Lord Southmere escapes from China with a microfilm of the formula for the mysterious "Lotus X", and is captured by Chinese spies who have been instructed to retrieve the microfilm from him....
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Lord Southmere escapes from China with a microfilm of the formula for the mysterious "Lotus X", and is captured by Chinese spies who have been instructed to retrieve the microfilm from him. Escaping from his captors, Lord Southmere hides the microfilm in the bones of a large dinosaur at the National History Museum. However, he has been followed into the museum by the spies, so Lord Southmere asks Hettie (his former nanny), to retrieve the microfilm before the spies can find it. He is then promptly recaptured by the head spy, Hnup Wan. Hettie, and her friend Emily (another nanny), devise a plan for a group of nannies to search for the microfilm, but they are unsuccessful in their endeavors. The spies then decide to steal the dinosaur, but are outmaneuvered by Hettie and Emily, who, with a young nanny named Susan, take the dinosaur skeleton on an unforgettable journey around the countryside. When Hettie's two young charges, Lord Castleberry and his younger brother, Truscott, also become...Written by
David McAnally <D.McAnally@uq.net.au>
When the nannies are searching the dinosaur, Hettie observes that if the skeleton fell on them they would be the first people to be killed in a dinosaur in two million years. Dinosaurs actually became extinct about 65 million years ago. Humans emerged only about 500,000 years ago, so Hettie is wrong on multiple counts. See more »
Too silly to really serve adults (although Ustinov's daft performance helps) but most children will be distracted by it
Pursued by a group of fiendish Orientals, secret agent Lord Edward Southmere conceals the secret formula for Lotus X on a dinosaur skeleton. By coincidence he meets his old nanny in the museum and is able to blurt out a plea for help before he is taken away by the fiendish Orientals. The nannies sneak into the museum to search the dinosaur for the formula that is hidden there but are interrupted and abandon their search. With the fiendish Orientals holding Southmere, Hettie knows she is running out of time and has only one option to steal the dinosaur before the fiendish Orientals can get it.
With the unusual title and the memorable scenes featuring a dinosaur skeleton chasing around London I can recall elements of this from childhood but decided to watch it again before I tried to write down my thoughts on it. So it was that I sat down to a fairly amusing but inconsequential mess of a comedy. The plot is messy of course but at least it has the good taste never to take itself seriously and instead just keeps the silly slapstick action moving along. Sadly it is not witty enough to play that well to an adult audience but rather relies on slightly older children getting into the silly jokes, pratfalls and stereotypes. This is not to say that I didn't enjoy some parts of it but it never did it consistently or even half the time.
The cast help a little bit but they have little to work with other than stereotypes. Following Mary Poppins, the English Nanny is put up centre stage and played reasonably well by Hayes and Sims but they seem dull compared to a performance from Peter Ustinov that is so off the wall and weird that it is worth seeing. Of course it would be impossible for someone to give the same performance today because, rightly, it is a piece of absurd stereotype to the point where I felt I should apologise to every Orential person I knew just for the sin of enjoying it. It is very close to being offensive but it is so silly that I couldn't help but enjoy it far from his finest hour of course but fun at least. The support cast are all average, matching the tone of the film but I was entertained by the presence of several recognisable faces, including Ackland, Guyler and a few others. Nimmo is very British and good value but, as in many of the Carry On films, Bresslaw is just a big brute with little to do.
Overall, an enjoyably silly film for older children but with little in it for adults. The narrative is no more than silly action and Ustinov's performance will (like Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean) either offend you or make you enjoy the film a lot more than you would without it. For me he was the main event and without him this would have just been too silly to enjoy.
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