Once a Jolly Swagman

Watch Once a Jolly Swagman

  • NR
  • 1949
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 6.4  (257)

Once a Jolly Swagman is a 1949 film directed by Jack Lee and starring Dirk Bogarde, Bonar Colleano, and Bill Owen. The story of the film is about the life of a young man named Bill Fox who aspires to be a motorcycle racer. Despite his father's objections, he leaves his hometown in northern England and travels to London to pursue his dream.

The movie opens with scenes of a stock car race in the north of England, where Bill Fox (Dirk Bogarde) is a mechanic for his father's team. Bill has a passion for motorcycle racing and wants to be a part of it. However, his father, a former racer, is opposed to his son following in his footsteps, believing the sport to be dangerous and irresponsible.

Bill's girlfriend, Susie (Renee Asherson), is also against his racing ambitions. She sees the sport as a frivolous distraction from the more important things in life, such as settling down and starting a family. Despite their objections, Bill is determined to make a name for himself in the racing world.

Bill eventually leaves his hometown and travels to London to pursue his dream. He gets a job as a messenger for a newspaper and begins racing on the side. Bill's talent on the track catches the attention of a wealthy businessman, Len (Bill Owen), who sponsors him in races. Len arranges for him to ride for a top team and soon Bill is on the fast track to success.

As Bill gains more fame and success in the world of motorcycle racing, he becomes increasingly distant from his father and Susie. He also starts to become involved with a glamorous nightclub singer, Mona (Moira Lister), who introduces him to the fast-paced world of the London nightlife.

As Bill's personal life spirals out of control, his racing career begins to flounder as well. He is injured in a race and loses his nerve, causing him to perform poorly in future races. His relationship with his sponsors deteriorates, and he finds himself without a team.

The film's climax comes in the form of a dramatic race between Bill and his former teammate, Bert (Bonar Colleano). The two men engage in a fierce battle on the track, with Bill ultimately emerging as the winner. However, the victory is bittersweet for Bill, as he realizes that his reckless behavior has cost him his relationships with those closest to him.

Once a Jolly Swagman is a powerful drama that explores themes of ambition, sacrifice, and the cost of pursuing one's dreams. The film is notable for its realistic portrayal of motorcycle racing and its use of actual footage from races of the time. The performances of the lead actors, particularly Dirk Bogarde, are also noteworthy. Bogarde brings a depth and complexity to his portrayal of Bill Fox, making him a sympathetic and relatable character despite his flaws.

Overall, Once a Jolly Swagman is a compelling and thought-provoking film that remains relevant today. Its message about the dangers of unchecked ambition and the importance of maintaining one's personal relationships is one that still resonates with audiences.

Once a Jolly Swagman
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.4  (257)