Not A Single Successfully Created Scene Appears, As Pervasive Insipidity Is Unrelieved.
Here is a film that has been assembled upon quite a promising substructure: an English-made comedy set at a remote West Country estate populated by clever theatrical types who must cope with such plot devices as marital infidelity and young love. Situations involving mistaken identity and impersonation are abundant. Yet, at the conclusion of the sorry affair, a viewer will find it a formidable task to fathom quite what the creators of the piece believed that they were after achieving. Charles Pentwick (Hugh Wakefield), a London based theatre "impresario", has decamped to Cranberry Cottage, an isolated and, hopefully for Charles, serene rural abode, accompanied by a principal actor from his stable, Bobby Bentley (Derek Bond), attempting thereby to recover from the shock of his wife Margaret (Helen Shingler) having left him because of her mistaken presumption that her husband has been inconstant with an enticing young actress, Fritzi (Zena Marshall). However, his sojourn will not be untroubled, as a flock of friends, family members, and others, drop in, where their consistently foolish behaviour is utilized for the amusement of themselves, although few audiences will appreciate it at all. This is a leaden essay at comedy, sunk by a logic divested script and sluggish direction, its assembled characters including such as a crossdressing Bentley of the silliest type that one may imagine, an "ex" scoutmaster whose shameless gaucherie is disconcerting to watch, and a supposedly vampish Fritzi, encumbered by a Gallic seasoned accent that she apparently cannot avoid replacing with a standard English inflection throughout her performance. Following an estimable first effort with A GIRL IN A MILLION (1946), director Francis Searle's work declined notably, as evidenced by this less than acceptable endeavour at humour. The lead, Wakefield, co-scripts and it is plain that he should have reconsidered such an adventure before it began, as the screenplay is simply awful and not an improvement over what is a lacklustre original play. The cast generally seems to be discomfited by a series of scenes marked with deplorably unfunny lines, abetted through inept stabs at physical comedy and an obvious collective lack of enthusiasm for this flaccid fiasco that must have been excruciating to perform. Even the striking and able Shingler, totally wasted here, is markedly abashed while she walks through her role.
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