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Another excellent Ben Travers farce for Tom Walls to revel in – this a delicious take on love, honour and truth. It's delicious if you can overlook its apparent enormous antiquity, the mores of centuries ago reflected back to you now to interpret, but more so if you can overlook or at least struggle through the probable poor condition of the film itself. The copy I just saw was choppy, with abrupt editing and wobbles, lacerations and bubbles on the print throughout, but it was bearable once the story took hold.
A smooth talking but honest Walls is named as a co-respondent in a divorce case, his good reputation is trashed by lawyer Cecil Parker, who has a beautiful wife Betty Stockfeld who gets to like Walls who likes her back but then gets married to Diana Churchill and then – well, then the convolutions abound. Involving a skinny punk named George Sanders and his oversize accomplice Eugene Palette. Basil Radford has a bit part playing Parker's brother and a large part in incredibly loud cackles; and Hubert Harben gets a chance to stick the boot in for once and relishes it. It's all refreshingly done, and an almost frank modern romance, simply told and resolved - and probably as sophisticated as British films would get in the '30's. Er, it's not essential to the plot at all but did Walls keep the brooch as some kind of recompense for the damage that was previously done to his honour?
Some people might not guess that they're all talking and thinking about sex in here but they are, and the implications involved in breaking moral codes – the exquisite torture faced by two married people "who couldn't be any happier – or at least, mustn't be." Wonderful stuff.
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