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Nothing But the Best (1964)

Success has James Brewster's name written all over it, and he also has his heart set on his boss's daughter. A con artist hires him to help out on a bank scheme, but then again, James will ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (story "The Best of Everything")
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mrs. March (as Pauline Delany)
Godfrey Quigley ...
Alison Leggatt ...
Lucinda Curtis ...
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James Villiers ...
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Mrs. Horton (as Avice Landon)
Ernest Clark ...
William Rushton ...
Peter Madden ...
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Storyline

Success has James Brewster's name written all over it, and he also has his heart set on his boss's daughter. A con artist hires him to help out on a bank scheme, but then again, James will do anything to get rich and be the most successful businessman in Britian-even if it means murder!!! Written by Anonymous

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It purrs like a Rolls Royce... It pleasures like bubbly champagne...

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Comedy

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Release Date:

13 July 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A única ambição  »

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(Eastmancolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Waring replaced James Grout. See more »

Quotes

Gerry: Is Rembrandt hip or square this week?
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Soundtracks

Nothing But The Best
Music by Ron Grainer
Lyric by Frederic Raphael
Sung by Millicent Martin
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User Reviews

 
Air, Hair, Lair. Real or a Sexton Blake?
7 December 2016 | by (London) – See all my reviews

A pretty superb black comedy with award winning screenplay by American born Frederick Raphael, distinguished screenwriter. A good story, great performances and excellent production. And, more than 50 years later, still fresh. Popular music, fashions, decor, language, behaviour -so much has changed in 50 years. But a lot remains unchanged: money and class to name but two.

Brewster (Alan Bates) is an exceptional young man. Of lower middle class background he can maintain a habitually pleasant expression, be charming and humorous, is very quick-witted, opportunistic, coldly calculating , completely unscrupulous and will do anything necessary to feed an almost unlimited ambition - without ever losing his habitual pleasant expression. Brewster is determined to climb the social ladder but the exclusive club of the upper class and very wealthy keeps its doors firmly shut to him and his like. However a happy chance meeting suggests a scheme to breach the club's defences. One of its members (Mr Prince - Denholm Elliot), thoroughly-disgraced son, disowned by his family, can be persuaded, for money, to train Brewster in the ways of his class: how to dress, how to speak, how to behave. And quick learner, Brewster turns out to be. But Brewster is no snob and is always practical: while it's his boss's daughter he plans to wed, he nevertheless finds it advantageous to retain a place in his middle-aged landlady's heart and bed.

But it is the screenplay which received the film's single award and the dialogue is at its smartest as Prince instructs imposter Brewster in the ways of the class he aspires to join. It's not just their opinions but the different manner with which each must be delivered. Faking an Oxbridge background, how to behave when watching college rowing (be ostentatiously disparaging as if an older and better rower). Suitable opinions (circa 1963) on foreigners: Americans - "let us down badly over Suez". Black people "make fine cricketers". The commandments seem to include: be brief, never bore, never be overly earnest, understate, don't be adventurous.

This is Frederick Raphaels satire and take on the British upper classes, that a clever fake can remain under all circumstances undetected. I think the evidence is that their antennae are especially finely tuned for the avoidance of just such unfortunate marriages. However history suggests that the titled owner of the grand London estate agents auctioneers (Harry Andrews) where Brewster works, prizes business acumen over actual social background. Over time, with good schooling for the next generation, social class can be retained. But without money neither a growing financial empire nor a dynasty is possible.

Some great moments as when Brewster's pleasant expression is tested to its limits when a familiar large case arrives at his shortly be in-laws grand house, and falls from a considerable height. Bates and Denholm Elliot are both superb. A great British film.

Until Talking Pictures TV came on the scene and revived some of these quality films, I would have never realised the cinema talent Britain had. So badly are we let down by the broadcasters


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