A chance meeting with a Schlecht agent forces a humble coffee shop manager into the secret world of spies in Swinging London. With the help of his MI5 friend, he poses as the recently dead ...
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The Morecambe & Wise Show was a long running and massively popular sketch series starring British comedy duo Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, plus a string of top-name international celebrity guests (of a bygone age), like André Prévin.
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A chance meeting with a Schlecht agent forces a humble coffee shop manager into the secret world of spies in Swinging London. With the help of his MI5 friend, he poses as the recently dead Major Cavendish who had managed to infiltrate the dreaded organization; he knows that they are intending to assassinate someone - could it be the famous Russian ballerina who has recently arrived for an appearance at Covent Garden?Written by
When a coffee shop owner is mistaken for a MI5 spy, the real MI5 enlist his help in uncovering an assassination plot in London. With master of disguise Ernie Sage by his side, Eric Morecambe battles dangers and beautiful women to save the day - whether he knows it or not.
This was Morecambe and Wise's first attempt to take their huge success on TV into film. And it unfortunately doesn't totally carry over. The plot is irrelevant but it doesn't really matter - in fact the film slows down in some scenes where the 'serious' actors have to do dialogue that moves the plot along. Outside of these scenes it's really all about Eric and Ernie doing their usual stand-up routine in different situations.
The film is funny, simply because of Morecambe's act and Wise's straight man, basically each scene is the same as the TV show in that each scene has a basic structure that allows the duo to do their stuff within it. The film contains many very funny scenes that are like this but too many fail because the laughter and improvisation of the TV show has been replaced by tightly scripted scenes and multiple shoots and takes. This takes a lot of the life out of their routine and some bits, most notably the musical numbers fall flat. Having said that, I don't think Eric Morecambe can help but be funny and most of the film is really funny, mainly jokes that are repeated during the film - "get out of that" and the running joke of Eric not recognising Ernie in 'disguise' being some of the best.
Overall this is a funny film simply because of Ernie and Eric. However if you've never seen their TV show then you're missing out on the funniest stuff they've ever done, cause, sadly, this film never comes close to their best.
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