Born in 1900, Liverpudlian Arthur Askey was a small man (5' 2") with a sunny personality and horn-rimmed spectacles reminiscent of Harold Lloyd's. He performed in British music halls and was a television pioneer, making his first broadcasts in the early 1930s. Askey later hosted several TV variety shows, and was famous for catchphrases like "Hello playmates" and "Ay-Thang-Yew" (I thank you). After retiring in 1978, he lost both legs to circulatory problems, and died at age 82.
During WWII, Askey was one of the few Brits making movies; these were designed to boost morale at home and among fighting men. BEES IN PARADISE was his 8th (and last) such film. Askey recalled in his autobiography that while making "Bees...," the production crew was strafed by Luftwaffe fighters, and he sustained a minor injury.
"Bees in Paradise" is a musical about an island matriarchy located in the south Atlantic. In this society, men are considered superfluous; they're used for mating then quickly disposed of. When a British bomber crashes in their midst, a number of the all-girl populace aggressively seek marriage, after which the husbands will be required to commit suicide. There's lots of scenes of predatory women, and some sight gags and songs in this typically breezy Val Guest production.
Released in 1941, LOVE ON THE DOLE (starring Deborah Kerr) is set in Depression-era West England.
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 viewer poll rating found at a film resource website.
(4.2) Bees in Paradise (UK-1944) - Arthur Askey/Anne Shelton/Peter Graves/Ronald Shiner/Jean Kent/Max Bacon/Antoinette Cellier/Joy Shelton/Beatrice Varley/Koringa