7.2/10
3,588
38 user 31 critic

Passport to Pimlico (1949)

Approved | | Comedy | 26 October 1949 (USA)
Residents of a part of London declare independence, when they discover an old treaty. This leads to the need for a 'Passport to Pimlico'.

Director:

Henry Cornelius

Writer:

T.E.B. Clarke (original screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stanley Holloway ... Arthur Pemberton
Betty Warren Betty Warren ... Connie Pemberton
Barbara Murray ... Shirley Pemberton
Paul Dupuis ... Duke of Burgundy
John Slater ... Frank Huggins
Jane Hylton ... Molly
Raymond Huntley ... Mr. Wix
Philip Stainton Philip Stainton ... P.C.Spiller
Roy Carr Roy Carr ... Benny Spiller
Sydney Tafler Sydney Tafler ... Fred Cowan
Nancy Gabrielle Nancy Gabrielle ... Mrs. Cowan
Malcolm Knight Malcolm Knight ... Monty Cowan
Hermione Baddeley ... Edie Randall
Roy Gladdish Roy Gladdish ... Charlie Randall
Frederick Piper Frederick Piper ... Garland
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Storyline

When an un-exploded WWII bomb is accidentally detonated in Pimlico, London, it reveals a treasure trove. They find documents proving that the region is, in fact, part of Burgundy, France and thus foreign territory. The British government attempts to regain control by setting up border controls and cutting off services to the area. The 'Burgundians' fight back. Written by Stephen Parkin <stephen@spcap.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

French Goings-On In The Heart Of London See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 October 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pasaporte para Pimlico See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ealing Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the traders invade Pimlico, a comment is made about it becoming "a spiv's paradise". A spiv is/was a minor criminal who dealt in stolen or black-market goods of questionable authenticity. Spivs were often well-dressed and were noted for offering goods at bargain prices, though the goods were generally not what they seemed or had been obtained illegally. The term was particularly used for black-market dealers during the Second World War and in the post-war period. See more »

Goofs

The skywriting plane describes a loop to the left in close-up but when we see the whole message "Stick it out" there are no such loops. See more »

Quotes

Edie Randall: Here's to the Burgundy Lido!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to the memory of Clothing Coupons and Ration cards. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Creating 'The Upside of Anger' (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

I Don't Want to Set the World On Fire
(uncredited)
Written by Eddie Seiler, Sol Marcus, Bennie Benjamin and Eddie Durham
Sung in the pub by Molly (Jane Hylton)
See more »

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User Reviews

Not always on target, but still an enjoyable slice of typically Ealing whimsy
2 May 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When an unexploded bomb goes up in a street in the London area of Pimlico, it exposes a cave containing goblets, gold, art and other valuable artefacts. The gold is immediately claimed by the crown, but expert Professor Hatton-Jones comes forward with a royal charter that proves the area is legally Burgundy. With their newfound independence, the residents scrap rationing, opening hours and adopt an altogether more continental lifestyle. However Whitehall cuts them off, leaving Pimlico overrun by undesirables seeking refuge from England's laws. Things get harder as the political tensions between the two `countries' increase.

In true Ealing fashion, this is a gently comic satire on the British way of rule. In Pimlico, the residents are fast to turn their back on England in favour of a life outside of rationing and rules. Needless to say things don't go quite as they planned. As a satire, it doesn't totally work as not all it's points and digs are on target - in fact at times I wasn't sure what it was aiming at. However this is not to say that it isn't consistently amusing because it is. The basic plot is enjoyably slick and reminded me in essence of The Mouse That Roared. The laughs are rarely belly laughs but it produced a consistent chuckle in me as it was rather disarming and enjoyable. The more fanciful it becomes the more whimsical it feels - it never gets silly because the tone is so well pitched throughout to avoid it being daft at any point.

I nearly fell off my seat when I read another review on this page that said the cast were a bunch of unknowns! If you don't recognise at least six or seven faces with ease then this must be your first ever British comedy made pre-1960. Holloway, Huntley, Tafler and all the leads are all as good as ever and the bonus of Margaret Rutherford and some really memorable dialogue just makes things better. Even for those only familiar with the Carry On chapter of British comedy we have Charles Hawtrey in a young looking appearance here. Everyone handles the material very well and many of them are blessed with some sparky dialogue.

Overall this is an enjoyable little film that has digs at the British government and way of life but ultimately acknowledges England as the best place to be - for all it's rain, low temperatures and taxation, it's better than going it alone! A witty little film that will please any audience that is in the mood for a bit of Ealing whimsy (and who isn't?).


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