A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY [1949 / 2021] [Blu-ray] [UK Release]
Another Happily Daft Comedy That is full of Leeks, Larks and Laughs!
Sir Alec Guinness, Donald Houston, Moira Lister and Hugh Griffith star in this classic piece of BAFTA-nominated Welsh whimsy from Ealing Studios. Made during their golden post-war period. ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY’ was directed by Charles Frend and is featured here with a High Definition remaster from original film elements in its original theatrical 1.37:1 aspect ratio.
David “Dai Number 9” Jones [Donald Houston] and his brother Thomas “Twm” Jones [Meredith Edwards], win a newspaper contest: £100 each and a trip to London to see Wales play England at Twickenham Stadium. But when the two colliers arrive at Paddington Station they miss their contact and fall in with an attractive blonde who just happens to overhear that they're in the money...
FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1950 BAFTA Awards: Nominated: BAFTA Film Award for Best British Film.
FILM FACT No.2: All the music in this film is based on traditional Welsh songs. Much of it was filmed on location in London. There are a number of joking references to the deprivations and regulations of post-war England. According to The Independent newspaper, most Welsh filmgoers didn't like it, believing it played to stereotypes. However, it was generally very popular with British audiences.
Cast: Donald Houston, Meredith Edwards, Sir Alec Guinness, Hugh Griffith, Clive Morton, Julie Milton, Peter Edwards, Joyce Grenfell, Leslie Perrins, Dorothy Bramhall, Andrew Leigh, Edward Rigby, Desmond Walter-Ellis, Mackenzie Ward, Meadows White, Gabrielle Brune, Ronnie Harries, Diana Hope, Dudley Jones, David Davies, Tom Jones, Richard Littledale, Charles Cullum (uncredited), Richard Davies (uncredited), Patric Doonan (uncredited), Anthony Oliver (uncredited), Marianne Stone (uncredited), John Tatham (uncredited) and Henry Webb uncredited)
Director: Charles Frend
Producers: Leslie Norman and Michael Balcon
Screenplay: Clifford Evans (based on the original screen story), Charles Frend (screenplay), Leslie Norman (screenplay), Richard Hughes (screenplay) and Diana Morgan (additional dialogue)
Composer: Ernest Irving (music is based on old Welsh tunes)
Costume Design: Anthony Mendleson
Cinematography: Douglas Slocombe, O.B.E., B.S.C., A.S.C., G.B.C.T. (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p (Black-and-White)
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Audio: English: 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio
Running Time: 83 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: J. Arthur Rank / Ealing Studios / Network
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: LEEKS, LARKS and LAUGHS! ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY’  is a lesser-known, lightweight Ealing Comedy which follows the exploits of two Welsh mining brothers David “Dai Number 9” Jones [Donald Houston] and Thomas “Twm” Jones [Meredith Edwards] in an hilarious adventure and misadventure of two Welsh miners who win a newspaper lottery prize competition and go to London to collect tickets for the big England v Wales rugby international at the Twickenham stadium and a £100 prize money each. Sent out by the paper to chaperone them on their big day and write up their story is their reluctant, horticultural columnist Sir Alec Guinness as Whimple but almost immediately they arrive in the big city, the siblings are separated and fall into a separate series of misadventures before they have to make a madcap race for the return train home with a motley entourage in their wake, who’ve all played a part in their story. But with their adventure, they lose their way, their innocence and their cash – what you will gain is comedy that’ll make a run to the box office!
Welcome to ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY’ where the humour is all about national stereotypes and in particular Welsh stereotypes. We have two proud Welsh brothers who of course are miners who come from a town with an unpronounceable long name. And being proud Welsh men they like to sing and have the gift of the gab with a certain lyrical nature to the way they talk. But wait there is more as one of the brother's is a bit wet behind the ears and naive when it comes to the innocence of a con artist woman. It isn't just the Welsh where the comedy comes from in ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY’ and we have Sir Alec Guinness as Whimple who is the snooty gardening correspondent, who is not at all interested in doing a story on the two proud Welsh brothers and the ruby match where Wales play England at the Twickenham Stadium.
Donald Houston’s David “Dai Number 9” Jones and his solo adventure is more interesting than his brother as he falls under the influence of a typical professional confidence trickster named Jo played by Moira Lister, who is out to separate Donald Houston both from his money and his girl back in the valleys.
Meanwhile the other brother Thomas “Twm” Jones, in his search for David “Dai Number 9” Jones, happens to bump into Welsh busker Huw [Hugh Griffith] as one does, singing of course in the street by the station. Huw is in fact from the same Welsh village and was a former champion harpist with whom Thomas “Twm” Jones had won the grand prize at a local music festival. Now Huw has pawned his beloved Welsh harp and hit the bottle and from then on total mayhem pursues them both all-around London.
