Part 2 of the so-called Huggett’s Trilogy, “Vote for Huggett,” came out in 1949 and features Jack Warner as Joe Huggett. Huggett runs for the city council elections in Streatham, London, on a platform that proposes building a war memorial by the river that includes a pleasure garden and a lido (public swimming pool). A local alderman wants to build a community center, and puts up his own earnest but ineffectual nephew as a candidate for the council office. Unbeknownst to Huggett, his supporters want to plant Joe in the council seat so they can make a killing on a real estate deal.
The Huggett family includes daffy Ethel (Kathleen Harrison), lovely Susan (Susan Shaw) and plucky Pet (Petula Clark). Susan works for the conniving and womanizing Mr. Lever, whose plan to take over the waterfront property involves Joe winning the election. Lever romances Susan, but she proves to be far more clever than he imagines. In the end, Joe’s enthusiastic campaigning for the lido proves more effective than the special interest tactics of the Mr. Lever and the alderman.
Vote for Huggett manages a lot of laughs from the conflict between the members of Huggett’s family — especially Diana Dors and John Blythe, who play greedy cousins. We don’t see much of London, but get a sense of the times and class distinctions with the antics of Mr. Lever and the alderman. Huggett, a factory worker, campaigns among the commoners while Lever and the alderman attend fancy nightclubs, country clubs and garden parties.
The first Huggett’s film, “Here Come the Huggetts,” opened in 1948, followed by Vote for Huggett and “The Huggetts Abroad” in 1949. Petula Clark sings “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree,” a sentimental song from 1905, and then turns it into a political jingle supporting her father. It’s always fun to watch these British ensemble comedies.