Top Class Comedy Caper.
peterfromkanata | Kanata, Ontario Canada | 02/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I will start by saying that Kim Newman's summary of this classic English comedy is excellent, and I completely agree with the comments. While Sellers is the star, this is clearly an ensemble piece, and the other actors are all terrific. Nobody really steals a film from Sellers, but Lionel Jeffries comes close--his turn as the "nasty" prison guard, "Sour" Crout, is an absolute gem. As Kim Newman mentions, David Lodge, Bernard Cribbins and Wilfrid Hyde-White are fine in support as "the gang".
Others deserve credit too--Maurice Denham as the most benign prison warden in history, preoccupied with his garden and prize--winning ( he hopes ) marrow--Liz Fraser as Dodger's long-suffering, blond-bombshell girlfriend--Irene Handl as Bernard Cribbins' larcenous "Mum", castigating her son for not breaking out of jail and preserving her criminal family's "honour"--George Woodbridge as the kindest, most naive prison guard in the history of cinema.
The script is marvellous--with even "bit-players" getting hilarious lines. During "visiting day", one of the inmates asks for an explanation about his wife's new baby when he has been locked up for three years--her reply is priceless. No--I won't tell you--buy the movie !
Anchor Bay as usual gives us a very nice picture.
One minor criticism--the picture on the cover of the DVD has nothing to do with this movie at all--I'm not sure what happened here.
In summary, a classic British comedy from the "golden age", not to be missed.
A very sad footnote, dated 20 February 2010--Mr. Lionel Jeffries has passed away. For many years, Mr. Jeffries was one of Britain's most versatile character actors. While he had a terrific flair for roles in comedy films like "Two Way Stretch" and "The Wrong Arm of the Law", he could be equally convincing in serious parts such as the nasty gang leader in that African "western", "The Hellions". Mr. Jeffries will be missed."
A few more touches
clydehill | Bellevue, WA United States | 03/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Your reviewers Kim and Peter did an excellent job and I heartily agree with them.
Do you remember how increasingly noisy the Army guarding the valuables were? Culminating in the major in his armored car yelling at midnight outside the pub and having a chamber pot unceremoniously dumped upon him.
We saw (a much older and heavier) Lionel Jefferies (a bishop) at a London theater. After, on the street, program still in hand, we were discussing our evening plans when he came by in street clothes and said he hoped we enjoyed the show. We persueded him to say "Shut up when I'm talkin' " (from 2-way Stretch) We will never forget it."