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A wealthy old man dies and leaves his holdings--including a brothel and a gambling den, racing greyhounds and a sleazy bar--to his eccentric Aunt Clara. Clara vows to "clean up" her new establishments, but complications ensue when she visits the crooked gambling den--just as it's being raided by the police. Written by
"Aunt Clara" was probably a vehicle for Margaret Rutherford to display her unique subtle, disarming type of humor. I say probably because the picture was hijacked by Ronald Shiner, a vaudeville-type given to bombast and overacting. The styles of the principals are at great variance and on several occasions Miss Rutherford was simply overwhelmed by Mr. Shiner, whose persona has the same effect as, say, Carmen Miranda - an arresting presence that you can't take your eyes off whenever he is on screen. And he is in nearly every scene.
Don't get me wrong. He was funny enough and carried his part well enough, but I put the DVD in to watch Miss Rutherford, who was hard-pressed to compete with the over-the-top style of Mr. Shiner. I savored as I could the moments when she delivered her fey, understated brand of comedy in a part made for her talents as a naive spinster who inherits a fortune from a disreputable nephew. You have to listen for her, but you just watch him.
All in all, it was an enjoyable movie which could have been better but for the complaints mentioned above. It could have been rated a 7 but I settled for 6. Quick note to UK contributors; your ratings for films made in the UK are often misleading. Some even-handedness is needed, as abnormally high ratings hinder rather than help.
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