Worth a glance for historical cultural reasons but stiff, wooden and not particularly funny or entertaining
I had never even heard of the "Somewhere on " film series far less seen it and so I decided I should check at least one out as part of my overall experience of film. Almost a year went by from my "discovery" of these films before I got the chance to see one of them on television which is quite telling when you consider the multi-platform digital world in which we now live. Anyway, this is the third film in the series and I cannot comment on whether it is representative but I'm guessing the series probably doesn't vary from this one very much.
The film opens with a terribly wooden dialogue scene that wins the prize for mentioning the title of the film but also wins a prize for being one of the most painfully establishing scenes I've seen in quite some time. After this we vary wildly in tone. Scattered here and there are "straight" scenes that are supposed to provide some sort of narrative to hold the film together. Ignoring the success of this for the moment, the reason for this attempt at backbone is that the rest of the film essentially consists of music hall comic sketches that fit broadly in with the "military service" scenario. I think it probably goes without saying that the straight scenes are as painful as the opening scene but fortunately they are surprisingly infrequent.
What makes up the majority then is this rather "cheeky chappy" comedy that is interesting even if it doesn't really offer much beyond this. What I speak of is "laughter", which is of course its main aim. Maybe it is the passage of time rather than the fact it is not very good, but the film isn't that funny and really it just seems chaotic. This is where it is interesting because it does capture the feeling of working class, music hall humour; OK it is not a great example of it but it is still a way into this long gone world. This access is provided by the cheeky capering of Randle, Korris and Vincent, all of whom offer quick fire disrespect to authority figures. Their material isn't that good but their delivery is funny and strangely quaint. I liked Cobbe's turn but it is terrible to watch Lupino and McGrath creaking their way through their "straight" scenes.
Overall then this is a film that is creaking not only with age but also with the wooden performances of some of the actors. The laughs are sparse and it has dated but I suppose it does have a certain historical and cultural value as a snapshot of a style of humour from yesteryear.
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