Trouble in Store
|Trouble in Store|
Original British Quad poster
|Directed by||John Paddy Carstairs|
|Produced by||Maurice Cowan|
|Written by||John Paddy Carstairs
Jill Craigie (uncredited)
|Music by||Mischa Spoliansky|
|Edited by||Geoffrey Foot
|Distributed by||General Film Distributors (UK)
Republic Pictures (USA)
Trouble in Store is a 1953 British comedy film starring Norman Wisdom as a department store clerk in his cinema debut. For his performance, Wisdom won a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Although it was shown at a West End venue, the film broke box office records at 51 out of the 67 London cinemas in which it played. The Daily Mirror reviewer wrote of the film: "If you don't laugh at Norman's antics as the downtrodden worker in a big store, trying to get promotion as a window dresser, there is something wrong with your sense of fun". 
Norman (Norman Wisdom), a lowly stock clerk at Burridge's department store, is in love with another employee, Sally Wilson (Lana Morris), though he has been unable to muster the courage to let her know how he feels. After he antagonizes the new head of the store, Augustus Freeman (Jerry Desmonde), he is promptly fired. On his way out, Norman helps Miss Bacon (Margaret Rutherford) carry her bulging suitcases, unaware that she is an audacious shoplifter. Freeman sees Norman assisting a "customer" and rehires him.
Meanwhile, Peggy Drew (Moira Lister), the store's personnel manager, flirts with Mr. Freeman, while plotting with her boyfriend Gerald (Derek Bond) to rob the place. Norman is fired and rehired again and again, as his escapades somehow manage to benefit the store. He also finally becomes acquainted with Sally, chasing her down through the city streets to return her purse. His antics make her laugh.
After his latest firing, Norman is alarmed to find the handsome, suave Gerald trying to get to know Sally better. When he goes to the man's apartment to warn him to stay away from her, Norman inadvertently uncovers the robbery plot, scheduled to coincide with a big sale the next day. But, he is unable to get Sally or anyone else to take him seriously.
Sally eventually decides to bring Norman's story to the attention of the management, but tells the wrong person, Miss Drew, and is tied up for her efforts. Norman finds her and together, they foil the thieves. Freeman takes Norman back into his employ...but not for long.
- Norman Wisdom as Norman
- Lana Morris as Sally Wilson
- Moira Lister as Peggy Drew
- Jerry Desmonde as Augustus Freeman
- Derek Bond as Gerald
- Margaret Rutherford as Miss Bacon
- Megs Jenkins as Miss Gibson, Norman's loyal friend in the stockroom
- Michael Brennan as Davis
- Michael Ward as Wilbur
- Joan Sims as Edna
Production and reception
The film was the second most popular at the British box office in 1954.
- Geoffrey Macnab, J. Arthur Rank and the British Film Industry, London, Routledge, 1993, p. 222
- Pratt, Vic (2003–14). "Trouble In Store (1953)". Screenonline. BFI. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
- Family Britain 1951–1957 by David Kynaston Bloomsbury 2009 p. 353 ISBN 978-1-4088-0083-6
- Tom Vallance Obituary:Jill Craigie, The Independent, 15 December 1999
- "JOHN WAYNE HEADS BOX-OFFICE POLL.". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860–1954). Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 31 December 1954. p. 6. Retrieved 24 April 2012.