He Snoops to Conquer

Date: 1944
Director: Marcel Varnel
Production Company: Columbia British Productions

Stars: George Formby, Robertson Hare, Elizabeth Allen, Claude Bailey
Location(s): Hampshire



A pair of reporters investigate possible corruption in a small town’s postwar plans and are helped by the unwitting handyman.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson


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Council odd job man, George Gribble (George Formby) shows two reporters around the town. Basingstoke in Hampshire is listed on a number of web sites and appears to be the sole location apart from stock or second unit shots.

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Tangleton's 15th Century church is seen in the distance.

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A photo of Councillor Oxbold's home is taken, where just four people live.

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George points out Paradise Row, where he lives with fourteen others.

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The reporters visit George's street before returning to London, and writing an article condemning the town.

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An opinion poll is carried out in the town, which the councilors hope will redress the balance.

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George is ordered to throw the poll results away after the outcome shows the population is unsatisfied with the council.

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The results are loaded into the new municipal road sweeper.

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The road sweeper starts to malfunction as it makes it's way along the street. Eastrop Lane in Basingstoke.

Sir Timothy Strawbridge (Robertson Hare) and George watch as the town's brand new sweeper comes to a halt. Eastrop Lane with the pathway that now leads to Eastfield Avenue on the left.

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John Leete took this comparison view.

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When the sweeper's driver fails to fix the engine, George and Sir Timothy get the vehicle going. Eastrop Lane again.

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Sir Timothy holds on as the sweeper speeds away uncontrollably. Eastrop Lane with St. Mary's Court on the right.

A policeman on point duty dodges out of the way. The junction of Basing Road and Eastrop Lane with Eastrop Bridge over the River Loddon and the disused Basingstoke Canal behind the vehicle.

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A changed view provided by John Leete.

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Sir Timothy shouts to George to stop the vehicle. Basing Road, now replaced by Churchill Way, with Basingstoke gasworks in the extreme left background.

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When he searches for the brake, George turns on the water spray.

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Soaked pedestrians shout and wave their fists at George.

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With the odd looking vehicle spraying water and spilling dust, George does a U turn. Facing Basing Road and the gasworks at the end of Eastrop Lane.

Another lever is pulled and rubbish is thrown from the sweeper. Facing north on Eastrop Lane with the gasworks in the distance.

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John Leete's image shows that the gasometer has been replaced by Waitrose.

The poll results are scattered into the street as the sweeper passes. Looking south on Eastrop Lane from the junction with St. Mary's Court.

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Very recognisable as the same corner in John Leete's comparison.

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Sir Timothy hangs on as a corner is taken.

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The runaway sweeper passes through town. The Market Square at the corner of Church Street as seen from Winchester Street in Basingstoke.

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Police are alerted as passers by stand clear of the road.

Sir Timothy's ride continues as the sweeper careers through the streets of Tangleton. Mal Blay identifies this as London Road in Basingstoke, outside the White Hart public house.

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The same road now taken by John Leete.

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A road roller enters the road from the opposite end. Facing Church Street from Church Square. On the left stands Church Street Methodist Church which was demolished in 1967.

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George swerves to avoid the road roller and crashes the sweeper into a wall. Facing west on Church Square in Basingstoke, Hampshire.