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A funny and fast-moving comedy, with hapless market-trader Sidcup (Sid Field) falling foul of Cromwell's thuggish soldiery, teaming up with Nell Gwynne (Margaret Lockwood) then running messages for a Royalist infiltrator, played by Field's straight-man Jerry Desmonde. It all ends with a chase in a castle, with Sidcup aided by a friendly ghost (Irene Handl).
Early on, Sidcup's barrow with 'ye private enterprise' prominently marked on the side, is overturned by one of Cromwell's officers and the film is, at least in part, a mild send-up of the Attlee government's retention of some wartime regulations and other controls, increasingly unpopular in 1948. Some imaginatively droll character names include Judge Gorebucket, Murdercasket and Mosspot, the latter played by Peter Bull. IMDb lists the narrator at the start as John Snagge, but he sounds to me more like Hugh Sinclair.
Field's work on stage was highly regarded; he was an inspiration for Frankie Howerd and particularly Tony Hancock, and would surely have been a great success on TV, but sadly died at just 45. No doubt he wasn't stretched by the material here, but is still funny and likable. The revelation is Margaret Lockwood, then Britain's most popular star, who put herself forward for the part as a great admirer of Field, and hopefully to escape the 'Wicked Lady' image, even though it meant second billing. She gives a sparkling performance and is ideal in the role, but typically, the British press, having once helped to build her reputation, now decided that she needed taking down a peg or two, with several notices being hostile and occasionally downright spiteful. Never over-blessed with self-confidence, she didn't attempt a similar role again.
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