Stimpson is thrilled to get an invitation to helm a prestigious headmaster conference, and takes a day off to travel to the event. Alas, he makes an uncharacteristic mistake and gets on the wrong train. Determined not to be late, he scrambles for other travel options. This sets in motion a series of screwball mishaps involving police pursuit, a monastery, misguided "shortcuts" and other tomfoolery. Funny enough but, unfortunately, Cleese's main comic foil is a teen student played by a shy, novice actress with little skill and a wedge-like hairstyle that badly dates the film.
But it is a really good movie. Cleese at his very best in my opinion.
And a very few which manage to pull it off, and remain funny to virtually everyone, over a period of several years.
This John Cleese vehicle from the mid 1980s manages to fit into the latter category - it is simply such a very well crafted traditional comedy, that it is impossible not to be touched.
Here we see Cleese very much in Basil Fawlty mode, as an aspiring head-teacher for whom things just don't run smooth when it really matters.
The other classic elements of British Farce are there - major misunderstandings, people getting undresses, well-intentioned old ladies who say the wrong things at the wrong times, and of course Geoffrey Palmer as a straight man.
And just a touch of poignant surrealism in the way the final minute leading into the credits is played out, to offset the traditional production values.
It's straightforward, and unchallenging, and probably the best film about lateness ever made. High praise indeed, for something so mainstream.