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A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (1979)

 -  Comedy | Crime
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 203 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 1 critic

Pinky is released from prison and has decided to go straight from now on, but accidentally getting himself a job as a maintenance man at a large bank, gives him a lot of undue attention ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Pinky
Oliver Tobias ...
Foxy
...
Ivan
...
Miss Pelham
...
Ma
...
Inspector Watford
Michael Angelis ...
Pealer Bell
Dicken Ashworth ...
Charlie the Chubb
Brian Croucher ...
Derek Deadman ...
Nobby Flowers
James Galloway ...
Aussie
Charlie Hawkins ...
Clint
Anthony Heaton ...
Legs Eleven
Davy Kaye ...
Sid the Yid
Brian Protheroe ...
Stan the Spinner
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Storyline

Pinky is released from prison and has decided to go straight from now on, but accidentally getting himself a job as a maintenance man at a large bank, gives him a lot of undue attention from Ivan the Terrible, the local hoodlum. By using Pinky, Ivan hopes to rob the bank and Pinky starts to liken to the idea of going back to his old ways! Written by Graeme Huggan <hia95gh@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on one of the biggest robberies in London

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

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Also Known As:

The Big Scam  »

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Technical Specs

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| (original)

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of director Ralph Thomas. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
Music by Manning Sherwin
Lyrics by Eric Maschwitz
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great fun!
12 April 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Delightful! It never pretends to be a masterpiece, but it's a mini-gem of late seventies British comedy. Given that the producers wanted to sell it abroad, it stars an American (the late character actor Richard Jordan), but at least he isn't the usual dull Hollywood hunk type. Surrounding him is the cream of British character acting talent, led by a wonderfully waspish and superior David Niven.

Niven's Ivan the Terrible naturally gets the best one liners and all the best reaction shots. He also manages to be surprisingly menacing and intimidatingly dangerous. The moment in the snooker club when he drops the charming facade and threatens Richard Jordan will come as a shock to those viewers who think of Niven as being only a light drawing room comedy star. He is filled with genuine power and ruthlessness as we see all at once how Ivan earned his nickname. All the more surprising given how ill Niven was at the time. Shortly after filming this production he lost his powers of speech to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (known as Lou Gehrig's disease). This is the last picture Niven made where you can hear his own voice, being dubbed thereafter by the comic impressionist Sid Caesar.

Alongside him you can spot numerous familiar faces from seventies cinema and television. Elke Sommer (flashing her breasts in true seventies era politically incorrect bimbo mode), Oliver Tobias, Michael Angelis, Brian Croucher, Davy Kaye etc, etc. Davy Kaye gets one of the biggest laughs as he holds up a security guard caught making a phone call. "Who you ringing?!....Bloody Dial-A-Disc! You gormless git!"

Great shots of London street locations; making the film a period patina time capsule of red phone boxes with chunky round-dial manual handsets, black cabs driven by "Cor blimey, gov!" cockneys, and ladies and gents modelling all manner of deeply dodgy late seventies retro leisure wear and hair styles.

Unlike the classic Ealing comedies of an earlier era, the 'hero' is allowed to get away with his crime and escape to a life in the sun. How times had changed! The morality code by which crooks in films always had to be seen to be punished had long gone by the seventies, with anti-heroes like Pinky Green earning status through their cheeky anti-authoritarianism and determination to 'cock a snook' at a stuffy capitalist establishment of be-suited fat cat businessmen. We are encouraged to cheer as Pinky makes off, unpunished and free as a bird with his ill gotten gains. Compare that to the ending of The Lavender Hill Mob!

Highly entertaining, quaintly dated in its fashions and attitudes, and the stuff of late night cult viewing. Perfect to watch at midnight after the pubs have shut; if you're of a certain age, are feeling a touch nostalgic, and have always wanted to see David Niven in a branch of McDonalds, silently intimidating an American via the use of a retractable telescope!


7 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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A wonderful film. joegranby
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