6.8/10
1,196
21 user 12 critic

The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963)

Unrated | | Comedy, Crime | 17 May 1963 (Ireland)
The crooks in London know how it works. No one carries guns and no one resists the police. Then a new gang appears that go one better. They dress as police and steal from the crooks. This ... See full summary »

Director:

Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Dodger Lane (Peter Sellers) has planned the perfect robbery while in prison. He intends to break out of prison, steal a fortune in diamonds, and break back into prison before anyone notices... See full summary »

Director: Robert Day
Stars: Peter Sellers, David Lodge, Bernard Cribbins
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A minister is accidentally appointed to a snobbish parish.

Directors: John Boulting, Roy Boulting
Stars: Peter Sellers, Cecil Parker, Isabel Jeans
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A very British comedy about a blackmailer and his victims.

Director: Mario Zampi
Stars: Terry-Thomas, Peter Sellers, Peggy Mount
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A naive aristocrat in search of a career becomes caught up in the struggles between his profit-minded uncle and an aggressive labour union.

Director: John Boulting
Stars: Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, Peter Sellers
The Wrong Box (1966)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In Victorian England, a fortune now depends on which of two brothers outlives the other... or can be made to have seemed to do so!

Director: Bryan Forbes
Stars: John Mills, Michael Caine, Ralph Richardson
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

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 »

Director: Sidney Gilliat
Stars: Peter Sellers, Mai Zetterling, Virginia Maskell
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An incompetent barrister is assigned to defend a wife murderer.

Director: James Hill
Stars: Peter Sellers, Richard Attenborough, Beryl Reid
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

This is the end of a glorious military career: General Leo Fitzjohn retires to his Sussex manor where he will write his memoirs. Unfortunately, his private life is a disaster: a confirmed ... See full summary »

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: Peter Sellers, Dany Robin, Margaret Leighton
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young couple inherits a debt-ridden old movie theater, appropriately nicknamed "The Flea Pit," and the three eccentric senior citizens who work there.

Director: Basil Dearden
Stars: Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers, Margaret Rutherford
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Man-eating businesswoman, Angela Barrows is sent by her US company to Edinburgh to investigate export opportunities. She meets businessman Robert MacPherson en route and he persuades her to... See full summary »

Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: Peter Sellers, Robert Morley, Constance Cummings
Hoffman (1970)
Certificate: GP Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A businessman blackmails his attractive young secretary into spending a weekend with him. Though he's a creep throughout, he gradually emerges as a sympathetic character.

Director: Alvin Rakoff
Stars: Peter Sellers, Sinéad Cusack, Ruth Dunning
Never Let Go (1960)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A cosmetic salesman sets out to prove to himself and his wife that he is not a failure.

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: Richard Todd, Peter Sellers, Elizabeth Sellars
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Pearly Gates
...
Inspector Fred 'Nosey' Parker
...
Nervous O'Toole
Davy Kaye ...
Trainer King
Nanette Newman ...
Valerie
Bill Kerr ...
Jack Coombes
Ed Devereaux ...
Bluey May
...
Reg Denton
...
Assistant Commissioner
...
Sid Cooper
Martin Boddey ...
Superintendent J.S. Forest
...
Dowager
Arthur Mullard ...
Brassknuckles
Dermot Kelly ...
Misery Martin
Vanda Godsell ...
Annette
Edit

Storyline

The crooks in London know how it works. No one carries guns and no one resists the police. Then a new gang appears that go one better. They dress as police and steal from the crooks. This upset's the natural order of the police/criminal relationship and the police and the crooks join forces to catch the IPOs (Impersonating Police Officers), including an armored car robbery in which the police must help the gangs to set a trap. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet the Mastermind Who Pulls the Strings in the Underworld...and all his mobs and dolls...filling the London fog with laughter and lunacy!!!

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 May 1963 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Gentlemenkillers  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The part of Siggy Schmoltz, played by Tutte Lemkow, is voiced by Peter Sellers. See more »

Goofs

When Inspector Parker and the other police officers arrive at Battersea Fun Fair to meet Pearly Gates, their taxis park in front of a generator lorry that was being used for lighting the scenes, and was not associated with the fun fair. See more »

Quotes

Jack Coombes: They shipped enough crooks out to Australia. It's about time they had a few back here!
See more »

Connections

Featured in John Le Mesurier: It's All Been Rather Lovely (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh Charley, Take It Away
(uncredited)
Written by Arthur Le Clerq, Frederick Malcolm and Elvin Hedges
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Winning Sellers Caper Comedy
25 August 2010 | by (Greenwich, CT United States) – See all my reviews

Peter Sellers comedies from before 1964 often come off to me as dingy, dated, and a bit twee. So "The Wrong Arm Of The Law" surprised me. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as easily as I did.

The movie's title comes from a predicament mob boss Pearly Gates (Sellers) calls the "oldest bleeding con in the business": Dress up like coppers, catch other criminals in the act, steal their loot, and get away. After being stung eight times, Gates' own gang call on the real law for help.

It's easy to confuse this with "Two-Way Stretch", another caper comedy Sellers made three years before, with both Bernard Cribbins and Lionel Jeffries in key support roles. "Two-Way Stretch" is amusing but stale; this holds up both as a story and large-scale character piece.

By day, Gates sells high-end women's clothing with the help of a fake French accent, using his knowledge of the well-to-do to mastermind burglaries. Cribbins is a rival crime boss so non-threatening he shows off his family photos; Jeffries is inept police inspector "Nosey Parker", who suspects a buy-off attempt when Gates first appears in his office.

"I'm not trying to bribe you, mate," Gates replies. "I don't carry loose change."

Also on hand to bring considerably sex appeal is cat-eyed, slinky Nanette Newman, Pearly's girl. Watching her make out with Sellers' stomach in one scene is pretty erotic stuff; she is also cleverly integrated into the rest of the story.

Director Cliff Owen did mostly British TV work. He shows himself here an accomplished cinematic stylist. An opening credit sequence recalls "Catch Me If You Can". The ending is remarkably satisfying; all the story elements come together with surprising grace. You wish Sellers' later, bigger-budget comedies were as well crafted.

One caveat: There are no big laughs in "Wrong Arm", just many small ones and amusing asides that keep coming. There's a gentleness reminiscent of an Ealing comedy. When the different gangs discover they're all being had by the same outside interest, they call a meeting where parliamentary rules of order are carefully observed. A pickpocket demands to be heard as the "voice of the small man".

Jeffries is the best thing in the film. You know he's a wally, but you like him anyway, and feel a bit when he makes a mess of things with his superiors. "Why do they always pick on me?" he whines, not at all like the hard-case he played in "Two-Way Stretch". Sellers is very good as well, sliding effortlessly between his London and French accents.

People who generally avoid Sellers films before "Strangelove" are well advised to make at least this one exception. "Wrong Arm" is a smooth treat that still stands up well, right up there with "The Ladykillers" and "I'm All Right, Jack" in quality and lighter than either.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Some help finding... Bondek
Locations carlin4737
DVD Aspect Ratio john2win
George Takei RogerDodge
DVD Aspect Ratio john2win
The 24 hour truce mheckman-1
Discuss The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?