Geordie (film)

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Geordie US film poster.jpg
US film poster for Geordie
Directed by Frank Launder
Produced by Sidney Gilliat
Frank Launder
Screenplay by Sidney Gilliat
Frank Launder
Based on Wee Geordie by David Walker
Starring Bill Travers as Geordie
Paul Young as Young Geordie
Alastair Sim as The Laird
Norah Gorsen as Jean
Music by William Alwyn
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Edited by Thelma Connell
Argonaut Film
Distributed by British Lion Films (UK)
Release dates
  • 2 September 1955 (1955-09-02) (UK)
7 October 1956 (US)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office £218,384 (UK)[1]

Geordie (released in the United States. as Wee Geordie) is a 1955 British film directed and co-produced by Frank Launder, with Bill Travers in the title role as a Scotsman who becomes an athlete and competes at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne.

The film is based on David Walker's 1950 novel of the same title, adapted for the screen by Launder and his co-producer Sidney Gilliat.

The plot[edit]

The film starts with Geordie as a small boy concerned about his wee stature, although his best friend Jean doesn't seem to mind. Geordie sees a newspaper advertisement for a bodybuilding correspondence course by a bodybuilder in London who calls himself Henry Samson. So, using some of his piggy bank money, he sends for the course and embarks diligently on Samson's fitness programme. The story then jumps forward approximately 10 years and we meet Geordie as a 21-year-old. The training has turned him into a huge man, whose frequent correspondence with Henry Samson has become very personal, although they've never met, and Samson continues to charge him a lot for his advice. Geordie's contact with Jean has, however, suffered from all his training.

Geordie works as assistant to his father, who is the local laird's gamekeeper. While they are out working in the fields, a gunshot is heard and on investigation they discover poachers (who get away) have shot one of the laird's stags, while they are dragging the dead stag back to the family home, his father suddenly complains of chest pain, so Geordie carries him home. His father then later dies, and the laird makes Geordie the new gamekeeper.

One day he gets a letter from Samson, who encourages him to take up hammer throwing. On his first attempt he almost hits the laird, who then shows interest in helping him. A few minutes later, the laird's hammer throw almost hits the local minister who is passing on his bike. It turns out that the minister is good thrower himself and encourages Geordie further. Geordie reluctantly enters the Highland games and makes two bad throws. But after advice from the minister and a welcome boost by the return of his girl Jean, 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. So Geordie takes the train to London, where he finally gets to meet Henry Samson, who has come to the docks where he boards the ship for Australia.

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.

Main cast[edit]

Alastair Sim as the laird


The film premiered at the Plaza in London on 2 September 1955,.[2] The Times' poetic reviewer found the film to have, "gracious and decorous atmosphere; the steep hills have stamped themselves on everyone's imagination, so that the story-telling is not flat, the dialogue never airless. The earth is beneath us, the sky above, and to receive messages from both and to interpret them is the splendidly authentic figure of Mr. Alastair Sim's Laird."[3]

In real life the hammer throw at the Melbourne Olympics was won by Hal Connolly of the US.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p506
  2. ^ The Times, 2 September 1955, page 2: Picture Theatres - Plaza, "Geordie", Gala Performance 8 for 8.30 p.m. To-Night. - Found in The Times Digital Archive 2014-08-10
  3. ^ The Times, 5 September 1955, page 3: Film reviews - "Geordie" - Found in The Times Digital Archive 2014-08-10

External links[edit]