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Only Two Can Play (1962)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  20 March 1962 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 639 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 4 critic

John Lewis is bored by his librarian's job and henpecked at home. Then Liz, wife of a local counciller, sets her sights on him. But this is risky stuff in a Welsh valleys town - if he and ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 4 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
John Lewis
...
Liz
Virginia Maskell ...
Jean Lewis
Kenneth Griffith ...
Ieuan Jenkins (as Kenneth Griffiths)
Raymond Huntley ...
Vernon
David Davies ...
Benyon
Maudie Edwards ...
Meredith Edwards ...
Clergyman on the Committee
...
Salter
Frederick Piper ...
Mr. Davies
Graham Stark ...
Hyman
Eynon Evans ...
Town Hall Clerk
John Arnatt ...
Bill
Sheila Manahan ...
Mrs. Jenkins
...
Gareth L. Probert
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Storyline

John Lewis is bored by his librarian's job and henpecked at home. Then Liz, wife of a local counciller, sets her sights on him. But this is risky stuff in a Welsh valleys town - if he and Liz ever manage to consummate their affair, that is. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 March 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Segunda Mulher  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frances Bennett (uncredited in IMDb full cast) plays the amorous lady in the Mobile Library at the end of the film. See more »

Goofs

When John mentions going to parties just so that people can get the name of his tailor, the shot before shows Jean with her arms down. When it cuts back, she is resting her head on her right hand. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Pretty Girl in Library: Good morning. Have you "Conditioned Reflexes"?
John Lewis: Uh...
Pretty Girl in Library: It's by Pavlov.
John Lewis: Yes... It's out at the moment but if you'd like to leave your name, I could reserve it for you.
See more »

Connections

References Now, Voyager (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The private life of bookworms
26 October 2012 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Understated comedic drama stars the sardonic Sellers as a Welsh librarian, bored by the blandness of his job and domestic labours, who develops a pathological weakness for women to fill the void, shamelessly flirting with customers, neighbours teetering on the brink of adultery at virtually every turn. He meets married well-to-do Liz (Zetterling) and the two become embroiled in a relationship that threatens to escalate into infidelity, though neither seem capable of consummating the sexual innuendo that's beckoning a heated interlude.

Virginia Maskell is first-rate as Sellers' stay-at-home wife, chained to the kitchen sink of life with two ankle-biters for whom to care while her husband attends literary parties and engages in dalliances at her expense. Maskell is clearly a cut above the hijinks, though Sellers is equally adept with this type of dry comedy and the two trade some very witty and at times poignant dialogue. It's a shame that Maskell couldn't capitalise on her talent, as she would have been destined for great performances, had she lived longer.

Kenneth Griffith plays Sellers' henpecked friend, while Graham Stark has a small role as an unwelcome library patron whose choice of book and subsequent indulgence ("yes I can see you enjoyed it") places Sellers under a great test of sufferance. That's future "Q" Desmond Llewellyn as a vicar aboard Sellers' daily bus route.

Astute dialogue, both sharp in its observations, and otherwise very witty ("how about the complete history of codpieces"), some sombre and pointed, "Only Two Can Play" is a measured study of unrealised ambition and the weight of everyday domestic pressures. Probably not for the casual Sellers' fan club, but should certainly keep others entertained, whether you're after dry humour or bittersweet drama.


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