Maurice Elvey's last film is a brittle comedy with a serious theme as an old-line British advertising firm finally decides to not automatically fire women after they get married.... and the newly married leads find out that progress has its costs.
Elvey had a long career in British films, forty-four years behind the camera and almost two hundred films, sometimes head of production at his studio, but he seems to have been the forgotten man of the British cinema. With a few exceptions, his works are not well remembered and even his best-known successes, such as HINDLE WAKES have their flair attributed to others. Part of this is that he has no easily recognized style: his choices always serve the picture, rather than changing the picture to suit his style. Critics, film students and reviewers always like it when you can tell who directed a film without actually having to read the credits. Elvey was too canny for that. Let's look at a couple of tricks he pulls out of his pocket that you might not notice if you weren't looking for them.
In this movie, Elvey's camera is largely still; the few sequences in which it moves - in particular, a scene in which the wife is about to leave on a business trip -- the camera moves only to maintain composition.
This being a working class comedy, even if the people are upper class workers, Elvey has an air of depression and cheapness in the details, from the annoying radio jingles to the way doors sound when they close, to the way that water heaters refuse to work properly. This is a very accomplished rendition of what could have been another meaningless programmer, like so much of Elvey's work.
The film industry was collapsing, not only in Britain, but over the world. Someone had to retire, and who better than a seventy-year-old back number like Elvey? People never knew what they missed.
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