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When he is pulled up in court for selling stuff on the street, Horace Pope says he was only doing it while waiting to enlist. The judge calls his bluff and forces him to sign up. Pope makes friends with the easy going but loyal Pedlar Pascoe, who happily goes along with all of his scams in an effort to avoid the front lines and make a bit on the side. However, his scams cause trouble where he goes and there are only so many places he can go before France beckons. Written by
bob the moo
You could never have made a service comedy like On The Fiddle during the World War II years in the United Kingdom. When the UK was fighting for its very life with Hitler only hours away by air, a film with the central character of a conman slacker like Alfred Lynch would have gone over like a lead dirigible. You could do it the USA with us thousands of miles away, but not then in the UK.
Lynch is a fabulous character though, a cockney conman who gets pinched peddling his wares at a recruitment station line and then has to enlist to prove those were his intentions being there. But once in the service he sees Ferengi like lucrative opportunities to make business killings.
His best friend turns out to be an amiable and diffident Sean Connery who just cheerfully accepts life as it comes. He and Lynch become quite a team in their business enterprises and in their skillful avoidance of where the fighting is until almost the end of the war.
The film also has in it the presence of American comedian Alan King of our Army Airs Corps who is as skilled an operator for the Yanks as Lynch and Connery are for their king and country. King was a rising star at the time, Ed Sullivan always had him on his variety show several times a year and no doubt his presence helped sell the film on this side of the pond.
Two great British character actors are here as well. Cecil Parker playing a most pompous air marshal who just can't quite put these guys out of business. Their enterprises do come to his attention. And Stanley Holloway plays a butcher with whom they go into profit selling black market beef from the RAF Commissary. And to hear them tell it, Lynch and Connery are doing a patriotic service as well as making a few bucks on the side.
It's been said that Sean Connery shows no gift for comedy. If you saw A Fine Madness you might have some grounds for saying that, but in On The Fiddle, he's quite droll in some of the lines he drops. Anyway his fans will not be disappointed.
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