24 user 19 critic

High and Dry (1954)

The 'Maggie' (original title)
Passed | | Comedy | February 1954 (UK)
An American businessman in Scotland is conned into shipping a valuable load of cargo to a Scottish island via a coal powered boat.


William Rose (screenplay), Alexander Mackendrick (original story)
Nominated for 3 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Douglas ... Calvin B. Marshall - the American
Alex Mackenzie ... Captain MacTaggart - The Skipper
James Copeland James Copeland ... The Mate
Abe Barker Abe Barker ... The Engineer
Tommy Kearins Tommy Kearins ... Dougie - The Wee Boy
Hubert Gregg ... Pusey
Geoffrey Keen ... Campbell
Dorothy Alison ... Miss Peters
Andrew Keir ... The Reporter
Meg Buchanan Meg Buchanan ... Sarah
Mark Dignam ... The Laird
Jameson Clark Jameson Clark ... Dirty Dan
Moultrie Kelsall ... C.S.S. Skipper
Fiona Clyne Fiona Clyne ... Sheena
Sheila Shand Gibbs Sheila Shand Gibbs ... Barmaid


The skipper of a tatty coastal 'puffer' boat cons an American into letting "The Maggie" carry a cargo to a Scottish island. The American soon realises he's been conned but can he stop them? Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cargo | boat | ship | airplane | engine | See All (16) »


A Scotch Mist...A Girl Never Kissed...A Yank Who Missed...and Landed HIGH AND DRY See more »




Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

February 1954 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

High and Dry See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (as R.C.A. Sound System)| Mono (G.B.-Kalee Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The airplane seen when Marshall is flying over the "Maggie" is a de Havilland DH-89A Dragon Rapide, registration G-AJXB. Originally built in 1941 for the RAF as X7370, it was used for transport duty in WWII. It was sold to a civilian company in 1947. At the time of this film it was owned by BEA. Sold and re-sold many times, it flew for awhile in Sweden. It flew to Australia in 1960, where is was destroyed by an engine fire on start-up on March 30, 1968. Over 700 DH-89s of all variants were made from 1934 to 1946. See more »


Mactaggart, the skipper: [to prosperous merchantmen in a pub] You're very smug with your gold braid and your conventions and your five days a week, but you're no better than hirelings standing like wee bairns in front of Mr. Campbell's big Tess down yonder. You havwn't the freedom of operations that I have. You haven't the dignity of your own command. Less than my boat, there's not a finer vessel in the coastal trade! There's not a finer vessel anywhere!
See more »


Featured in Best of British: Ealing Comedies (1993) See more »


Wife She Brewed It
Arranged by Dock Mathieson
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User Reviews

Extra Information
31 January 2005 | by Noel-HollandSee all my reviews

I don't recollect seeing any mention of it in the credits of the film nor in any of the comments on this site however "The Maggie" is very obviously based on "The Vital Spark".

Neil Munro wrote "The Vital Spark" in 1906, the collected tales of Master Mariner Para Handy and his Clyde puffer The Vital Spark which he had previously had published as articles in the Looker On column of the Glasgow Evening News. On board were McPhail the engineer, Dougie the deck hand and Sunny Jim the cabin boy. Neil Munro went on to write more columns and collated these into two further books detailing Para Handy's exploits and misdeeds while travelling the coastline of Scotland. Much later writer Stuart Donald took up the baton and wrote three further volumes of Para Handy's tales, a brave thing to do considering the place in Scottish popular culture.

The BBC Scotland made a small run of TV programmes in the late 1960's and early 1970's which were revisited in 1994 by Gregor Fisher (Rab C Nesbitt and the Baldy Man) in the two series of "The Tales of Para Handy".

Anyone familiar with Neil Munro's work would recognise the characters on board The Maggie in an instant. They may have different names but the characters are identical.

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