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The Wrong Box (1966)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime | 4 July 1966 (UK)
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!

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Writers:

(suggested by a novel by), (suggested by a novel by) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Brian Allen Harvey
James Villiers ...
Sydney Whitcombe Sykes
...
Ian Scott Fife
Dick Gregory ...
Leicester Young Fielding
Nicholas Parsons ...
Alan Fraser Scrope
Willoughby Goddard ...
James White Wragg
...
Oliver Pike Harmsworth
...
Vyvyan Alistair Montague
Hamilton Dyce ...
Derek Lloyd Peter Digby
...
Lawyer
...
Clerk
Donald Oliver ...
Gunner Sergeant
Totti Truman Taylor ...
Lady at Launching
Jeremy Roughton ...
Bugler
Frank Singuineau ...
Native Bearer
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Storyline

A tontine is established for twenty boys in 1818 England - a tontine being a kind of insurance wager in which money is invested by each participant, to grow with interest, with the last survivor to get the substantial payout. We watch the group dwindle until only two elderly brothers are left in 1882. One brother is watched by his nephews who will keep him alive at all costs; the other lives in ill health and poverty as the only support of his perpetually confused grandson. Statues and bodies are switched, in the wrong boxes, until everyone is sure that one (or both) of the brothers has died. Now if they can only make it seem as if the other brother died first, over a hundred thousand pounds (in Victorian England, when a pound was a pound) will be theirs. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Virtuous maidens...cunning cousins...dastardly deeds...bodies in barrels...and boxes and boxes of boxes!

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

4 July 1966 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

13.000.000 dollaria zitoun klironomo  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

English actor and comedian Patrick Cargill's scenes were cut out of the film. See more »

Goofs

Joseph Finsbury's nephews keep taking away his tobacco, presumably to extend his longevity. In the time period of this film, it was not known that smoking is harmful. See more »

Quotes

Morris Finsbury: I was wondering - do you by any chance happen to have any - uh - death certificates?
Doctor Pratt: Do I happen to have any death certificates? What a monstrous thing, sir - what a monstrous thing to say to a member of the medical profession! Do you realize the enormity of what you have just said?
Morris Finsbury: Yes. Do you have any death certificates?
Doctor Pratt: How many do you want?
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Certain funeral & military airs played by Her Majesty Queen Victoria's Temperance Seven who actually number eight" See more »

Connections

Referenced in What's My Line?: Episode #17.7 (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Onward Christian Soldiers
(1871) (uncredited)
Music from "St. Gertrude" by Arthur Sullivan (1871)
Lyrics by Sabine Baring-Gould (1865)
Sung a cappella by Cicely Courtneidge, Diane Clare and other Salvation Army girls
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Little Gem
14 July 2004 | by See all my reviews

The quiet little black comedy "The Wrong Box" has a superb cast. Veteran British stage/cinema actors (Ralph Richardson, John Mills, Wilfred Lawson) play with rising stars (Michael Caine, just off "Alfie", and Peter Cook & Dudley Moore from the groundbreaking "Beyond the Fringe" revue). Established comic actors (Peter Sellers, Tony Hancock) give performances that carefully-polished little gems. Even the tiniest "blink and you'll miss 'em" roles are loaded with familiar character actors (Cicely Courtneidge, John Le Mesurier, Thorley Walters &c) rubbing elbows with rising talents (Jeremy Lloyd, James Villiers, Leonard Rossiter, Graham Stark) making the movie a veritable field day for spotters of British humor. The performances in the major roles are all solid. Some of the smaller parts have variable performances: Thorley Walters is delightful, Courtneidge, too overbearing). All the actors seem to realize that they must take this sort of comedy seriously -- mugging kills this sort of humor. The leads (Richardson, Mills, Cook, Moore, Caine, Lawson) are all suitably earnest. Only Nanette Newman (the director's wife) doesn't seem quite up to her part, being a better actress in modern dress; but she's quite pretty enough and she's good enough not to be utterly lost even in this ensemble of extremely talented actors.

The humor is quiet, with a Victorian hush over the proceedings, lending a (perhaps tongue in cheek) funereal respect to its theme of death with laughter. The gentle pace picks up near the end with a chase with hearses and beer wagons, and a climax that gathers all the principles in a cemetery in a satisfying conclusion.

The witty script is filled with little bits that might not register at first (such as the pulse bit, or "Can you speak a little lower" and the peculiar words "unnecessarily mutilated"). Some of the sight gags go askew, but enough of them work to make them worth while. It's not a movie for every taste. Anglophiles and those who appreciate an easy-going humor may find it work a peek. Anyone who loves Peter Sellers has to see his Pratt.


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