawyer Peter Hayward joins a tour of the somewhat decrepit castle (conducted by the poverty-stricken, but unconcerned Lord Chaunduyt), and admires portraits of a young woman, who turns out to be Lady Mary, the present lord's daughter.

When Peter comes to look at manuscripts that were also uncovered by the bombing, he is pleasantly surprised to find that his lordship has forgotten the appointment, but Lady Mary has returned home and can be persuaded to assist him. (She has socialist tendencies and is engaged to commoner George Bucket, much to her snobbish aunt's displeasure.) They spend much time together; after a week, Peter asks Mary if she was only trying to help sell the manuscripts. She admits it is important to her father, then tells him she has to go away the next day when he makes it clear he is attracted to her. When Peter asks when she found out, she tells him it was half a minute ago.

In the local pub, the ghost tries to engage a somewhat inebriated Peter to take on a case after Pike ploughs up a cricket pitch; over 400 years, his conscience has grown to bother him that he fenced in land that did not belong to him.

When Mary returns, she finds Peter still there. She then tells him that her fiance, whom she has seen only once briefly since they were children, is coming home from the war. Discouraged, Peter decides to leave. At the train station, he learns that Pike has confiscated the land Harry used to operate a brickyard, probably out of spite for losing the case over the cricket grounds, and now people are saying that he is responsible. At a party, Mary inadvertently learns that George is engaged to someone else, which makes her distraught. However, she pulls herself together when Peter appears; she continues to discourage his romantic interest in her.

Meanwhile, Peter concocts a plan. He has some of the local residents move sheep onto the confiscated land. When Pike takes the matter to court, presided over by Lord Chaunduyt, Peter pleads not guilty for himself and all of the other defendants. Pike is represented by Sir Henry Wade and Patterson. Peter proceeds to contend that the recently discovered manuscripts prove the Lord Chaunduyt who enclosed the land originally was not in fact Lord Chaunduyt at all. Peter calls Dr. Rose of the British Museum as his first witness. He confirms the authenticity of the manuscripts and reads a paragraph which contains a deathbed confession that a man switched his child with the infant Lord Chaunduyt. Peter then asserts that the rightful earl is poacher Harry Bucket! Sir Henry demands that Peter produce a witness to the signature. The ghost unexpected appears, takes the witness stand and confirms that the signature is that of his father. The case is dismissed.

Harry is made Lord Chaunduyt by act of Parliament. Peter confesses to Mary that his aged father is a baronet and overcomes her outrage with a kiss. Meanwhile, the former earl enjoys himself by poaching.


Critical reception[edit]

Allmovie described it as "an amiable entry in the 1940s cycle of "ghost comedies"...Don't Take It to Heart received almost uniformly good reviews from the British press, which during wartime was often resistant to comedy films" ;[2] and TV Guide wrote, "the talented leads are supported by a fine cast of character actors." [3]


External links[edit]