This warm and witty comedy tells the story of lovable rogue Denry Machin (Alec Guinness) – the poor son of a washerwoman who sees opportunity around every corner – as he progresses from a student at Hambridge College to a humble solicitor’s clerk to wealth and a position of real power, giving providence “a helping hand” along the way.
Set in Edwardian England, Machin sets up a ‘Thrift Club’ (a sort of credit union) to entice the residents of the (fictitious) industrial town of Bursley into giving him money so he can purchase goods at a huge discount, rescues the local football club from extinction by purchasing a star centre-forward, and ends up as the youngest mayor of the “Five Towns” (somewhere in the potteries area of Staffordshire).
There are four women in Denry’s life – his dour and obstinate washerwoman mother (Veronica Turleigh), who has no truck with her son’s dreams of success or the wealth it brings him; vivacious dance teacher and scheming gold-digger Ruth Earp (Glynis Johns); his patron and sponsor, the Countess of Chell (Valerie Hobson), a local aristocrat, and his wistful sweetheart Nellie (a young Petula Clark before embarking on her successful singing career).
Released in the US as The Promoter. Location shooting took place in Burslem and Middleport, Stoke on Trent, and Llandudno in Wales.
Edward Henry ‘Denry’ Machin
Countess of Chell
Mr H. Calvert
Denry as a Boy
Lord at Liverpool Boat Harbour