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Lord Jeff - 1938 film | British Naval/Merchant Marine Schools

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  • Phelps Hobart
    You had to be up early to see this most interesting 1938 film. Maybe there is a DVD - Netflex and Blockbuster doesn t have it. There is not a good review of it
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 7, 2007
      You had to be up early to see this most interesting 1938 film. Maybe there is a DVD - Netflex and Blockbuster doesn't have it.
      There is not a good review of it on-line but here is a paragraph.
      Director Sam Wood always seemed most comfortable with cozy family-oriented films like Lord Jeff. Freddie Bartholomew plays Geoffrey Braemer, a basically good kid who falls in with bad company. The orphaned Geoffrey is being used as part of jewel-theft scheme masterminded by his so-called aunt Doris Clandon (Gale Sondergaard) and her confederate Hampstead (George Zucco). Left holding the bag when his cohorts skip town, Geoffrey is saved from reform school by kindly Captain Briggs (Charles Coburn), who enrolls the boy in the Russell-Cotes Merchant Marine Training School. At first antagonistic, Geoffrey eventually makes friends with his fellow students, especially Irish boyo Terry O'Mulvaney (Mickey Rooney). A series of misunderstandings brings disgrace upon Geoffrey, but he redeems himself by delivering Doris and Hampstead into the waiting hands of Law-with a little help from his new shipmates, of course. A teenaged Peter Lawford makes his American film debut as Geoffrey's school chum Benny Potter. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
      For us what makes it interesting is the British naval training school - Russell Cotes Merchant Marine Training School. In the film the term used was Mercantile Marine. The school for 11 - 14 year old boys seems one step above reform school.
      But oh what a wonderful school with a dedicated faculty to steer their charges to a life in the merchant marine service. Lord Jeff is given the cold shoulder by his fellow students but he sticks it out. He is appointed the coxswain for the school's whale boat rowing team and in the competition with another maritime school, wins the race and trophy. More is involved - I was impressed. The students wore uniforms, advanced in rank, and earned the respect of their peers and the staff.
      Upon graduation, Lord Jim, vindicated, along with four others are assigned to the prestigious Cunard-White Star's Queen Mary. Other students received assignment to other passenger and cargo ships.
      The school was for real and a good webpage has photos and informative text, http://www.goldonian.org/photos/photo_archive_homes/pages/russel_coats.htm.
      In reality Russell Cotes had 3,600 students and it was not the only training school. Watts Naval Training School, http://www.goldonian.org/photos/photo_archive_homes/pages/watts.htm, was another. From the photos, it appears much of the film was actually shot here.
      Phelps Hobart
      Senior Vice President
      Pacific Merchant Marine Council, NLUS

      1. ... Battery' boys line up at Watts Naval Training School. ... most of the boys of Watts Naval Training School at North Elmham, in the first half of the 1900s. ...
        edp24.com/Content/HiddenNorfolk/asp/ 2004/05/040508WattsNavalSchool.asp - 38k - Cached
      2. Watts Naval Training School. Watts Sea schools web site ... schools closed in 1949 and were amalgamated as Parkstone Sea Training School, in ...
      3. Sham Battle on Land by Cadets at Newport Naval Training School on IMDb: Movies, TV, Celebs, and more... by Cadets at Newport Naval Training School (1900) ...
        imdb.com/title/tt0328412 - 28k - Cached
        www.goldonian.org/sub_pages/watts_ sts.htm - 29k - Cached
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