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  • I generally love Will Hay but this has to be the most trying of his movies - though it has its moments, it's a bit overlong in general and plays on too few jokes. Will is Benjamin Twist (again!) and is a ship porter who ends up a passenger when the passenger he is tending, a runaway crook, drugs him and swaps places with Twist. Twist doesn't awake until he's far at sea, past the point of no return. He joins up with another stowaway and both end up getting off the ship with a herd of cows (their fake cow suit is actually pretty impressive) before they are caught.

    In the US, Twist ends up tutor to a disgusting little twerp of a child, while his friend ends up in the ring that kidnaps said child - only neither knows the other's profession.

    In the end, you can't help feeling that the parents would have been better off letting the criminals keep the child ;)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    British comedian Will Hay is in somewhat unfamiliar surroundings in this comedy,which,although it has some fine moments,is not consistently funny enough to be regarded as anything more than average to middling.It's rather strange that slow-burning American comedian Edgar Kennedy is Hay's main foil in HEY HEY USA!,as is the story being set in the US itself.Gainsborough studios' attempt at recreating a British view of the States is inevitably set-bound,much like the vice-versa attempts by Hollywood in the 30's and 40's,but on a lower budget.The film's quality and credibility suffers as a result,as it would been a better idea to keep the film set in the UK.Hay and Kennedy work reasonably well together and have good chemistry,but the script itself is often saddled with below par comic material.The various British supporting actors cope variably with their transatlantic accents;some are adequate,others are woefully unconvincing.The plot itself is rather overly serious,involving a child kidnapping and gangsters,of which Kennedy is of that ilk.Edgar's familiar comic persona (that of a harassed,frustrated,bad tempered husband in his series of domestic short comedies) means that he doesn't really convince as a brutish gangster intent on murder.

    Another interesting member of the support cast is Charlie Hall,the British-born comic actor best known for supporting Laurel and Hardy in nearly fifty of their films.It's welcome to see Hall appear briefly in a film made in his native land;he even manages to share a scene with Kennedy(himself a notable L & H foil in the late 20's) before he departs from the film.Charlie occasionally appeared in support of Edgar in his short films back in the States.

    The child involved in the kidnapping(Tommy Bupp)is such a unlikable,ungrateful brat (even his own father doesn't like him in the film!) that everyone really would've been better leaving him that way,but the film also has some doubtful references to Black people which will be scorned upon by contemporary viewers.Hay says the 'n' word in one scene,not particularly in an objectionable context,but still unnecessary,and the final sequence,in which Hay,Bupp,and assorted gangsters get caught up in a Black emancipation rally while covered in soot is possibly the film's only true highlight,though maybe not entirely for the right reasons.With a Negro spiritual ringing in our ears for good measure,the scene is bizarrely memorable in it's strangeness,though could quite easily be interpreted as racist and would be hard to take for many in this day and age.

    A Hay vehicle which is nowhere near his best (comic foils like Moore Marriott,Graham Moffat and Charles Hawtrey are sorely missed here),but earns some minor positives for being probably his most unusual,offbeat comedy.

