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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sailing Along
Directed bySonnie Hale
Written byscenario:
Sonnie Hale
adaptation & dialogue:
Lesser Samuels
Based onoriginal story by
Selwyn Jepson
Produced byMichael Balcon (uncredited)
CinematographyGlen MacWilliams
Edited byAl Barnes
Music bymusic & lyrics:
Arthur Johnston
Maurice Sigler
musical director:
Louis Levy
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors (UK)
Release dates
  • 17 April 1938 (1938-04-17) (London, UK)[1]: 330 
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Sailing Along is a 1938 British musical comedy film directed by Sonnie Hale and starring Jessie Matthews, Barry MacKay, Jack Whiting, Roland Young, Frank Pettingell, Noel Madison and Alastair Sim. It includes many staged song and dance routines either on barges or on the dock edge.

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A rich owner of a fleet of three-masted barges operating on the River Thames in central London has a prospective step-daughter, Kay (Jessie Matthews). She falls in love with the son of one of his barge masters, who has been put to work on a barge at the bottom of the ladder. She initially wants to gives up her chance of stardom as a singer to be with him.[2] Ultimately everyone supports her singing career.



Sailing Along was filmed at Pinewood Studios from August to December 1937, directed by Sonnie Hale. The screenplay was written by Lesser Samuels and Sonnie Hale, based on a story by Selwyn Jepson.[1]: 330  For the last big dance number—which lasted seven minutes on screen—the camera followed Whiting and Matthews for nearly a mile, and the set was so large that it had to be built across two studios. Including rehearsals, the pair danced an estimated twenty miles to complete that single scene.[3]


The film opened at the Gaumont Haymarket on 17 April 1938, and was generally released on 29 August 1938.[1]: 330 

Critical reception

In a contemporary review, The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote, "The best features of the film are the songs and the dances which are cleverly treated, particularly in the final sequence where Kay and Dicky perform a really original and brilliantly executed tap ballet. Jessie Matthews acts Kay with unrestrained gaiety and fire, sings adequately and dances superbly. Jack Whiting, as Dicky, matches her in dancing ability and outshines her in singing and acting, Barry Mackay tries hard not to make Steve too imbecile, while Roland Young (Gulliver) and Athene Seyler, as his prim sister, serve up a banquet of laughs from the few crumbs that fall their way."[4]

In his review for The Era on 27 January 1938, R.B. Marriott applauded Hale's direction as "swift, gay and witty", and added that "Sailing Along was certainly the most polished romantic comedy with music ever made in our studios: and for vitality, deftness and general entertainment value it equals any, and is superior to, many that have come from that over-rated motion picture making town across the Atlantic Ocean."[5]: 226–229 


  1. ^ a b c Thornton, Michael (1974). Jessie Matthews : A Biography (hardcover) (1st ed.). London: Hart-Davis, MacGibbon. ISBN 978-0-246-10801-2.
  2. ^ "Sailing Along (1938)". Archived from the original on 13 January 2009.
  3. ^ Thornton 1974, p. 143.
  4. ^ "Monthly Film Bulletin review".
  5. ^ Wright, Adrian (2020). "1938 – February / Sailing Along". Cheer Up! – British Musical Films, 1929–1945 (hardcover) (1st ed.). Woodbridge, England: Boydell and Brewer. ISBN 978-1-78327-499-4.

External links

This page was last edited on 3 September 2022, at 05:49
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