The Mudlark (1950)

The Mudlark (1950)

Run time: Approved | 99 min | Drama
Director: Jean Negulesco
Writers: Nunnally Johnson, Theodore Bonnet
Stars: Irene Dunne, Alec Guinness, Andrew Ray
In 1875 London, a young boy who lives by scavenging on the banks of the River Thames (a mudlark) finds a coin with an image of Queen Victoria on it and risks his life to meet her in person. Dunne is an excellent Queen Vic, and Guinness shines as Disraeli.

4 responses to “The Mudlark (1950)”

  1. tfsadmin says:

    Irene Dunne wore darn near as much make-up as Lon Chaney Jr. in the Wolfman, to portray the role of Victoria I. She was a much underrated actress and the role fit her like a glove. Then, there’s the late Sir Alec Guinness as Disraeli and the incomparable Finlay Curie as John Brown, the only man who had leave to blow his nose in the presence of the Queen. The tale focuses on a "Mudlark," a street urchin who lives off scrounging castaway goods from the mud banks of the Thames, who finds a likeness of Queen Victoria and resolves to visit this "Mother of all England." How this event is used by Disraeli to get her to end her reclusive widowhood is the plot of the story. Alas, no video and no DVD. This superb classic, too good for even its own time shows up from time to time on the late show and if it does, don’t miss it. You’ll be charmed by some outstanding performances and a winsome story. Oh. Yes, the kid gets to meet the Queen and she does join polite society once more. That much is history.

  2. IMDBReviewer says:

    This is one of those delightful post-war British films that once seen is hard to forget. The story centers around Wheeler, a London "mudlark" (an orphan who scavenges the Thames at low tide), who, upon finding a cameo of Queen Victoria, sets off to Windsor to see "the mother of England." Victoria is secluded as the "widow of Windsor" and a desperate Disraeli is vainly attempting to urge her to resume public duties. However, when Wheeler finally gets to meet his Queen, Victoria is moved to return to her public life. Wonderful performances by Irene Dunne as Victoria, Alec Guinness as Disraeli, Finlay Currie as John Brown and Andrew Ray as Wheeler, the mudlark. If only Fox would release this on DVD or VHS!

  3. IMDBReviewer says:

    Charming adaptation of a story that could very well have happened during the days of Victoria's reign after Prince Albert died.

    I am not sure if it is a concoction of the imaginative author or not.

    Either way, the heavyweight cast delivers as does the director and production — and of course — the charming Mudlark simply named "Wheeler". Here is a tale where our imaginations are treated to a fantasy of grand proportions. The comedy of errors during some scenes are enough to make us all giggle. Dunne and Guiness were wonderful!

    I have not heard where Andrew Ray wound up. Does anyone know of his whereabouts?

    This unlikely Anglophile gives it 10 thumbs up!

  4. tfsadmin says:

    Quite an under-stated classic with some superb film-noir scenes shot on the river-bank.

    Mudlarks, scavengers for anything at all on the Thames' tidal mud-banks, were only one of the Victorian under-class of homeless, often orphan kids forced to scratch a living, some-how, or die without raising an eye-brow in the great metropolis. This film tells how one of these poor kids attempts to see "The Mother of the Country". Andrew Ray, who plays 'Wheeler' died in 2003. The rest of the cast can never quite out-act the young lad though Findlay Currie as the boozy, kind and understanding John Brown comes close.

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