Fiddlers Three (1944 film)
Fiddlers Three is a 1944 British black-and-white musical comedy. It includes a number of musical sections, mainly focussing on replacing the word "home" with "Rome". The film was produced by Michael Balcon and directed by Harry Watt. The cast included Tommy Trinder, Sonnie Hale, Frances Day, Francis L. Sullivan, Diana Decker and Elisabeth Welch. Making their film debuts were James Robertson Justice, and Kay Kendall near the bottom of the cast list, as the "Girl Who Asks About Her Future At Orgy". The film follows the adventures of two sailors and a Wren who are struck by lightning and transported back to Ancient Rome, where they are accepted as seers.
|Directed by||Harry Watt|
|Screenplay by||Angus MacPhail,|
|Produced by||Michael Balcon|
Francis L. Sullivan,
James Robertson Justice
|Edited by||Eily Boland|
|Music by||Spike Hughes|
|Distributed by||Ealing Distribution|
|88 minutes |
(65 minutes USA edit) 
The title comes from the nursery rhyme "Old King Cole".
The film was called While Nero Fiddled on its USA release. It is a loose sequel to the 1940 film Sailors Three which had also starred Trinder. The film was only moderately successful at the British Box Office but proved to be a major hit in Australia.
Tommy Taylor and "The Professor", two sailors returning from leave to Portsmouth on a tandem bicycle, they sing Sweet Fanny Adams - a song which now sounds very innocent but was extremely risque at the time.
They rescue Lydia, a Wren, who had been hitch-hiking on the road and was assaulted by an over-amorous driver. They get a puncture as they reach Stonehenge. The professor tells them of an old legend that those caught at Stonehenge at midnight on midsummer's night are transported back in time. Moments later the area is struck by lightning. Nearby a group of Roman soldiers have suddenly appeared whom they initially mistake for members of ENSA. However, they swiftly prove to be genuine Romans who arrest them and threaten instant death unless they can prove they are Druids.
Among the musical numbers in the picture, Tommy Trinder gives a stupendous performance as "Senorita Alvarez" from Brazil (impersonating Carmen Miranda). Caesar creates him a Dame of the Roman Empire for his performance.
- Tommy Trinder as Tommy Taylor
- Frances Day as Poppaea
- Sonnie Hale as 'The Professor'
- Francis L. Sullivan as Nero
- Elisabeth Welch as Thora
- Mary Clare as Volumnia
- Diana Decker as Lydia
- Ernest Milton as Titus
- James Robertson Justice as Centurion of the 8th Legion
- Russell Thorndike as High Priest
- Frederick Piper as Auctioneer
- Alec Mango as Secretary
- Danny Green as Lictor
- Frank Tickle as Master of Ceremonies
- Kay Kendall as slave girl who asks about her future at orgy
- Robert Wyndham as Lion-Keeper
- Sky Movies said, "the stars look as though they're having fun, which was just the tonic for wartime audiences, though it all looks less than sparkling now."
- George Perry wrote in Forever Ealing, "the film is not of great consequence. The script ... Was thick with laboured gags likening aspects of Roman times to wartime Britain."
- Graeme Clark wrote in The Spinning Image, "played with a mixture of cheeky charm and a sly wink from the cast, and notable for its casting of black singer and actress Elisabeth Welch in a refeshingly non-stereotypical role for its day, if you catch the references then you should have fun with Fiddlers Three. Yes, it's nonsense, but it's nonsense well done."
- Time Out called the film a "cheeky wartime British comedy with odd imaginative touch (associate producer Robert Hamer reshot a good deal of it)."
- Reid, John. Films Famous, Fanciful, Frolicsome and Fantastic. Lulu, 2006.
- "Fiddlers Three Review". Movies.tvguide.com. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
- "Fiddlers Three - Sky Movies HD". Skymovies.sky.com. 23 May 2002. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
- Reid, John Howard (2006). Films Famous, Fanciful, Frolicsome & Fantastic. Morrisville, NC: Lulu Press. p. 53. ISBN 9781411689152.
- "Fiddlers Three 1944 | Britmovie | Home of British Films". Britmovie. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
- "Fiddlers Three Review (1944)". Thespinningimage.co.uk. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
- "Fiddlers Three | review, synopsis, book tickets, showtimes, movie release date | Time Out London". Timeout.com. Retrieved 13 March 2014.