The Wrong Box (1966)

The Wrong Box (1966)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Wrong Box Photos

Movie Info

In this film, the parents of several British boys place 1000 pounds in a pool, to be invested and expanded upon. The resultant fortune will go to the last surviving member of the tontine. Finally, only two of the tontine participants are left: aged brothers with murder on their minds.
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Columbia Pictures Corporation


Jeremy Lloyd
as Brian Allen Harvey
James Villiers
as Sydney Whitcombe Sykes
Graham Stark
as Ian Scott Fife
Ralph Richardson
as Joseph Finsbury
Michael Caine
as Michael Finsbury
Peter Cook
as Morris Finsbury
John Mills
as Masterman Finsbury
Dudley Moore
as John Finsbury
Nicholas Parsons
as Alan Fraser Scrope
Wilfred Lawson
as Peacock
Nanette Newman
as Julia Finsbury
Tony Hancock
as Detective
Peter Sellers
as Dr. Pratt
Wilfrid Lawson
as Peacock
Thorley Walters
as Lawyer Patience
Gerald Sim
as 1st Undertaker
Peter Graves
as Military Officer on Train
Irene Handl
as Mrs. Hackett
Norman Bird
as Clergyman
John Le Mesurier
as Dr. Slattery
Norman Rossington
as 1st Rough
Diane Clare
as Mercy
Tutte Lemkow
as Bournemouth Strangler
Charlie Bird
as Bonn's Vanman
Joseph Behrmann
as Vanman's Mate
Marianne Stone
as Spinster on Train
Michael Bird
as Countryman
Thomas Gallagher
as 2nd Rough
Reg Lye
as 3rd Undertaker
Joseph Behrman
as Vanman's Mate
John Junkin
as 1st Engine Driver
Roy Murray
as 1st Stoker
Tony Thawnton
as 2nd Undertaker
George Selway
as Railway Vanman
Vanda Godsell
as Mrs. Goodge
Donald Tandy
as Ticket Collector
Lionel Gamlin
as 2nd Engine Driver
Terry Martin
as 2nd Stoker
George Spence
as Workman in Road
Dick Gregory
as Leicester Young Fielding
Willoughby Goddard
as James White Wragg
Valentine Dyall
as Oliver Pike Harmsworth
Leonard Rossiter
as Vyvyan Alastair Montague
Hamilton Dyce
as Derek Lloyd Peter Digby
Donald Oliver
as Gunner Sergeant
Totti Truman Taylor
as Lady at Launching
Frank Singuineau
as Native Bearer
Michael Scott Lees
as Young Digby
André Morell
as Club Butler
Avis Bunnage
as Queen Victoria
Penny Brahms
as Twittering Females on Moor
Maria Kazan
as Twittering Females on Moor
Freddy Clark
as Constable
George Hillsden
as Constable
Alf Mangun
as Gravedigger
Norman Morris
as Gravedigger
Louise Noland
as Mourner
John Tateham
as Verger
Peggy Ray
as Child with Governess
John Parker
as Undertaker's Assistant
John Fitch
as Undertaker's Assistant
Norman Hibbert
as Undertaker's Assistant
Jimmy Scott
as Undertaker's Assistant
Alistair Dick
as Undertaker's Assistant
Dan Cressey
as Judas
Lindsay Hooper
as Matthew
John Morris
as Himself
Denis Cowles
as Sotheby's Partner
Patsy Snell
as Girls on Train
Andrea Allen
as Girls on Train
Phillip D. Stewart
as Elderly Man on Train
Rita Tobin
as Elderly Woman on Train
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Critic Reviews for The Wrong Box

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (3)

Some of the gags crumble on impact, others are stretched out like taffy, but there is enough fun left over to leave most moviegoers happily wallowing in greed, sex, homicide, body snatching and other nefarious diversions.

Full Review… | April 21, 2010
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Mills amusingly hams his way through two or three sequences as one of the dying brothers. Richardson, bland, imperturable old bore, is superb. He and Wilfrid Lawson, portraying a decrepit butler, virtually carry away the acting honors.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

Some sections and bits are funnier than others. Some are labored and dull. It is that sort of story, that sort of comedy. But it adds up to a lively lark.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

It is a farce with a lot of class and style, carried off with some brilliant acting. It also has what most films with idiot plots lack, restraint, subtlety and sly wit.

