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19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Witty, imaginative ghost story

Author: Watuma from Toronto, Canada
28 June 2000

Although over 50 years' old, this film's wit and imagination have not dated. Two retired 18th-century British army officers accidentally kill themselves and are required to haunt their house in London's Berkeley Square until visited by reigning royalty. All their attempts over the next two centuries to lure the British monarch to the house fail. During that time, their home is occupied by a succession of colourful tenants, including a house of ill repute, an Indian rajah with his harem, a World War I soldiers' hospital and a World War II officers' club.

Robert Morley and Felix Aylmer as the quintessentially British ghosts are excellent. Their characters' witty repartee and dogged determination form the backbone of the movie. The supporting cast is equally good, containing a broad range of England's best character actors of the 1940's.

The sets and costumes are imaginatively rendered and true to the various historic periods covered by the story. The varied and imaginative musical score greatly helps set the mood of each era. Much of the cinematography is remarkable; a single-take lengthy crane shot very early in the film is particularly impressive. This is probably the best movie made by director Vernon Sewell, whose long career encompassed very little distinctive work.

This entertaining and well-made film is worthy of re-discovery.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Invite the Queen to tea, invite the Queen to tea.

Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
14 November 2009

Pathe Pictures presents a British National Films LTD production {filmed at Elstree} of The Ghosts of Berkeley Square. Directed by Vernon Sewell, adapted from the novel "No Nightingales" co-written by Caryl Brahms and S.J. Simons and starring Robert Morley & Felix Aylmer as the erstwhile ghosts.

We start in the afterlife during what appears to be a council held by the upper-crust spooks. Here we meet Col. Kelsoe and Gen. Burlap {Morley & Aylmer} who begin to tell us the strange tale of how they came to be condemned for eternity to haunt a mansion in the Mayfair district of London. During the reign of Queen Ann they had planned to capture a war commander in their home in an effort to avert a crisis; but in the process of testing their own cunning contraption they killed themselves! So the sentence is given for them to stay in ghostly purgatory until a reigning monarch visits the house; thus only then will the sentence be deemed to have been served.

The story then sees the decades roll by as the ghosts "live" in hope of the monarchy actually turning up. Not going to be easy because the house falls to a number of quirky inhabitants and is used for a number of interesting things. Be it a place for French dandies to drink and gamble, a Harem, or the Tex Barnum Theatre-with each new occasion causing incredulity to them and fun for us as the ghosts set about either haunting or joining in with the current owners. Morley & Aylmer are a great double act, at times grumpy with each other {they don't speak to each other for 60 odd years!}, at others cunningly effective as they embrace the almost hopeless situation they find themselves in. A number of fine British character actors pop in and out to spice up the story {Thesiger, Hyde-White et al}, and the production is a very good one {note the costumes as each different time period fills out the story}. Full of delightful whimsy from start to finish, this is highly recommended viewing for fans of British comedy. Hey,! when you got a cuckoo clock that tells the year instead of the time......well you know you are on to a winner. 7/10

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

a witty & unusual film....

Author: blighty-3 from luton england
27 February 2001

Having just watched this marvellous film of wit & charm I felt compelled to comment. A witty movie full of wonderful characters.

A gem of it's kind recommended for anyone who believes black & white means a bad movie but is prepared to be convinced.

However, I do not see why it is classified as horror/comedy as there is no trace of horror in the whole film.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Very entertaining

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
13 January 2011

I thoroughly enjoyed The Ghosts of Berkeley Square. It is perhaps too short, but there is a huge amount to like about it. The film has a very witty script that kept me amused all the time, brisk pacing and a fun story. The cinematography is quite remarkable, and the costumes and sets are imaginative. The music by Hans May is also sprightly, Vernon Sewell's direction is assured and all the characters are very likable. The cast are equally terrific, Robert Morley especially seems to be having a ball and it shows, it was a pleasure to watch him. It is just a shame that The Ghosts of Berkeley Square is so underseen, it isn't a favourite by all means but I thought it was very entertaining and a fun way to spend an hour-and-a-half of a day at home. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A rollicking family-friendly comedy

Author: James Tardy from Australia
30 April 2016

In the 1700s a pair of rum military officers plan to kidnap the Duke of Marlborough. The officers die testing a trap-door on the afternoon they are supposed to be serving tea to Queen Anne. As punishment for missing their date, they must haunt the house until royalty visits again.

Although they try to attract royalty they seem to be doomed to failure, and the house is leased to many different colorful-characters including French courtesans, circus performers and an Indian emperor.

A light-hearted film full of dry-humour quips and farce. The humour would have appealed to audiences looking for escapism and whimsy; however like all films of this time it contains subtle war-propaganda to inspire the masses.

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9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Wartime film genre arrived too late

Author: clevelander from North East England
10 November 2003

The cream of British comic acting talent could not disguise the somewhat thin script, that was clearly intended as a wartime morale booster, but somehow appeared past its sell-by date, in 1947. Its true length should have been half an hour but they didn't have TV then.

Nevertheless it has some fascination as a period piece, and we are kept in dull suspense wondering why they are waiting for the visit of a monarch, an interesting twist, which gives it its patriotic wartime message.

The best cameo is undoubtedly Yvonne Arnaud as the scatty Bordello keeper (who - for the benefit of those below a certain age or not French or British - continued to have great success on BBC comedy radio throughout the 1950s till her death aged 66.)

Robert Morley too, as usual, never fails to entertain.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Genteel ghost comedy must have been dated on release

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
2 March 2015

Vernon Sewell made many fine little films as director, including GHOST SHIP and CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR, but unfortunately THE GHOSTS OF BERKELEY SQUARE isn't one of them. It's a potboiler that must have been dated even when it came out in post-war Britain, most resembling the 'old dark house' comedies of the 1930s. Sadly the script is very thin and the humour can best be described as genteel, especially for modern viewers.

The loose plotting sees a couple of ghosts, played by Robert Morley (THEATRE OF BLOOD) and Felix Aylmer (THE MUMMY), haunting a mansion and coming into contact with the various tenants who inhabit the property. There's a PT Barnum-alike who populates the place with various foreigners (leading to some excruciatingly awful, borderline racist moments), along with ghost researchers and some cracked old biddies. The narrative is episodic in tone with a rather dark ending that brings things right up to date.

Sadly, the humour just isn't funny any more, and seemingly consists of the ghosts materialising at will or else using their supernatural skills to cheat at cards, etc. The special effects are okay for their age and the cast do their best, particularly the vibrant Robert Morley, but this is completely forgettable film even for genre fans.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Creaky British Post War Comedy

Author: Mozjoukine ( from Australia
11 January 2015

This embarrassingly unfunny comedy comes from the quality trough in British Film-making that followed WW2.

The viewer cringes for Robert Morely and Felix Aylmer called on to front a story cobbled together from THE GHOST GOES WEST and FOREVER & A DAY, which drew on earlier sources themselves. In 1708, the "Two Old Sillies" off themselves in a dumb plot to immobilize the Duke of Marlborough and they are condemned to remain in the house (where they shared their bed!) as down the years it is tenanted by card players, dancing girls and circus performers, until we get to the Great War.

Characteristically for the day, considerable expense has been taken with the costumes and a major set and they people the thing with a celebrity support cast to compensate for the lack of marquee names. Effects work is as feeble as the jokes "Sheik!" "No, we better not touch him" Ho Ho!

Hans May's pastiche score is the best element.

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