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Escapade (1955)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  5 August 1957 (USA)
6.8
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It concerns a pacifist husband who is so involved in his "causes" he totally neglects his wife and two sons. The wife, ready to leave her husband, finds the schoolmaster knocking on their ... See full summary »

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Title: Escapade (1955)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
John Hampden
Yvonne Mitchell ...
Mrs. Stella Hampden
...
Dr. Skillingworth
Jeremy Spenser ...
L. W. Daventry
Andrew Ray ...
Max Hampden
Marie Lohr ...
Mrs. Hampden - Senior
Colin Gordon ...
Deeson, Reporter
Nick Edmett ...
Paton (as Nicky Edmett)
...
Johnny Hampden
Christopher Ridley ...
Potter
Sean Barrett ...
Warren
Colin Freear ...
Richard 'Young Skilly' Skillingworth
Kit Terrington ...
Smith
Mark Dignam ...
Sykes
James Drake ...
Kirkland
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Storyline

It concerns a pacifist husband who is so involved in his "causes" he totally neglects his wife and two sons. The wife, ready to leave her husband, finds the schoolmaster knocking on their door informing them their boys are going to be expelled for fighting, which he finds ironic in as much as the father is a known pacifist. When they get to the school their sons have disappeared. Written by Tapestry6

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Comedy | Drama

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5 August 1957 (USA)  »

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Delitto blu  »

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1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Overly ambitious, but enjoyable
19 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the mid-1950s (as the British film industry was going through yet another crisis), independent producer David Angel turned out a series of modest but extremely intelligent films, of which the best are this one, "The Sea Shall Not Have Them" (with Michael Redgrave), "Cast a Dark Shadow" (with Dirk Bogarde), and "Carve Her Name With Pride" (with the underrated Virginia McKenna). These films boasted top-notch scripts and actors, but were hampered somewhat by their production values.

In the case of "Escapade," we have a fine cast and plot: John Mills plays a professional pacifist who can't seem to control the violence simmering within his own marriage to Yvonne Mitchell. Fearing a divorce, their sons concoct a plan to put their father's ideas into more pragmatic action; they steal a small airplane, which they plan to fly to Vienna in a calculated stunt that will bring attention to their own pacifist values and that will bring their family closer together. All of this causes much consternation for their school's headmaster, the great Alastair Sim.

In my opinion, Sim makes this movie. So fantastic was his comic timing that he steals every scene he's in -- even from the usually reliable John Mills. Two of Mills' sons are played by Andrew Ray (of "The Mudlark") and Peter Asher (brother of the more famous actress Jane Asher). One of their schoolmates is played by Jeremy Spencer (who would go on to appear in "Summertime" and "The Prince and the Showgirl"). Fans of British cinema should also keep a sharp look-out for character actor Richard Wattis who appears uncredited early on.

Such a cast makes it impossible for any movie to be bad, and indeed, "Escapade" is about 3/4 of a really good movie. Everything is fine while director Philip Leacock keeps a light touch, portraying the ease with which the schoolboys outsmart their parents and teachers. But the final act of the film loses its sense of humor and turns a little mawkish and sentimental. Writer Donald Ogden Stewart (who had already been blacklisted in Hollywood and wrote this screenplay under the pseudonym Gilbert Holland) tries to cram too many serious statements into the last 15 minutes: we get comments on the values of the press, on the potential for world peace, on the idealism of youth and the cynicism of adults, etc. As a result, the finale takes itself too seriously. What we really need is a director like Billy Wilder at the helm -- someone who could undercut the seriousness in order to curtail the sentimentalism. Part of the problem is probably due to the origins of the story as a play, and although Stewart manages to "open" the play successfully, the central gimmick (the fact that we never see Mills' eldest son) is what keeps me from being won over by the film's finale. I just have no reason to idolize/idealize the 16-year-old maverick we never see.

But these few complaints shouldn't stop you from watching this movie. In fact, these weaknesses are admirable because they illustrate just how intelligent the movie is.


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