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 <email@example.com>
The great Alec Guinness gives one of his usual fine performance in this lightweight comedy, wrapped around a typically wacky Ealing conceit - the sailor who can't go to sea buying a pier and running it like a ship. The early set-up sequences, featuring a montage of Guinness playing his ancestors at sea through the ages, are the usual silly, slapstick fun, and our hero's exploits getting his 'ship' up and running, fending off the crooked local council, and generally having a good time are heartwarming and cannot fail to raise a smile. One sequence, where he tries to run a dance hall at the end of the pier and is merrily strutting his stuff on the dancefloor with some local hottie when the authorities arrive to complain, is particularly memorable if only for the mad grin on Guinness' face as he boogies. Lacking the deeper satirical bite or wealth of really hilarious moments and characters powering the true classics of Ealing, this is nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable little film, featuring the standard role-call of vaguely familiar faces (watch out for a youngish Donald Pleasence in an early scene). Not brilliant, but fun.
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