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A soldier comes home from the war expecting a warm welcome, but he finds that his wife had taken in a lodger during his absence, and now she and his somewhat dingy daughter seem to be paying much more attention to the lodger than to him.
An American soldier stationed in England is ready to go on his honeymoon with his new wife when his ex-wife, a gorgeous blonde, shows up and insists that they're still married. His two buddies try to help him out of his predicament, but his troubles are only just starting. Written by
Based on a 1944 West End stage success with Ralph Lynn, this is a classic bedroom farce for those who like them that way -- its theatrical origins acknowledged in the credits and clearly apparent when most of the action takes place with characters popping in and out of a single-room set -- enlivened by a sex-pot performance by Diana Dors as blackmailing first wife Candy. The original play was apparently minus the high American quotient in the plot here: the impression given is that the production company had their main eye on selling into the US market, although the precedents for this sort of attempt had not been historically favourable...
There are plenty of easy laughs to be had out of a generally lively script, although the characters are all standard 'types'; ironically, it is sex symbol Dors who presents perhaps the only character who is allowed to develop any depth, as we discover that Candy isn't quite the shallow, man-mad harpy she initially appears to be. (I have to admit that in today's permissive climate, it took me some while to realise that it wasn't just the presence of this uninvited guest but the implications, however technical, for his marital status that had so signally deflated Vining's enthusiasm for his honeymoon...)
Sid James plays the Commander's 'dumb buddy' with enthusiasm, although his accent does wander a little between American, South African and Cockney. David Tomlinson, who was a well-known stage actor at the time (and married to Audrey Freeman, who here plays the pert maid Lucy), produces a classic 'worm that turns' performance as the hapless Frank Betterton; Bonar Colleano is flashy and lively in the Ralph Lynn role of the embarrassed husband on his second honeymoon. (I'm impressed by his prowess at head-stands!)
Production quality seems generally good, although there is one obvious use of background projection for a single scene near the start; puzzlingly, since all the surrounding airport shots appear to be genuine. The print we saw had a soundtrack glitch in the final minute or so of dialogue.
I felt that the final plot twist was a complication too far in a story that appeared to have neatly sorted itself out, but doubtless that was the intention. And while I admit to laughing a good deal as the play (oops-- film) went on, it was not especially memorable fare; well worth what I paid for it (i.e. nothing, as this was a BFI Members' free screening!) but with no pretensions to greatness.
Pure farce isn't really my line, I'm afraid, but if you're a fan of Dors -- or any of the other performers -- the film is worth seeing, though don't expect too much. It isn't sophisticated entertainment, and doesn't pretend to be. Clever, cardboard, and slightly titillating (Diana Decker's nightdress is quite something; Diana Dors' twin-torpedo torso is something else!)
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