Maid of the Mountains was a musical comedy released in 1933, to some acclaim. It was adapted for the screen from Frederick Lonsdale’s musical play by Douglas Furber and Lupino Lane. It featured music by Harold Fraser-Simpson with additional lyrics by Harry Graham. The Maid of the Mountains had been a massive hit in the West End at Daly’s Theatre in 1917 where it ran for over 1,000 performances. The film version sought to reprise that success.
Directed by Lupino Lane – like Gus McNaughton a member of an acting dynasty, a former music hall performer and famous for the musical Me and My Girl and the song The Lambeth Walk among others – the film starred Harry Welchman, Nancy Brown, Betty Stockfield, Albert Burdon, Gus McNaughton, Garry Marsh, Renee Gadd, Dennis Hoey and Lane’s brother Wallace Lupino.
Maid of the Mountains featured several hit songs including Love Will Find a Way; Bachelor Gay and When You’re in Love.
Gus played the part of General Malona in the film, which tells the story of how the convivial life of a brigand camp is interrupted by the arrival of one of the townspeople who asks Baldasarre, the brigand chief, to help the citizens as they are unable to pay their taxes and they dread the arrival of the new governor.
Baldassare and his men ride to the castle where a ball is being held. They break in and deprive the guests of their money and jewels; the beautiful daughter of the retiring governor being the only one who is not robbed. The dashing brigand chief and she dance together to the shocked amazement of the other guests. The soldiers arrive at the castle and Baldassare only escapes with his life by jumping from a balcony on to the roof of the coach in which the governor’s daughter is travelling.
When he and Beppo, his lieutenant, return to the camp in the mountains they learn that Teresa, the ‘maid of the mountains’ who is in love with Baldasarre, has been captured by the government troops. Baldasarre waylays the new governor’s coach and leaves him a prisoner at the camp.
Baldasarre impersonates the new governor and Beppo poses as his aide-de-camp. They return to the castle where they are greeted effusively and entertained to a banquet.
Beppo sees Teresa secretly and tells her she is to promise to lead Baldasarre, in his assumed role as the new governor, to the brigand camp. Once they are in the mountains their escape will be easy. Teresa gladly consents to do this.
Meanwhile, Baldasarre has fallen in love with the retiring governor’s daughter. Teresa realises this and goaded by jealousy denounces him as the brigand chief. The new governor who has effected his escape from the brigand camp, now arrives and his credentials prove that Teresa’s denunciation is true.
The brigands are arrested and condemned to be shot. Teresa is filled with remorse at having betrayed the man she loves while the retiring governor’s daughter reveals that she has only been flirting with Baldasarre.
The retiring governor suddenly realises that he still has ten minutes before he relinquishes office. He saves the brigands from the firing squad, and sets them free, doubles the pay of the entire army and grants numerous pensions and so retires in a blaze of glory.
But the new governor still endeavours to recapture Baldasarre and Teresa. He organises a pursuit. Beppo, whose love for the maid was never realised, saves the fugitives at the sacrifice of his own life.
Baldasarre and Teresa are reconciled and return on safety to the secret fastness of the Brigand’s camp.
There was often some fun to be had behind the scenes when making these films. There is a fashion for showing outtakes in the end credits of films nowadays. Here is a sequence of shots showing director Lupino Lane taking a dip during the filming of one scene.
Finally; the cast and crew;