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It's time for the annual London to Brighton antique car rally, and Alan McKim and Ambrose Claverhouse are not going to let their friendship stop them from trying to humiliate each other. Along the way, some old jealousies are kindled to the point where the two men decide to have a "friendly" wager on who will be the first back to London. Once the competitive juices get all fired up, however, it quickly becomes a nasty, hotly-contested affair. Ambrose's companion must suffer through her "maiden voyage" on the rally, while Mrs. McKim, on the other hand, is a long-time sufferer of her husband's obsession. Written by
Despite being one of Britain's most well-loved films, this was apparently hell to make. Director Henry Cornelius was vetoed on most of his first choices - Dirk Bogarde turned him down, as had Claire Bloom - and he was forced to make it at studios he didn't want to work at. Cornelius' displeasure was acutely felt by cast and crew as he didn't hide how unhappy he was. He was also seemingly highly lecherous. Consequently both Dinah Sheridan and Kay Kendall carried whistles on them at all times in case they ever found themselves alone with him. Olive Dodds, Rank's head of contract artists, later testified that every leading cast member came to her at one point and said they wanted off the film. See more »
As the cars race through London towards the end of the film, a group of cyclists following More's car appear and disappear as the camera position changes. See more »
At the end of the opening credits: For their patient cooperation the makers of this film express their thanks to the officers and members of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain. Any resemblance between the deportment of our characters and any club members is emphatically denied - - - by the club. See more »
A chirpy British comedy following the fortunes of two overly-competitive friends who enter vintage cars in the famous London to Brighton rally. John Gregson stars as the dour lawyer Alan who, baited by his larger than life friend (Kenneth More), accepts a bet on who will return to London first.
Dinah Sheridan and Fay Kendal provide glamorous and dependable support, with Kendal sparkling as an upper class fashion model with an unexpected capacity for trumpet playing and heavy drinking. Much of the film is typical race and chase stuff, but avoids the usual potholes of over-engineered stunts and tricks. The characters are far more interesting than that!
A brilliant harmonica soundtrack by Larry Adler keeps the tempo and spirits high and the full colour production provides a ready backdrop of 1950's town and country scenes. Escapist entertainment from a period when British cinema boomed.
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