His Royal Highness (1932 film)

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His Royal Highness
Directed by F. W. Thring
Produced by F. W. Thring
Written by C. J. Dennis
George Wallace
Based on stage musical by George Wallace
Starring George Wallace
Music by Alaric Howitt
George Wallace
Cinematography Arthur Higgins
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
1 October 1932
Running time
84 minutes (Australia)
Country Australia
Language English
Budget ₤19,000[1] or £11,000[2]
Box office ₤20,000[2]

His Royal Highness is a 1932 Australian musical film directed by F. W. Thring, also known as His Loyal Highness (Australia alternative title and title in the United Kingdom), starring George Wallace in his feature film debut. It was the first Australian film musical.[3]


Tommy Dodds (George Wallace) is a stage hand who has a crush on Molly. He is knocked unconscious and dreams he is the King of Betonia. He scandalises the court by gambling with footmen and teaching his Prime Minister to roller skate, and uncovers a conspiracy by Torano and Yoiben.

The rightful heir to the throne is discovered and Tommy is no longer king. He wake up from his dream and sees that Molly is interested in someone else.


Original Play[edit]

His Royal Highness
Written by George Wallace
Date premiered 1926
Original language English
Genre comedy revue

The film was based on a stage show of two acts and seven scenes which Wallace had written and appeared in the 1920s. It was one of a series of "revusicals" written by Wallace during this period.[5]


Tommy Dodd is discovered working at a New York pie stall by Alfam and Torano from the European kingdom of Betonia. They are looking for the missing heir to the throne and decide Tommy is it. They ship him off to Betonia, which is located on the Adriatic, where he is acclaimed heir. He is placed under the control of Yioben, an elderly female charged with training him in the royal ways. Tommy eventually discovers that he is not the true heir and another member of court is. He leaves Betonia, but with enough money to buy his own pie stall.[6]


Wallace collaborated on the script with C. J. Dennis.[7] Filming began in February 1932. It was shot at Efftee's studio at His Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne. The set of the royal palace in Betonia cost £7,000.[1]

Donalda Warne was an emerging stage star, who soon afterwards went to Britain to seek fame.[8] Composer Alaric Howitt was from Melbourne but had recently spent two years working in America.[9]

Raymond Longford later claimed he worked on the movie.[10]


Despite some unenthusiastic reviews[11] the film was a popular success at the box office, launching George Wallace as a film star.[12]

Thring sold the film to Britain along with Diggers (1931) and The Sentimental Bloke (1932) and some shorts for £100,000.[13] Of these, His Royal Highness proved the most popular in Britain, where it was widely screened, in reportedly over 1000 cinemas.[14][15] It also received good reviews from the English trade papers, which had previously been critical of On Our Selection.[16] It also enjoyed more popularity at the box office.[17]

After World War II Pat Hanna bought the rights to distribute this and some other Efftee films and enjoyed some success.[18]


  1. ^ a b Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 159.
  2. ^ a b "Counting the Cash in Australian Films"', Everyones 12 December 1934 p 19-20
  3. ^ Fitzpatrick p 182
  4. ^ "GRAND OPERA ON THE FILMS.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 7 October 1932. p. 2. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "George Wallace Revue Company" at Australian Variety Theatre Archive. Accessed 6 December 2012
  6. ^ "MAJESTIC THEATRE.". The Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 6 September 1926. p. 8. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "George Wallace: The face of comedy.". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 12 February 1958. p. 4. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "SEEKS FORTUNE IN BRITISH TALKIES.". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 19 August 1932. p. 21. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "MUSICAL TALKIE.". The Daily News (HOME (FINAL) EDITION ed.). Perth: National Library of Australia. 5 August 1932. p. 8. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Raymond Longford", Cinema Papers, January 1974 p51
  11. ^ "NEW FILMS.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 21 November 1932. p. 4. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  12. ^ Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency, 1989 p115
  13. ^ "AUSTRALIAN FILMS.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 23 December 1932. p. 15. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "No. 1. Our Chances for World Markets.". Table Talk. Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia. 17 August 1933. p. 7. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "AUSTRALIAN FILMS.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 25 October 1933. p. 15. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  16. ^ ""HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS.".". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 26 January 1933. p. 3. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  17. ^ "AUSTRALIAN FILMS.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 5 May 1933. p. 3. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  18. ^ "Round Melbourne Shows...". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 5 June 1946. p. 8 Supplement: The Argus Woman's Magazine. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter, ''The Two Frank Thrings, Monash University, 2012

External links[edit]