Will Hay is never off screen in this classic comedy about a station master of a train station in rural Northern Ireland. He’s a lesson in comic acting.
William Porter (Will Hay) works for the railroad. There isn’t a job he can do. He says he wants to be a station master and his sister gets him his wish. He ends up in Buggleskelly. He’s dropped off in the rain two miles from the station because the locals believe the ghost of One Eyed Joe haunts the station and no one goes there after dark.
When he finally gets there he meets the acting station master Harbottle and a young porter named Albert. They gleefully tell him the fate of past station masters. Some have died and others have gone crazy.
The railway is supposed to be looking after a litter of pigs for a local farmer. He doesn’t know that all but one has been turned into breakfast for Hardbottle and Albert. Another scam they run is selling tickets to destinations where there aren’t any trains to take anyone there. The locals trade goods for tickers.
To improve things Porter decides to put together an excursion to Connemara. He goes to the local pub to sell tickets and ends up in a donnybrook. To get away he sneaks into a back room and runs into a man wearing an eye patch. He says his name is Joe and buys all the tickets. He says they’re for his football team. Porter doesn’t know they’re really running guns to the Irish Free State.
Joe and the “team” get on board and the train takes off. Everyone thinks Porter is nuts because the train is missing and no one believes it was there in the first place. He’s determined to track it down. There’s a good sight gag involving a windmill and then a long train ride.
Will Hay isn’t talked about much these days. Here’s a chance to check out one of the pioneers of British comedy.