Old Mother Riley's New Venture

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Music-hall comedian Arthur Lucan first brought his "drag" character Old Mother Riley to the screen in 1937. Lucan went on to star in 14 films as the rambunctious Irish washerwoman, while Lucan's wife Kitty McShane co-starred as Old Mother Riley's daughter, who had a habit of bursting into song whether the audience liked it or not. The first series entry, aptly titled Old Mother Riley, found the title character put in charge of managing a huge luxury hotel. A jewel theft seriously compromises Mother Riley's new position, but everything is resolved in a climactic slapstick-fest, replete with pie-throwing. Perhaps because the character was too regional in her (his?) appeal, Old Mother Riley wasn't released in the U.S. until 1952, 15 years after it was made. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


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