Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Will Any Gentleman...? The New Man
Year: 1953
Director: Michael Anderson
Stars: George Cole, Veronica Hurst, Heather Thatcher, Jon Pertwee, James Hayter, William Hartnell, Sid James, Diana Decker, Joan Sims, Brian Oulton, Alan Badel, Wilfred Boyle, Alexander Gauge, Jill Melford, Peter Butterworth, Lionel Jeffries, Brian Wilde
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Henry Sterling (George Cole) is a mild-mannered bank clerk who has been having trouble with his brother Charley (Jon Pertwee) lately, for he is always getting into debt and imploring Henry's better nature to help him out of a jam. But now, his brother may have gone too far, as theatrical impresario Hobson (Sid James) shows up at the bank with a cheque from Charley that the staff all know will bounce, but delivered with confidence that Henry will sort it out for them. This is highly embarrassing, and the manager intervenes, so back home Charley shows up to play on his sibling's sympathies and against the wishes of his wife Florence (Veronica Hurst) he pays the fiver to Hobson. He is delighted and invites him in to watch the show - a hypnosis act.

You may be able to see where this is going, but what it played out as was your basic Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde yarn done for comedy, not the first and certainly not the last, though in the safe hands of Cole, already an old hand at comedy, you were at least guaranteed a few chuckles. The hypnotist, modestly named The Great Mendoza (Alan Badel), ropes Henry into his stage act where he wants a shy man to perform, changing his personality dramatically from meek to seize the day opportunist and cad about town, so of course poor old Henry ends up leaving the theatre without Mendoza lifting the spell (no wonder, after the mayhem he causes). This leaves him to veer from his former self to his current, madcap incarnation with a strum on the harp on the soundtrack to indicate when he's turned.

This was based on a hit stage play, and the theatre provided an abundance of material for British movies for decades, the nineteen-fifties being no different. You can kind of see the origins here, as there were long stretches taking place in around three basic locations, or acts if you like, the central one being in the Sterlings' home which suddenly becomes the haunt of various comic characters. Not just Pertwee, but his fellow Doctor Who star William Hartnell who had a role as a heavy (his grim features often saw him cast in threatening roles before became a children's TV favourite, just as Pertwee was best known as a comic actor). Another fanbase was catered for with Sid James and Joan Sims, in her debut, though they did not share a scene together, but it was nice to think they met here and might have clicked in a way their future endeavours capitalised on.

Peter Butterworth was there too, another Carry On star, though only briefly at the theatre, and star spotters would amuse themselves looking at the bit players and seeing Lionel Jeffries, Brian Wilde, Jean Marsh dancing the Can-Can and public information film pioneer Richard Massingham appearing on the screen for a little. All very well, but did the humour hold up, even with this talented bunch? Though it was never fall down hilarious, this was entertaining and the Technicolor it was shot in demonstrated another aspect of the production: most British comedies of the day would be in black and white, as humour was not blessed with huge budgets, yet here as Henry is yearning to escape from drab suburbia, we can see how his alter ego sees the world as a colourful explosion of possibilities. Every so often he launches into a reverie of imagining himself on a South Seas island, again that wish to escape from the confines of Britain that were as much social as down to the wet weather. Although it had to be said, Sims' reaction to Cole pinching her behind is very much of its time. Music credited to Wally Stott, before she became Angela Morley.

[Network's DVD from The British Film library has an interview with two of the dancers involved, the trailer, a gallery and subtitles as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1459 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: