Work has been going with a bang for freelance assassin Hawkins but a job in England just after the war is a different matter. His apparently easy target, a pompous government minister, is ... See full summary »
Work has been going with a bang for freelance assassin Hawkins but a job in England just after the war is a different matter. His apparently easy target, a pompous government minister, is off for some hanky-panky at the Green Man on the south coast, where Hawkins is planning to retire him for good. But before he can get on with this the hit-man has a procession of unwanted visitors at home to dispose of - one way or another. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
THE GREEN MAN is one of the funniest black comedies ever made, but it has been hidden from most movie fans because it came in a period of many films from Britain of equal value and with higher star quality (i.e., Alec Guiness and Peter Sellers as the star, rather than Alistair Sim, their equal in British cinema). Sim influence Guiness (who copied him in appearance in THE LADYKILLERS) and he appeared to better effect in film with Sellers (THE MILLIONAIRESS), but he never accepted knighthood or got the Oscar like Guiness did (nor did he get nominated for an Oscar like Sellers did on several occasions). So he gets an unfair short shrift, although there is considerable evidence that he was their total equal as an actor...certainly as a comic actor.
Sim is a professional assassin, who blows up his targets. However, he insists on agreeing to destroy the men he is hired to kill only if they happen to be rather pompous as well as politically objectionable. At the start of the film one sees him blow up a Latin American dictator with a bomb in a soccer ball. He also blows up a self-important millionaire with an exploding hammer (used to call a stockholders meeting to order). His target in the film is a rising, self-satisfied politician...and who can better personify smug self-satisfaction in British comedy than Raymond Huntley. Sim plans to hoist Huntley with his own petard - a recording of his normal, boring speech, set to blow up at a particular moment of dullness. Huntley is going to a seaside resort for the weekend, and Sim plans to go after him.
Unfortunately for the normally careful Sim, a cleaning lady stumbles on his plot, and he has to tie her up. But she manages to get the attention of vacuum cleaner salesman George Cole, who slowly realizes that the "helpful" Sim is not so helpful. Sim manages to get to the hotel, but Cole soon follows him.
Huntley is there, but his weekend is not so clean - he has a young lady there for some non-political activity. Also at the hotel (which is called "The Green Man") is Terry-Thomas, also there for the weekend, and hoping to become lucky. There is also the normal set of normal eccentrics that people British farces like this.
So the last half of the film is following the following points: Will Sim manage to avoid Cole, and get at Huntley? Will Cole find Sim, and save Huntley, without getting Terry-Thomas sufficiently angry at him for spoiling all of his attempts at picking up ladies? And will Huntley have his improper weekend, and enjoy hearing his own speech? Sim's bomb plot against Huntley hits one snag which for sheer unexpected effrontery is hard to top - he sets it in motion, only to find he has not counted on an active critic. It is only a ten second bit in the film, but it is a hoot!
16 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?