The Common Touch

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The Common Touch
"The Common Touch" (1941).jpg
Original British trade ad
Directed by John Baxter
Written by Barbara K. Emary
Geoffrey Orme
Based ona story by Herbert Ayres (as C.G.H. Ayres)
Produced byJohn Baxter
Starring Geoffrey Hibbert
Harry Welchman
Greta Gynt
Joyce Howard
Cinematography James Wilson
Edited by Jack Harris
Music by Kennedy Russell
Distributed byAnglo-American Film Corporation (UK)
Release date
  • 15 December 1941 (1941-12-15)(UK)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Common Touch is a 1941 British drama film directed by John Baxter and starring Geoffrey Hibbert, Harry Welchman, Greta Gynt, and Joyce Howard. [1] The film is a remake by the director of his 1933 film Doss House . [2]


Pianist Mark Hambourg appears in a small role.


At the age of 18 Peter Henderson is orphaned and has to leave school in the middle of the term (after winning a cricket match) to take over the father's firm, "Henderson's", one of the most important in the City of London. The directors are shocked by his youth. Cartwright, one of the company directors, tries to retain control of the decision-making, but Peter follows his father's explicit instructions to learn about the business.

One day, Peter asks an employee about what occupies a certain city block his firm wants to demolish. (Cartwright and his cronies are secretly trying to enrich themselves.) The man tells him about Charlie's, a dosshouse. Peter and a former schoolmate disguise themselves as down-and-outs to look the place over. While they are there, Charlie notifies everyone that the establishment will be closing soon, as it and the neighbouring tenements will be demolished by the firm which owns the block.

Inky, one of the residents, consults lawyer "Lincoln's Inn". He has kept away from his beautiful daughter, cabaret performer Sylvia Meadows, because of his forgery and blackmailing past. He thinks he is the reason Sylvia has not married noted cricketer Stuart Gordon; Lincoln agrees to see what he can do. Peter eavesdrops when Charlie consults with Lincoln, and learns that Cartwright is involved in the eviction and is coming to Charlie's tomorrow.

Inky sends a letter to his daughter via Peter, which he delivers at a cricket match, but she does not believe her father can keep his word, as he has been previously unable to do so. When Inky is told, that she remains scared that any husband will discover Inky's criminal past, he commits suicide. He leaves behind a letter for Lincoln's Inn which reveals that he forged the signature of John Henderson on a document on behalf of Cartwright, which he believes has something to do with the closing of Charlie's. However, Lincoln states they need to get their hands on some of Cartwright's papers as corroboration.

Peter takes Tich, a former safe-breaker, to Cartwright's apartment and break into his safe while Mary keeps him occupied with flattery. With the relevant document obtained, Peter informs Charlie's residents that his company will rebuild a new and better Charlie's.


Listed in opening, but not closing credits:

There is also an appearance by Carroll Gibbons the bandleader.

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  1. "The Common Touch". BFI. Archived from the original on 13 January 2009.
  2. "The Common Touch". TV Guide.