A charming and ambitious young man finds many ways to raise himself through the ranks in business and social standing, some honest, some not quite so. If he can just manage to avoid a ... See full summary »
A gang of street boys foil a master crook who sends commands for robberies by cunningly altering a comic strip's wording each week, unknown to writer and printer. The first of the Ealing ... See full summary »
In World War II, the island of Malta, strategically located and vital to supply lines in the Mediterranean Sea, is fiercely attacked by the Germans and the Italians, but staunchly defended by the British.
A man occupies a position of trust with a merchant in an East Asian port. He's sacked when he's caught stealing, but he pretends to commit suicide, and a Captain he befriended agrees to take him to a secret trading post.
Captain Ambrose comes from a long line of distinguished sailors, but is all too susceptible to seasickness. After the war, he buys himself a nautical command on shore, a decrepit amusement pier at the British resort town Sandcastle-on-Sea, whose prim town council has outlawed arcade games as a form of gambling. Running the pier like a Naval vessel, the Captain's determination to make it a modern, going concern meets steady opposition. But with an unexpected new ally, he pursues a remarkable scheme to liberate his "ship" from land authorities.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Captain Ambrose arrives in France, a close-up shot shows him taking the cotton wool out of his ears. In the next shot the cotton wool is still in his ears. See more »
Is that how they do it in the Navy, sir?
Capt. William Horatio Ambrose:
I take it you are never in the service, Figg?
I never wanted to be. I've spent all my life on a dredger and if you're going to run this pier like a battleship, I shall be sorry I left it.
Capt. William Horatio Ambrose:
Well, I am going to run it like a battleship. All the best piers in the country or run naval-style and, under my command, Sandcastle pier will be no exception. I shan't be satisfied until everything is ship-... er... pier-shape and Blackpool-fashion.
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Against a background of high seas, the opening credit text rolls with the waves, up off the screen and down under water, with motion so realistic it almost makes the audience seasick. See more »
Alec Guinness at sea
Anything from Ealing Studios promises a lot from the get go. Their films tend to be funny (hilarious at their best), charming and well made with great actors with a gift for comic timing. Am especially fond of 'The Ladykillers', 'The Man in the White Suit', 'The Lavender Hill Mob' and my favourite 'Kind Hearts and Coronets'. So of course one would expect a lot before watching any of their work.
The last Ealing comedy, and the last film Alec Guinness made with them, 'Barnacle Bill' is far from one their best. For me, it is one of their weaker films and does lack some of the things that make the studio's work so good at their peak. Despite how this sounds, 'Barnacle Bill' (or 'All at Sea') didn't strike me as a bad film, actually considering Guinness himself absolutely hated the film, referring to it later as "wretched", and only did it for a favour it was in a way better than expected in that regard. Even if it didn't work for me, would certainly not dislike it as vehemently as Guinness did.
'Barnacle Bill' does lack some of the wit and bite of Ealing at their best. Not that it is never there, just not as much or as effectively.
Some of the story, with echos of previous Ealing Studios (an obvious one being their masterpiece 'Kind Hearts and Coronets') felt contrived, especially in a few of the flashbacks. And the ending is not really much of one at all.
However, 'Barnacle Bill' is well made with handsome sets and photography particularly. It's whimiscally and lushly scored and Charles Frend keeps much of the film moving along nicely. It does have quite a number of amusing to very funny moments, that didn't feel over-stretched or tired, and has an immense charm throughout.
While not a tour-De-force as such (like his performance in 'Kind Hearts and Coronets'), the ever reliable Guinness shows authority and immaculate comic timing as multiple characters. The rest of the cast do well though nobody gets anything meaty as such.
Overall, lesser Ealing but still decent Ealing. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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