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Captain Ambrose comes from a long line of distinguished sailors...but is all too susceptible to seasickness. After the war, he buys himself a nautical command on shore; a decrepit amusement pier at the British resort town Sandcastle-on-Sea, whose prim town council has outlawed arcade games as a form of gambling! Running the pier like a naval vessel, the captain's determination to make it a modern, going concern meets steady opposition. But with an unexpected new ally, he pursues a remarkable scheme to liberate his "ship" from land authorities... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Alec Guinness is wonderful in this movie. As the movie starts, he wanders around London with a reporter in tow, carrying a keg of rum. He walks into a bank and bangs on the counter, demanding drinking glasses. A stunned Donald Pleasance, playing a bank clerk, stares back and says "we don't have glasses." Alec Guinness looks around in disbelief and says "No glasses? What do you do when famous people come in here?" It's this kind of humor that permeates the film.
Guinness purchases a run-down resort pier and strolls through the place, which is filled with bored pensioners watching cheap stage shows. The pier has been falling apart for decades, but he breathes new life into it by creating a dance hall and offering spirits. The local politicians have other ideas, and Guiness finds out that they have hoodwinked him and, through the rights of eminent domain, plan to purchase the pier back at half the price. He outwits them by registering the pier as a ship, enraging the politicians, and offers "cruises" for people prone to seasickness. It's a cruise that never goes anywhere, but offers food, dancing, music, and even a radar screen for the more mature folks. It's all very proper and charming. Guinness shows off his dance moves, there's a climax involving a dredging boat, and then a bouncy little song at the end accompanied by the ghosts of Guinness's ancestors (all played by him, of course); the song goes on just long enough to make you laugh like hell at the weirdness of it.
This might not be one of Guinness's best roles, but it's still a fun movie.
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