|Index||2 reviews in total|
Silly comedy based on author Richard Gordon's first book. Gordon is best
known as the creator of the 'Doctor' novels, some of which were
filmed for the big screen between 1954 and 1970, as well as spawning a
seventies TV sitcom. 'The Captain's Table' is very much in the same style:
few near-the-knuckle gags, lots of pretty bikini-clad girls and a veritable
host of old English stereotypes.
Naughty vicars, camp stewards, sexy popsies and batty old ladies abound, but despite a super cast of comedy legends like Donald Sinden, Richard Wattis, John LeMesurier and Miles Malleson, the movie lacks any real fizz and fails to be even half as funny as its 'Doctor' cousins. Lead actor John Gregson is no match for Dirk Bogarde or Leslie Phillips, but Carry On star Joan Sims enlivens the proceedings with a cute cameo as a frumpy spinster.
Worth a look, but don't expect too many hearty laughs.
Like many of its ilk Captain's Table looks like a very typical British
50s comedy and while good fun it's certainly no classic. It's very
reminiscent of the Love Boat TV series with a cast of Britain's best it
should shine - but it's all just for laughs. From a running jokes about
Bridge players, to Donald Sinden's womaniser, it's all pretty much what
you'd expect The women are the stronger characters here, and the plot
is all about them trying to land the new captain. Fun but hardly
However, and it's a huge however, it is one of a handful of films that should be watched as being one of the better examples of the transition in British Cinema from social comedies to the more bawdy comedy of Carry On. You can actually see right up on screen the change coming and the difference between Genevieve, School For Scoundrels, Passport to Pimlico, and the Carry On films. The comedy is not Carry On saucy yet, but sex is a real theme throughout. No one foot on the floor cinema here. No coyness. There are bikinis everywhere and while not saucy it ain't coy either. Something happens in cinema around the Bikini Atoll, 1957, where the Big Bang suddenly does seem to liberate its own double entendre.
The whole of Captain's Table has characters that will become stock in the 1960s, a very camp batman, which Kenneth Williams will make his stock and trade, at the beginning of the film we have a seaman who could be Sid James, and throughout there are touches and ideas that Carry On will take and fly with.
If British Comedy from the 1950s is about class: either upper twits at play or working class succeeding despite authorities, then 1960s is about the triumph of the working man finding status and financial freedom. Captain's Table straddles both these with lots of upper-class twits (the Army Captain in particular) and a more blatant approach.
The film itself is lightweight fluff and fun because of it, but as a record of the changing point in British cinema it holds a place.
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