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Give Us the Moon (1944)

 |  Comedy  |  18 September 1944 (UK)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 80 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 1 critic

Set just after the end of WWII (but filmed in the middle of it) in a time of general euphoria at having won the war, with full employment and general happiness for all (or nearly all). ... See full summary »

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(novel), , 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Margaret Lockwood ...
Vic Oliver ...
Peter Graves ...
Peter Pyke
Roland Culver ...
Ferdinand
Max Bacon ...
Jacobus
Frank Cellier ...
Pyke
...
Heidi
Eliot Makeham ...
Dumka
Iris Lang ...
Tania
George Relph ...
Otto
Gibb McLaughlin ...
Marcel
Irene Handl ...
Miss Haddock
Henry Hewitt ...
Announcer
Alan Keith ...
Raphael
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Storyline

Set just after the end of WWII (but filmed in the middle of it) in a time of general euphoria at having won the war, with full employment and general happiness for all (or nearly all). Peter, the young wastrel son of a hard working hotel owner doesn't like the idea of having to work for a living. He discovers a society of "White Elephants" who are quite willing to be poor as long as they don't have to work. They are protected and guided by Nina (Margaret Lockwood) and her precocious sister Heidi ('Jean Simmons'. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Comedy

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Release Date:

18 September 1944 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Die Schönbrunner
(uncredited)
Music by Joseph Lanner
Arranged by Bob Busby
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User Reviews

Eccentric, witty, original and hilarious
26 July 2003 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

Now here is a real obscure gem! This film is the story of Peter Pyke, the son of a wealthy hotel owner. Despite his father's insistence, Peter refuses to do anything resembling work, preferring instead to live a carefree life of extravagance, subsidised - of course - by his father. By chance, Peter finds himself in the company of a club of eccentric misfits known as the "White Elephants", whose common bond is their refusal to work, or to do anything that might make them a valuable member of society. The white elephants prefer to make a living by devising unusual and hilarious ways to rip off members of the public, or "suckers" as they are called within the club.

The script is as eccentric as they come, and the dialogue is very witty. It's nonsensical at times, but this only adds to the humour. The best part about this film though, is the wonderful characters. Nina's tall tales about her troubled childhood are hilarious, Sacha, the quintessential con-artist is great and Peter, a playboy with morals, is an excellent lead. For me though, the best character is the dry old fogey Ferdinand, who wouldn't look out of place as the professor of classics in a university, and whose whole life is dedicated to writing a thesis on jealousy. He never gets around to actually putting pen to paper, but he spends plenty of time doing research - by making love to married women and then observing their husbands' reactions. This habit results in him being challenged to a duel by one of his subjects' husbands, and the entire episode is hilarious.

The characters are very likable and I found myself empathising somewhat with their strange and sober logic. For example, Nina tells Peter that she wants her daughter to go to school, because school is where people are taught to be stupid. She wants her daughter to become stupid, she says, because only stupid people are happy. Thus the White Elephants provide an oblique and refreshing view of the world - a cynical picture of humanity from a fencesitter's perspective. The cares of the world do not bother this family of oddballs and by the end of the film, one almost feels as though there is something to be said for avoiding work and contributing nothing to society. The microcosm of the White Elephants Club seems like a much more pleasant place than the world around it. This weird and wonderful film, which is playfully directed, should not be missed!


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