Full Review… | November 5, 2011
Laramie Movie Scope

All of the smaller roles are deliciously cast, with several of the best comic actors England had to offer in that decade, a heyday of British humor.

Full Review… | April 21, 2010
TV Guide

Mildly amusing silly black comedy set in Victorian England.

Full Review… | June 2, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Wrong Box

After watching the DVD of the remains of their BBC show "Not Only... But Also", I was convinced that Peter Cook and Dudley Moore was the greatest comedy duo since Laurel and Hardy. After watching The Wrong Box, I'm still convinced of it. There is a tiny bit of business that Cook and Moore do in The Wrong Box that had me laughing harder than anything else in the movie. It's during a rather dry expository speech in which Cook shares his diabolical plan with Moore. They stand very close. Occasionally, Cook touches the tip of his finger to Moore's nose very lightly, after which Moore, slightly bothered, rubs his nose. Cook then touches the tip of his finger to Moore's nose again, and Moore rubs it. Cook does this three or four times. There is no comic build to it, there is no Rule of 3 capper, there is no explosion of "STOP TOUCHING MY NOSE!" Moore just lets it happen, ever so slightly bothered, and it all just sits there without any explanation. It's hard to believe by my dry recount of it, but it's fracturingly funny, and I'd bet a million bucks it wasn't in the script, but added by Cook and Moore during the shoot. Their instincts were impeccable, their ability to enhance each other's talents was astounding. Of course, Moore went on to become a big star, but neither of them was funnier than when they had the other to work off. The Wrong Box is a very funny movie, but I wouldn't put it into "classic" territory. It was written by Larry Gelbart and Burt Shevelove, American writers. Gelbart had moved to London to oversee the West End production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which he had co-written, and ended up staying for nine years. The Wrong Box feels distinctly British, there is no American quality to it at all, and one wonders just how much of that was Gelbart's talent for his adopted country and how much was producer and director tweaking, the sausage-making process all scripts go through after they're sold. There is a rather convoluted plot that never satisfactorily resolves. The film is more about the characterizations, like many of the better British comedies. Some performances really stand out, apart from Cook and Moore. Of course, Peter Sellers comes through with a hilarious and, if you give it a moment's thought, horrifying portrayal of a corrupt, down-and-out doctor who willingly sells an uncompleted death certificate to Peter Cook's character. Morris Finsbury (Cook): I was wondering - do you by any chance happen to have any - uh - death certificates? Doctor Pratt (Sellers): Do I happen to have any death certificates? What a monstrous thing, sir - what a monstrous thing to say to a member of the medical profession! Do you realize the enormity of what you have just said? Morris Finsbury: Yes. Do you have any death certificates? Doctor Pratt: How many do you want? Perfectly structured and performed joke, this. The other performance that struck me was Ralph Richardson's performance as the pedantic Joseph Finsbury. He plays an agreeable fellow that chatters on and on in wearying, encyclopedic detail on any subject that crosses the transom, utterly oblivious that he is enervating all who are stuck listening to him. This is the kind of affable but crashingly dull persona that Michael Palin perfected in Monty Python with his Mr. Pither/Arthur Putey type characters. I wonder if there are other predecessors to this character that I don't know about. Somewhere in Dickens or Sterne, I'll bet.


Not often bwa-ha-ha funny but a collection of skilled British comedians poking fun at conventions of manners. And at dead bodies. The great opening bit of how members of a money-awarded-to-last-survivor pact called a tontine met their demise was an admiring homage to Kind Hearts and Coronets. An extra half-star for Peter Sellers' contribution in one of his funniest small roles as the unethical addle-brained cat fancier Dr. Pratt.

Doctor Strangeblog
Doctor Strangeblog

Super Reviewer

Really really funny. Seeing Peter Cook and Dudley Moore ham it up is just icing on the cake. :)

Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

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