    RATING:5 and a half out of 10.
  • malcolmgsw23 September 2016
    Firstly I would mention that this film was originally made for distribution by Gaumont British.However the company crashed in unexplained circumstances in 1938'Rank bought the assets under his company,General Film Distributors and a whole new chapter in British cinema was begun.Gaumont had a failed policy of importing American actors to break into the American market.This explains the appearance of Edgar Kennedy in this film..The problem is that Kennedy and Hay have completely different styles of comedy and they just don't work well together.Kennedy is very much the physical comedian whereas Hay tends to rely on words,puns and tongue twisters.So the script is tailored for both and it just doesn't work.Although Hay didn't like working as part of a team,nevertheless his best films are with Moore Marriott and Graham Moffat..
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I like this film. This was the first time I saw a Hay feature. A British comedy that suppose to take place in Chicago. But it was shot in Gainsborough studios. You have all these extra actors in the film British, trying to speak American English. The few of them were successful,but you hear the British accents. You have American comedian star Edgar Kennedy and the child star, Tommy Bupp,who plays Bertie Shultz, the son of a millionaire who produces cereal, The parents are played by Fred Duprez ,as Cyrus Schultz ,Paddy Reynolds ,as Mrs. Duprez. Will Hay plays Dr. Benjamin Twist. He plays a ship porter. As a Edgar Kennedy, who plays Bugs Leary,is with partner in crime going on the ship. He has to stow away cause his boss doesn't want to give him the ticket. Hay,as a porter ,takes a suite cases to the room of the professor. He reward him with a drink filled with a sleeping powder. This professor puts him out and he leaves. Hay wakes up and everybody Thinks he is a history professor and not a porter. No body believes him ,Kennedy is caught as a stow away and is forced to work in the kitchen until he gets fed up with it, Hays gets him some food as he's hiding.. It seems that Edgar is a part of a gang that want to take over a kidnapping of an heir to a Cereal millionaire. Well The millionaire is on ship and his wife. Their son, the heir, makes trouble with everyone. He tries to make trouble with hay on the ship but he hits the boy back. He runs to his mother and complain. She goes up to him and hits him back. His father see what happens and congratulates him. And buys him a drink .The millionaires son tells his motherland she goes back to give him apiece of her mind,until she find out he's the alleged famous professor, They hire him to educate his sun with history, which the kid doesn't like. Well when the ship docks,at British New york. Both Edgar and Hays sneaks out disguised as a cow manages to sneak out and get on a train to Chicago. Well Kennedy jumps out of the train and ends up the police cars .They take him to jail. Hay shows up at Chicago and calls up the millionaires to explain what happen . They invite him for dinner the next day and next week wants to stay with them. Edgar Kennedy get out of jail with bail from the lawyer working for the other gang. The other gang wants Kennedy to break off with his partner to work for them to kidnap the heir. Well This creates a mishap where the kid and Hey end up in this mi mishap. They manage to escape from the crooks and Kennedy ends up at a loony bin.There's a scene where he tell the kid where he hid the ransomed money, Which was at Abraham Lincoln Statue. Explaining That he freed the Negro slaves. After that he says a word that the phony liberal at i.m.d..b would not let me say in another review cause of their hypocrisy. Reflecting that attitudes of the time in england. If you are true classic film fan and not apolitical correct, this won't offend you. You know that there are worse thing than name calling. Murder! excellent British comedy 10/01/11
  • Leofwine_draca16 December 2018
    Warning: Spoilers
    HEY! HEY! USA is one of the less successful Will Hay comedies I've watched. The beleagured star certainly tries his best, but the fish-out-of-water premise doesn't really work too well here and the attempts at slapstick comedy don't really prove all that amusing. Once again mistaken identity rules the day, with Hay finding himself in America and tasked with teaching a bratty kid. There's some nonsense involving rival gangsters to propel the storyline along. Some of the supporting actors certainly work hard to provide laughs, but this is more dated than anything else.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The pace is brisk and director Marcel Varnel keeps things moving, but this is a below standard Will Hay effort because it relies so heavily on slapstick and has so very little genuine humor. I guess that with Edgar Kennedy second billed in this one, a change of focus was inevitable, but Hay's fans are going to be disappointed. Kennedy was a master of the slow burn. His comedy is physical rather than witty and he goes about it, boots and all, in a heavily bombastic style. In fact, he is given an overdose of opportunities here to strut his stuff. But that's just the trouble. Hay's admirers like myself are going to be disappointed that Hay is playing second fiddle to Kennedy, rather than the other way around. Aside from a couple of spurts from Tommy Bupp, the other players contribute little more than their presence. Admittedly, production values are pretty good, but what we really want is more Hay and less Kennedy. Available on an excellent VCI Entertainment DVD.
  • Will Hay was a late-blooming British film comedian of the 1930s and early 1940s. His style was a rapid-fire delivery that was very good. But, with his English accent and occasional slang of a place and time, it made following his dialog difficult at times for English speakers on this side of the pond.

    In this film, Hay heads to America, but not by choice in the plot. I'm sure the whole thing was filmed at Islington studios in England, save for the ocean scenes and panorama of New York City. As with most of the plots of the films Hay made, this one is far-fetched and quite silly. But, silliness of plots is often a big part of comedy. And, in this one, the story is a real hoot. The few other reviewers to this time didn't think much of this film, but I think it has some very funny scenes and situations. And, the supporting cast add considerably to the humor.

    Arthur Goullet is especially good as Henry "Gloves" Johnson. The scenes are very good in which Johnson shows frustration with his buddy, Dr. Benjamin Twist (played by Hay). Johnson calls him "baldy," and when Hay's character wrongly construes things that Johnson says or does, Johnson shows great angst with some very funny facial contortions.

    This is an amusing and fun movie that most people should enjoy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Wow. I now understand how many Brits feel when they watch American actors putting on British accents. They just don't sound close to the real thing. In this film, supposedly set in America, the 'Americans' all sound like Brits. One of the only one without a slight British lilt is Edgar Kennedy--one of the few actual Americans in the film.

    This is about the tenth Will Hay film I have seen and it's a little worse than average. While it is still quite watchable, I recommend you try some of his better films as well. The main reasons I was not in love with this film were that it seemed to go on too long--losing a lot of steam late in the picture Additionally, the gangster angle really wore a bit thin and tended to bring down the tempo of the film. In effect, having Edgar Kennedy instead of Hay's usual support (Moffatt and Marriot) felt odd and the chemistry never quite worked.

    The film begins with Hay being knocked out and left aboard an ocean cruiser. He's assumed to be some distinguished British scholar and after meeting the incredibly violent Captain, it's obvious to see why he continues this pretense. But, this is a mistake because both mobsters soon think he's one of them and a family with a very bratty kid contract him to become their little monster's tutor. Personally, I would have chosen to work with the mob! In fact, however, Hay's time on screen with the brat are among the best of the film--and it's too bad there wasn't enough of this. By the end, the film becomes a long and rather ponderous chase scene. However, it ends on an 'off-color' and politically incorrect scene involving black-face....but it's also undeniably funny and helps the film to end on a high note.