Brittany Runs a Marathon
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Fond memories of when film comedy was funny and family friendly without being dumb.
Watching this you realise that Michael Cain is the same in every film he has ever done, this is no exception! The film however is very enjoyable, but Cain is tiresome in this comedy romp.
Very clever typical Brit comedy of that era. Completely entertaining and easy to watch multiple times.
Increasingly tiresome comedy vehicle centred around the fight to win the proceeds from a will. A good, eclectic cast of comedians and respected thesps, some occasionally witty lines/sequences, plush production design, but unfortunately it's just not very funny. I defy anyone to unravel the plot, but it's nice to see the likes of Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Peter Sellers, Ralph Richardson, John Mills, Wilfrid Lawson, Tony Hancock et al sharing screen time at least.
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.
i love almost everything about this movie :D
especially Michael Caine
A very interesting comedy. It actually makes you think and leaves you wandering what will happen next
The word lampoon comes to mind. Had to see it for the filming in bath and the cast.
Love that movie. So funny!
One of the greatest comedies of all time. Peter Sellers venal doctor cameo alone would make this movie hilarious, but the great,witty dialogue, classic performances of the outstanding cast, and wonderful adaption of the Robert Louis Stevenson and stepson book make it a comedy home run that ranks up there with Monty Python and the Holy Grail,Woody Allen's Love and Death, and A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Forum.