Never fear, Thomas “Twm” Jones, who is doing his best to look after David “Dai Number 9” Jones's borrowed bowler hat, will get it back for him but not before some drunken shenanigans bring them into more trouble – not helped by the fact that Huw is carrying his Welsh harp everywhere with him. Wide-eyed David “Dai Number 9” Jones nearly falls in love with the scheming Jo who not only takes him for a ride but to a pub where a “meeting” with her partner in crime Barney [Leslie Perrins] leads to ever more mayhem and suffice to say neither brother manages to see the actual game. This being a well-meaning Ealing Studio comedy Jo can't possibly be all bad but anyway, David “Dai Number 9” Jones’s already got a girl back in you know where.
The film has some very funny moments like when a tannoy announcement is made for a Mr. Jones from Wales at Paddington Station when the Station Announcer [Desmond Walter-Ellis] cannot pronounce the name of their Welsh town (fictional) Hafoduwchbenceubwllymarchogcoch [Hafod uwchben ceubwll y marchog coch which translates roughly as “Shed over the cess-pit of the red knight”] to a train full of Welshmen arriving for the match, with predictably chaotic results and we also get to meet a young Joyce Grenfell as Mrs. Pargiter who turns out as a fawning dress shop salesperson. Donald Houston and Meredith Edwards hardly seem like brothers. Hugh Griffiths as the hanger-on harp player who at times irritates people h comes into contact with, but on the other hand, Sir Alec Guinness already shows the skills that would make him a mainstay of the Ealing Studio in years to come.
The film ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY’ has a lot of heart and is certainly well intentioned. There are clichés abound all over the place, especially seeing the brothers keep narrowly missing each other, around the main parts of London, which is a classic Ealing Studio style of comedy. We even have Thomas “Twm” Jones and Huw the tenor and his Welsh harp winning an Amateur Talent Competition, where David “Dai Number 9” Jones is in the audience watching them, but at the same time looking for con artist Jo, who is also in the audience. The Welsh are seen in this film – as quite frankly – a pair of naïve country folk let loose in the seething cesspit of the busy post-war metropolis of London and are pretty much out of their depth. This was a time when London was chock full of spivs and con artists.
There are some wonderful location shots, especially around Paddington Station, the Tower of London, Whitechapel, Fleet Street and Holborn, as well as further afield Acton, Ealing and Twickenham. By the way, did I mention there was a subplot involving a rugby match? It also has a great madcap sequence shot on the London Underground, beginning at Holborn Station.
The thing is that whilst the film ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY’ has a good cast the majority of the humour surrounds the stereotypes, and it appeared that the film was not as popular in Wales as it was in England… one wonders why? Yet Clifford Evans wrote the story and Diana Morgan contributed additional dialogue and you couldn't get much more Welsh than them. Charles Frend, who also contributed to the screenplay, directs with aplomb. Cinematographer Douglas Slocombe is in fine form on the technical side. Donald Houston and Meredith Edwards are likeable in the leads and Sir Alec Guinness with his jaunty swagger gives his usual well-rounded characterisation. It is why it is hardly a surprise that on its release this wasn't a big hit with Welsh audiences but went down much better with English audiences.
This is a film that probably has got better with age; and of course it is a film about the tale of innocents in the Big Smoke, and also had a sense of benevolent amusement about the scenario of the film, and anything that happens to the two brothers, they tended to cope with and in particular we are entertained with a relentless good nature and optimism, even though we may have seen them prone to exploitation, but also the better feelings of all who meet them. Even Jo, who is a hard-hearted criminal, finds herself melting when David “Dai Number 9” Jones proves too appealing to take advantage of, but Jo’s cohort is less convinced, and the whole tone of the piece was seeing the best in people, with even the Londoners gave the two Welsh brother, lots of true generosity of spirit and it certainly was just a delightful film, with Welsh choirs much in evidence on the soundtrack to ensure it sounded terrific. This was a much underrated film and it is well worth reviving and especially starring Sir Alec Guinness, Donald Houston, Moira Lister and Hugh Griffith star in this classic piece of BAFTA-nominated Welsh whimsy from Ealing Studios and made during their golden, post-war period. ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY’ was directed by Charles Frend and is presented here as a brand-new High Definition transfer from original film elements in its original theatrical aspect ratio.
BONUS: Before the film starts, we get the original BRITISH BOARD CENSORS Certificate and informs us: This it to Certify the ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY’ has been passed for Public Exhibition to Adult Audiences. The film was given an “A” rating.
