One Way Pendulum (1964) - Rotten Tomatoes

One Way Pendulum (1964)

One Way Pendulum





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This farcical British comedy follows the eccentric misadventures of a family who have their own rather unusual way of doing things. Mr. Groomkirby (Eric Sykes) is redecorating his living room to resemble the courtrooms at Old Bailey, with a mind toward staging mock trials for fun. His wife, Mrs. Groomkirby (Alison Leggatt) hates to see leftovers go to waste, so she hires a woman to eat them. Their daughter Sylvia (Julia Foster) is fascinated by primates and spends much of her time at the zoo, and son Kirby (Jonathan Miller) believes that scales can have other uses rather than just weighing things -- they can be used to make music, too! Based on a popular novel, One Way Pendulum was directed by Peter Yates, who would go on to make Bullitt and Breaking Away. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: N.F. Simpson
In Theaters:


Eric Sykes
as Mr. Groomkirby
George Cole
as Defense Counsel, Fri...
Peggy Mount
as Mrs. Gantry
Alison Leggatt
as Mrs. Groomkirby
Mona Washbourne
as Aunt Mildred
Douglas Wilmer
as Judge, Maintenance M...
Glyn Houston
as Detective Inspector ...
Graham Crowden
as Caretaker, Prosecuti...
Walter Horsbrugh
as Clerk of the Court, ...
Frederick Piper
as Office Clerk, Usher
Vincent Harding
as Bus Conductor, Polic...
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Critic Reviews for One Way Pendulum

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Audience Reviews for One Way Pendulum

"One Way Pendulum" is one of the strangest films you'll ever see. There are no druggy hallucinations, time distortions or splashy visual effects -- just pure deadpan absurdity. Apparently a seminal influence on the Monty Python/Goon Show school of British humor, the scenario is a day in the life of an oddball, obsessive family. The father carts home supplies from a humdrum accounting job and constructs a replica of a high English court in the living room, where he orchestrates his son's murder trial (note that some members of the court appear in different guises during the film's opening section). When called to testify, he swears upon a copy of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" because he has moral objections to the Bible.The mother can't bear unconsumed food and hires a neighbor to finish the family's leftovers. The daughter ignores her obvious attractiveness, instead worrying that her arms are too short and wishing she were built more like an ape. Poor Aunt Mildred sits in a wheelchair all day, believing she's in an Outer Hebrides train station while yammering about various modes of transportation. And the possibly murderous son (writer/director/producer Jonathan Miller, in a rare acting role) hoards talking weight machines in the attic and teaches them to sing in chorus. His body is turned on and off by the ring of a downstairs cash register, which the family uses to stop him when his machines become too noisy. He's a Pavlov fan, you see. Wha? The acting is wholly stone-faced, as if no one knows they're in a comedy or that anything unusual is happening. Insane! Director Peter Yates later worked on "Bullitt," "Breaking Away" and other much more mainstream projects.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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