Businessman Paul Bultitude is sending his son Dick to a boarding school. While holding a magic stone from India, he wishes that he could be young again. His wish is immediately fulfilled ...
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Businessman Paul Bultitude is sending his son Dick to a boarding school. While holding a magic stone from India, he wishes that he could be young again. His wish is immediately fulfilled and the two change bodies with each other. Mr Bultitude becomes a school boy who smokes cigars and has a very conservative view on child upbringing, while his son Dick becomes a gentleman who spends his time drinking lemonade and arranging children's parties. Written by
There's no film quite like Peter Ustinov's Vice Versa, the clever playfulness is constant and yet is never so overpowering as to bore you. I hadn't seen it for nearly 10 years before tonight but remembered most of the excruciatingly erudite and formal dialogue enunciated by the melodramatic caricatures of the ridiculously socially atrophied Victorians perfectly.
Father Roger Livesey and son Anthony Newley (in his 2nd film) make unfortunate hasty wishes holding the stolen mystical Garuda Stone changing their bodies around. The upshot being the young father is sent back to boarding school to astound the natives by the middle aged son who begins to astound his butler and doctor by his sudden propensity for sherbet and ginger ale. Their separate adventures form the film, delightfully and uniquely presented and acted. Favourite bits: The courtroom bursting into The Merry Wives Of Windsor and the swift justice meted out to the duelists because the judge had to get off to Rickmansworth; Reaching for the note on the floor of the school chapel but being startlingly and loudly spotted by headmaster James Robertson Justice - my favourite film of his.
I think it might possibly help to be British or have a working knowledge of the Boys Own Paper and Victorian penny dreadfuls to fully appreciate this, or maybe just keep in mind that this is a fond and gently relentless satire on the genre. In a unique whimsical class of its own, I've always loved this Vice Versa Version but it probably won't appeal to the more serious who prefer sober message to witty inconsequentiality - and of course masochists who would hate all 97 keenly watched minutes.
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