A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY MUSIC TRACK LIST
Cwm Rhondda (uncredited) (Written by John Ceiriog Hughes)
Sospan Fach (uncredited) (Traditional) (Arranged by Ernest Irving)
Llwyn Onn (uncredited) (Traditional) (Arranged by Ernest Irving)
ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT (Ar Hyd Y Nos) (uncredited) (Traditional Welsh folk tune) (Lyrics by John Ceiriog Hughes) (Arranged by Ernest Irving) [Sung by Meredith Edwards at the Amateur Night and heard as a theme on the train trip home]
WATCHING THE WHEAT (uncredited) (Traditional) (Arranged by Ernest Irving)
RISING OF THE LARK (uncredited) (Traditional) (Arranged by Ernest Irving)
IT’S A SIN TO TELL A LIE (uncredited) (Written by Billy Mayhew) [Sung by Gabrielle Brune at the Amateur Night]
* * * * *
Blu-ray Image Quality – J. Arthur Rank, Ealing Studios and Network presents us the film ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY’ with a wonderful Black-and-White 1080p image and is of course enhanced with a 1.37:1 aspect ratio. We are informed that the film was transferred in High Definition from a 35mm original film element. With this decent master, it really looks amazing in high-definition, especially when professional cinematographer Douglas Slocombe pulls out all the stops and makes the Black-and-White image presentation a total perfection. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – J. Arthur Rank, Ealing Studios and Network bring us the film ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY’ with one standard 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio experience. At the start of the film it is very rough and scratchy and was worried this was the way it was going to be for the rest of the film, but after about a minute or so, the sound really improved and gave the audio a nicely rounded sound and also gives us a good dynamic range all round, so all in all it is a really good audio presentation and the dramatic film music score by Ernest Irving fills the room with great ease, and all the soft- spoken dialogue is very easy to understand. So a very good effort on the part of J. Arthur Rank, Ealing Studios and Network.
* * * * *
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Two Original Theatrical Trailers [1956 / 1952] [1080p] [1.37:1] [6:05] In the period between the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s of going to a British cinema, you would get what is called a “double feature” and was a motion picture industry phenomenon in which theatres would exhibit two films for the price of one, or sometimes they would show just one feature film and various short subject reels would be shown. So just before the film ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY’ starts, we get to view two Original Theatrical Trailers that would have been shown before the main film presentation, and they inform us:
NEXT SUNDAY FOR ONE DAY ONLY!
BRITISH BOARD OF FILM CENSORS U CERTIFICATE!
Ealing Studios presents Benny Hill and Benny Hill in ‘Who Done It?’  A Michael Balcon Production. Directed by Basil Deardon. A British Film. Released by J. Arthur Rank Film Distributors Ltd.
‘THE CARD’  From the World Renowned Novel by Arnold Bennett. Starring Sir Alec Gunness, Glynis Jones, Valerie Hobson and Petula Clark.
“He’s Certainly A Card” – Produced and Directed by Ronald Neame and John Bryan. A British Film. Released Through General Film Distributors Ltd. The Picturegoer Seal of Merit is awarded to RONALD NEAME for ‘THE CARD’ and judged by the PICTUREGOER AWARDS PANEL for outstanding merit in film craftsmanship and entertainment.
Special Feature: Image Gallery  [1080p] [1.78:1] [1:19] Here we get to view 27 colour and black-and-white stunning images relating to the film ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY.’ It is shown as a running slide show.
PLUS: FIRST PRESSING ONLY: A beautiful collector’s 12 page booklet featuring THE STORY OF SPREE. DONALD HOUSTON AS DAI. MOIRA LISTER AS JO. ALEC GUINESS AS WHIMPLE. THE ADVENTURES IN PICTURES. CHARLES FREND. STAR SNIPPETS. PRESS ADVERTISMENTS AND POSTERS.
BONUS: Reversible printed Blu-ray cover featuring original artwork and rare Cinema Posters and colour Lobby Promotional items from the film.
Finally, ‘A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY’ is slightly lacking the sharp satire and social commentary of other Ealing Comedies; nonetheless I can see how this unassuming film might have cheered up the average post-War cinema-goer. Although it is classed as a not so well known film these days, but it is still appealing effort from the Ealing Studios in the 1940’s era. Director Charles Frend keeps the mood jolly, though the film has a strong melancholy undercurrent; as the story develops it becomes clear that all the urban characters harbour broken dreams, and this grants certain poignancy to the miners' simple optimism. Sir Alec Guinness turns in a supporting role as a prissy "gardening correspondent" who gets sucked into the farcical complications and madcap run around London.
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso