Let George Do It!

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Let George Do It!
"Let George Do It!" (1940).jpg
US cinema poster
Directed by Marcel Varnel
Written byBasil Dearden
John Dighton
Angus MacPhail
Austin Melford
Produced by Michael Balcon
Starring George Formby
Phyllis Calvert
Garry Marsh
Cinematography Ronald Neame
Edited by Ray Pitt
Music by Ernest Irving
Eddie Latta
Distributed by ABFD (UK)
Release date
  • 12 July 1940 (1940-07-12)(UK)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Let George Do It! (US: To Hell With Hitler) is a 1940 British black-and-white comedy musical war film directed by Marcel Varnel and starring George Formby. [2] It was produced by Michael Balcon for Associated Talking Pictures and its successor, Ealing Studios, and distributed in the UK by ABFD. This was the first comedy from this studio to deal directly with the Second World War. [3]



At the beginning of the Second World War, before Germany invaded Norway, a ukulele player in a British dance band playing at a Bergen hotel, is found shot dead during a radio broadcast of the band's show. It turns out he was a British agent keeping an eye on the band leader, Mark Mendes (Garry Marsh), who is suspected of being a German agent passing on information about British shipping to German U-boats, using a code concealed in the radio broadcasts.

When Mendes calls a musician's agent in London for a replacement, British Intelligence tries to send another agent in his place. However, through a series of mistakes in a blacked out Dover, ukulele player George Hepplewhite (George Formby), who is on his way to Blackpool, is put on the boat to Bergen instead of the new agent. When he arrives, the receptionist at the hotel, Mary Wilson (Phyllis Calvert), who is another British agent, makes contact but eventually realises the mistake. George, however, is totally unaware and starts working with the band, although Mendes is suspicious of him. Eventually Mary tells George what is going on, and together they manage to find what the code is and alert the Royal Navy.

When Mendes discovers that his code has been broken, he gives George a cup of coffee containing a truth serum, and George reveals that he and Mary are British spies. George, drugged, is left in his room, where he dreams of flying to Germany and giving Hitler a right hook. Eventually, he flees to join Mary on board a ship, but it has already left. So he hides in a motorboat which takes Mendes to a German U-boat, with the intent to torpedo British troop ships as well as the ship that Mary is on. George manages to get on board and alert Mary's ship over the U-boat's radio. After a series of chaotic incidents on board, where George accidentally launches the U-boat's torpedoes and thus tells the British Navy where to find it, he hides in one of the empty torpedo tubes. So when Mendes tries to torpedo Mary's ship, he shoots out George instead, who flies through the air and lands on the ship deck, thus reuniting with Mary.



The film premiered at the Empire, Leicester Square in London on 12 July 1940, [1] taking over after Gone with the Wind , [4] which had run at the venue for 12 weeks. [5]

According to Vic Pratt writing for the BFI's Screenonline website, it is "one of the best constructed and most consistently amusing of the George Formby comedies." [6]

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  1. 1 2 The Times, 12 July 1940, page 6, Picture Theatres: Empire: Let George Do It Linked 2015-11-18
  2. "Let George Do It! (1940)". BFI.
  3. "Let George Do It Trailer, Reviews and Schedule for Let George Do It". TV Guide. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  4. The Times, 11 July 1940, page 6, Picture Theatres: Empire: Last Day "Gone with the Wind". Tomorrow Geo. Formby in "Let George Do it" Linked 2015-11-18
  5. Cinema Treasures: Empire Cinema Linked 2015-11-18
  6. "Let George Do It! (1940)". BFI Screenonline. 2003–14. Retrieved 18 November 2015.