Passport to Pimlico - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Passport to Pimlico Reviews

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Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ September 8, 2013
"Passport to Pimlico" starts innocently enough on a sweltering day in London, or as innocently as it can with an unexploded bomb in the vicinity. That's okay because the authorities have decided to leave it alone for now. And then having a bit of fun, a bunch of boys accidentally set it off, with thankfully no injuries. At least, until Arthur Pemberton(Stanley Holloway), a shopkeeper, stumbles down the hole to get a closer look and thinks he sees treasure. That is confirmed later when he and his daughter Shirley(Barbara Murray) have a closer look. They get even more information when Professor Hatton-Jones(the always delightful Margaret Rutherford) testifies at the inquest including one big surprise.

"Passport to Pimlico" is a funny bit of nonsense, albeit one that has some grounding in reality, from its slow start in the reality of post-war London(the movie is actually dedicated to ration books) to historical discoveries lying just underneath the ground.(Considering they just discovered the remains of Richard III, anything is possible, right?) And as much as it may feel like the movie is getting out of hand later, it is grounded in a remarkably astute Cold War satire that is still relevant today, as it possibly foresees free trade zones. After all, what can be sillier than borders that keep people apart?
Super Reviewer
February 4, 2012
I found the film a little dated and not as skillfully shot as later classic Ealing films but I enjoyed the central idea around the film and the lengths the members of Pimlico go to in order to make a stand against England. Maybe not as 'funny' as other well known Ealing films (The Lavender Hill Mob and Kind Hearts and Coronets for example) this is still an enjoyable British film made long before Richard Curtis started churning them out.
littlecharmer1959
Super Reviewer
February 6, 2008
When it comes to Brit movies I prefer ones from the 60s but this was actually alright and better than I expected. Margaret Rutherford was rather funny too.
½ November 24, 2006
Another charming old British comedy, this one from 1949, when ration books and clothing coupons were still part of British culture. The people of Pimlico, a London neighborhood, find out that their land was deeded to the Duke of Burgundy 500 years ago, and begin acting as though British law does not apply to them, as they are Burgundians. Wackiness ensues, but gentle, low=key, civilized wackiness. I love old British comedies.
½ January 13, 2015
Another of those Ealing Studios comedies - this time without Alec Guinness - that takes an absurd premise to the nth degree. In this case, Stanley Holloway falls in the hole created by a newly exploded bomb (leftover from the war) and finds some buried treasure. Said treasure includes a royal decree providing land to the Duke of Burgundy for his own separate country - and thus the fine folks on a few streets in central London suddenly find themselves foreigners. As the Home Office (led by those two comic Brits from Hitch's The Lady Vanishes) struggles to figure out what to do, Burgundy becomes lawless. Then begins a series of battles with Britain over customs, immigration, and the like. As I said, the film crosses merrily into absurd territory and makes some points about British society and the recent period of austerity at the same time. Amusing, if not hilarious.
January 3, 2014
Classic town planning movie
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ September 8, 2013
"Passport to Pimlico" starts innocently enough on a sweltering day in London, or as innocently as it can with an unexploded bomb in the vicinity. That's okay because the authorities have decided to leave it alone for now. And then having a bit of fun, a bunch of boys accidentally set it off, with thankfully no injuries. At least, until Arthur Pemberton(Stanley Holloway), a shopkeeper, stumbles down the hole to get a closer look and thinks he sees treasure. That is confirmed later when he and his daughter Shirley(Barbara Murray) have a closer look. They get even more information when Professor Hatton-Jones(the always delightful Margaret Rutherford) testifies at the inquest including one big surprise.

"Passport to Pimlico" is a funny bit of nonsense, albeit one that has some grounding in reality, from its slow start in the reality of post-war London(the movie is actually dedicated to ration books) to historical discoveries lying just underneath the ground.(Considering they just discovered the remains of Richard III, anything is possible, right?) And as much as it may feel like the movie is getting out of hand later, it is grounded in a remarkably astute Cold War satire that is still relevant today, as it possibly foresees free trade zones. After all, what can be sillier than borders that keep people apart?
August 17, 2013
During World War Two, a tiny overlooked section of London called Pimlico sets up their own country after they find a hidden treasure and a professor deems it their rightful possession and Pimlico part of Burdgundy in France. Though the concept is fresh and original, the humour is undoubtedly slightly outdated. Nevertheless, the overall appeal of the film and its structure make this one of the most solid representation of the particular brand of working class satirical comedy produced by Ealing Studios.
April 25, 2012
I'm only giving it three stars based on current tastes. This is a little period gem that would have been more significant to the viewers of the day. To appreciate the film you have to understand that much of Europe was still in ruins, and that rationing was in effect, even in the US, where agricultural products were being routed to Europe as part of the Marshall Plan. Here we have a group of classic British "characters" battling the indifferent government officials. They just want the recognition of proudly rejoining the British Empire, but the bottom-rung government types can't be bothered, so the citizens of Pimlico have to stand up for themselves. Their acts of defiance must have been a breath of fresh air to a populace that had been living for years under wartime government controls and fear of obliteration.
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½ January 16, 2010
This Ealing comedy, like so many others, has such an interesting and entertaining story that you don't always notice the clever and rather perceptive touches. It takes an unlikely, bizarre situation and makes it completely believable, just by drawing things out to their logical extremes. A solid cast and a good dose of British dry wit also help out.

Stanley Holloway heads the cast, as one of a small group of Londoners who, as the result of an offbeat chain of events, find themselves declared subjects of Burgundy. As things proceed, one wacky development after another follows, but each one is simply a perfectly logical (or perhaps perfectly illogical) extension of the previous one.

It's a fine satire on the whole structure of arbitrary procedures and policies that go along with governments, borders, and the like. It also focuses its share of attention on human nature in general, since the hapless but sympathetic 'Burgundians' also have their own foibles. It works by creating sympathy for them simply because they are normal, everyday people like the rest of us, caught up in an unprecedented situation.

The settings are the kind of straightforward, convincing sets that you usually expect from Ealing, and they help in creating the contrast between daily life and the unexpected disruptions that the characters now face. Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne also add quite a bit, as a pair of high-level bureaucrats who seem more interested in deflecting responsibility than in getting problems solved. Things fit together quite well to make a movie that is enjoyable and insightful at the same time.
June 15, 2009
A wonderful, small political film that explores what would happen if a neighborhood in London discovered it was not actually English soil. This is not a great film, but it is quite enjoyable for fans of British comedy. The townsfolk revel in their newfound independence, enabling them to buy and sell rationed goods at will, allowing the local pub to stay open all hours (and with live music!) and devoiding the sales tax. Things go south though when everyone else in London finds out about this little slice of heaven and wants their piece too.
½ September 14, 2005
DELIGHTFUL BRITISH COMEDY, WONDERFUL CAST, ESPECIALLY MARGARET RUTHERFORD AND HERMIONE BADDELEY. VERY AMUSING IN A BRITISH WAY. LOVED IT.
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