A woman falls madly in love with a man when she sees his arms, the salvation army stick their nose into everything. To buttress this opinion, I could mention the fact that the movie is based on and quite faithful to one of the most hilarious stories ever penned in the English language by R. I will mention Mr Hancock principally because he is so poorly represented on film that any opportunity to see world - weary but defiant persona must be seized with alacrity. Michael Caine is young and handsome here. The nephews are desperate to cover this up until Mills dies.
I hope he garnered enough attention from this role to cap off his career. The plot is a very good one and there is some excellent acting by all parties. . We watch the group dwindle until only two elderly brothers are left in 1882. I have always suspected that he and Peter Cook improvised their dialogue and these two brilliant satirists display a give-and-take of such high wit and subtlety that it is probably unique in cinema.
How could a movie with the talents of Bryan Forbes, Larry Gelbart, Burt Shevelove, Julie Harris not the actress, the costume designer et al. Simply one of the funniest movies ever made and, sadly, hardly known to American audiences. Wilfrid Lawson was an heroic drinker. Peter Cook's Morris Finsbury sets down a delightfully unprincipled cad one suspects that Masterman may have resembled him in his younger days , yet we can't quite stop rooting for him, because Michael Caine and Nanette Newman strike just the right sweet and innocent tone as Michael and Julia to make us surreptitiously feel that perhaps they deserve to be cheated out of their money. . The fantastic actors are beautifully restrained when necessary and note perfect throughout, which is a credit to Forbes as well as to each actor. It is a fun movie and well worth seeing.
Mr Forbes shows his customary affection for the British character with all its eccentricities and pulls off the difficult trick of directing with a firm hand whilst displaying a light touch. One half hour could easily have been cut from the length and the pace of the entire film would have been much better. The other lives in ill health and poverty as the only support of his perpetually confused grandson. What else do you want? Ralph Richardson shines throughout as the cheerful collector of facts, which he blithely inflicts upon anyone foolish enough to stop and listen to him. It is by far Bryan Forbes best film as this is brilliantly and perfectly directed. Peacock steals every scene he's in. He is mesmerising, unbelievably funny and it is one of the greatest comedy characterisations I've seen.
In my considered opinion, this is one of the best British comedies of all time and I flatter myself that I am not usually given to hyperbole. The actors involved give the impression they're delighted to be in the film, as they should be. The humor is quiet, with a Victorian hush over the proceedings, lending a perhaps tongue in cheek funereal respect to its theme of death with laughter. We watch the group dwindle until only two brothers are left. This is what British acting is all about. The script and story are hilarious and keep a fast but not rushed pace until the slightly rushed ending which is the only slight shame but it is not a bad ending at all and does not detract from the whole films appeal.
A delightful chase of horse-drawn funeral home carriages includes a ride through a band playing ragtime which has to change to somber funeral music every time these carriages go through the park they are playing in. However it is certainly worth watching. They concentrated their gifts on character developments on their central story figures Holmes and Watson, Father Brown, Max Carrados , but the basic plot development is what pulls the story along for all of them. This is by no means a master piece, frankly with such a stellar cast it is rather disappointing. I was intrigued that with so many fantastic comedic actors I had never heard of this film. The plot is solid and humorous throughout yet it depends on the basic slapstick for its conclusion.
But, it is not nearly as good as the reviews would indicate. Tony Hancock appears as the Detective, in what I believe was his last filmed role before his death. All of the clichés of repression and morbidity are always very over the top and they are here. Far too much is made of Peter Sellers role as the disgraced physician. One brother is watched by his nephews who will keep him alive at all costs, the other lives in ill health and poverty as the only support of his fairly stupid grandson. It's an elaborate wager where a bunch of people put up a sum of money individually, and the last survivor gets the bulk of it. Spigot, hops about on one leg and doesn't entirely stand up for itself.
Lots of fun, with a crazy finale befitting the film. There are many reasons to enjoy this film. The then younger generation, however, does not pale by comparison. Only Nanette Newman the director's wife doesn't seem quite up to her part, being a better actress in modern dress; but she's quite pretty enough and she's good enough not to be utterly lost even in this ensemble of extremely talented actors. All the actors seem to realize that they must take this sort of comedy seriously -- mugging kills this sort of humor. This film has a feast of British 1960s film stars, from the well-known Michael Caine, Ralph Richardson to the more obscure Willoughby Goddard, Tutte Lemkov, Nanette Newman - the director's wife. On the other hand I might have ended up the victim of a fiendish plot by disgruntled relatives.