My Learned Friend (1943)

35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono (RCA Sound System), English

A British comedy film with borderline horror elements directed by Basil Dearden and Will Hay.

Plot Summary

William Fitch is a down on his luck lawyer, barred from practice for incompetence and now standing trial for faking begging letters to charities. Escaping prison this time, he finds himself targeted by Grimshaw, a deranged killer who he had successfully prosecuted some years before and who is now out for revenge. When Hay learns that the trial judge has been found dead in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, he begins to fear for his own safety. The killer confronts him in a pub and taunts him with a list of names (Hay is number seven) who he plans to murder. Enlisting the help of the now disgraced prosecuting counsel who failed to convict Hay, our man sets out to stop Grimshaw before it's too late.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Basil Dearden and Will Hay
Copyright MCMXLIII [1953] by Ealing Studios Ltd.
Ealing Studios Limited present. Distributed by Ealing Distribution Ltd., Oxford St, London, W.1
Produced by: Michael Balcon; Robert Hamer *
Associate Producers: S.C. Balcon; Robert Hamer *
Production Supervisor: John Croydon
Original Screen Play by: Angus MacPhail, John Dighton
Assistant Director: Michael McCarthy *
2nd Assistant Director: Muriel Cole *
3rd Assistant Directors: Norman Priggen *, Cyril Pope *
Continuity: Daphne Heathcote *
Cameraman: W. Cooper [real name: Wilkie Cooper]
Camera Operator: Stan Pavey *
Stills: Jack Dooley *, Bob Penn *
Supervising Editor: Sidney Cole
Editor: Charles Hasse
Assistant Editor: Barbara Bennett *
Music: Ernest Irving
Sound Supervisor: Eric Williams
Recordist: Len Page
Boom Operator: Bert Minnell *
Wardrobe: Marianne
Special Effects: Roy Kellino
Back Projection: Sid Howell *, Wally Dolbear *
Art Director: Michael Relph
Assistant Art Director: Jim Morahan *
Draughtsman: Heather Armitage *
Dance Arranged by: Philip Buchel
Made and recorded at Ealing Studios Limited, London, W.5
Unit Manager: Jack Rix

Will Hay (William Fitch)
Claude Hulbert (Claude Babbington)
Mervyn Johns (Grimshaw)
Ernest Thesiger (Ferris)
Charles Victor (“Safety” Wilson)
Derna Hazel (Gloria)
Eddie Phillips (“Basher” Blake)
Maudie Edwards (Aladdin)
G.H. Mulcaster (Dr Scudamore)
Laurence Hanray (Sir Norman)
Aubrey Mallalieu (magistrate)
Leslie Harcourt (barman)
Lloyd Pearson (Col. Chudleigh)
Gibb McLaughlin (butler)



  • The Cinema of Basil Dearden and Michael Relph by Alan Burton and Tim O'Sullivan pp.14, 17, 19, 28, 32, 43, 60, 85, 329
  • Directed by Basil Dearden by James Howard pp.39-41
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.32
  • Liberal Directions: Basil Dearden and Postwar British Film Culture by Alan Burton, Tim O'Sullivan and Paul Wells (eds.) pp. pp.16, 37, 252, 257n1