10 user 3 critic

The Best House in London (1969)

X | | Comedy | June 1969 (UK)
In Victorian London, the British Government attempts a solution to the problem of prostitution by establishing the world's most fabulous brothel.


Philip Saville


Denis Norden




Cast overview, first billed only:
David Hemmings ... Benjamin Oakes / Walter Leybourne
Joanna Pettet ... Josephine Pacefoot
George Sanders ... Sir Francis Leybourne
Dany Robin ... Babette
Warren Mitchell ... Count Pandolfo
John Bird ... Home Secretary
William Rushton William Rushton ... Sylvester Wall
Bill Fraser Bill Fraser ... Inspector MacPherson
Maurice Denham ... Editor of 'The Times'
Wolfe Morris ... Chinese Trade Attache
Martita Hunt ... Headmistress
Arnold Diamond ... Charles Dickens
Hugh Burden ... Lord Tennyson
George Reynolds George Reynolds ... Lord Alfred Douglas
Jan Holden ... Lady Dilke


In Victorian London, the British Government attempts a solution to the problem of prostitution by establishing the world's most fabulous brothel.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hot | sex scene | sexy | farce | prostitute | See All (14) »


This movie is the best fun in town! See more »




X | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This was originally planned as a star vehicle for producer Carlo Ponti's wife, Sophia Loren, as " Best House in Milan" with either Marcello Mastroianni or Vittorio Gassman as her co- stars. See more »


Sir Francis Leybourne: [the Attache is sobbing] I thought you people were supposed to be inscrutable?
Chinese Trade Attache: Please, Sir Francis, China doesn't want any more opium.
Sir Francis Leybourne: Oh, do be sensible. You chaps have already lost one war with Great Britain about this.
Chinese Trade Attache: But to force us to buy it...
Sir Francis Leybourne: Well, you signed a treaty agreeing to!
Chinese Trade Attache: Your gunboats were right up our Yangtze!
Sir Francis Leybourne: No use getting hysterical, Mr Feng.
Chinese Trade Attache: Then let me appeal to our friendship; those happy weekends I used to spend at your townhouse; your late wife was always so kind to me. More ...
See more »


Referenced in The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970) See more »


by Ronnie Cass and Peter Myers
See more »

User Reviews

Silly and campy late night faire -- that I rather enjoyed!
11 May 2006 | by Pedro_HSee all my reviews

The powers-that-be in Victorian London note the rise of street prostitution in their capital city and come up with the "French System." A kind of upmarket government-sanctioned brothel. However the public (and the police) aren't let on about their little secret.

This is the 1960's and the wild, the wacky, and the wacky-baccy has started to get to people's heads. This is one of those films that you feel is going to end up with a speed-ed up chase scene with all that you have learnt so far carefully junked -- but it doesn't quite get there. Close -- but not quite.

However it is also a classic case of setting up a plot and not bothering with it after a certain point in time. Maybe it didn't fit in with the bare breast quota laid down by the producers or maybe they spent too much time try to work out how to best film down a woman's cleavage?

The casting of the (now late) David Hemmings in a double role (bad/good) is a fatal mistake because both characters act pretty much the same and we only have hair colour to tell one from the other. After Blow Up he was seen as hot property although he is a cold fish who can't act a jot!

If you don't come from England and don't know Victorian literature then a lot is going to fly over your head. Given that the jokes are rare enough already the film can't afford their loss -- especially to a world audience. Indeed some of the jokes are in very bad taste: A little girl singing about her "little pussy" while we focus on George Sanders doing double-takes wouldn't be allowed today.

The Best House in London doesn't really have a plot more a laundry list of things that they want to get in. A mad Italian with an airship, the temperance movement, the Suffragettes, the upper/lower classes, people that are pro/anti the whore trade and women that don't want to be saved from a life of vice. Big money has been spent on the sets (complete with half dressed girls) and the left over change has gone on the script.

This is the kind of stuff I like watching late at night when I can't sleep (TCM puts it on that this time) when on-screen energy means more than common-sense. I am giving it a seven because I was entertained, but maybe that seven says just as much about me, where I come from and what I like than it does about the film. I can forgive campy nonsense -- can you?

11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 10 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

June 1969 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Best House in London See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bridge Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed