Saturday, May 19, 2012

Moral: a tontine is a bad idea

Unfortunately, my quasi-narcoleptic ways continue lately when it comes to ol' fashioned movie watching.  I fell asleep during part of The Wrong Box, but I saw the most crucial scene, fortunately.  More on that later.  Now, I'm not familiar with Bryan Forbes' directing oeuvre, but aside from the original Stepford Wives it appears to be a bit craptacular, sorry to say.  Not my cup of tea, anyhow.  That's just me.  But The Wrong Box is pretty okay in my book!  Most directors would be lucky to have a fine film like this on their résumé.
Of course, it was a different era.  A viewing companion of mine pointed out that it seemed more like an American production than a British one.  Take the epic train crash, for example.  Looked kinda expensive!  I just hope it turned out to Larry Gelbart's liking.  He was kinda picky.
The plot.  If you're like me, you learned about a tontine in one particular Simpsons episode... The film starts with a tontine involving about twenty boys, maybe more.  We then get a montage of comedy deaths.  A bit monotonous after a while, no two ways about it.  We then come down to the last two participants: two brothers, Joseph and Masterman Finsbury.  We're also introduced to the various characters that inhabit the space around them, mostly Peter Cook, Dudley Moore (Team Joseph), and Michael Caine and the scrumptious Nanette Newman (Team Masterman).  Lots of stuff happens, and it's like a Swiss freakin' watch.  I dare not spoil it anymore than I already have, so let me just say that the film was worth it for Peter Sellers.  If you're like me, you've memorized Dr. Strangelove to death, and of course Strangelove himself is one of the great comic creations, perhaps ever.  Dr. Pratt is another.  He plays the doctor that one of the characters has to go to in order to get an illicit death certificate.  When Dr. Pratt asks "Is it night or day?"  Well, you had me at 'Is it night or day,' let's put it that way.  God bless YouTube!  Pratt #1, Pratt #2.  That's about all I can say about it.  Three stars for the movie, four stars for Dr. Pratt.

***1/2 (**** for Peter Sellers)
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

p.s. Spoiler Alert: If you can't see the whole movie, the plot is summed up at the end, if rather abruptly.

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