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Brian Stimpson is the headmaster of a comprehensive (high) school in England. He sets himself, his staff and pupils very high standards. On the way to a conference at which he is to talk, all manner of disasters strike.Written by
Screenwriter Michael Frayn based the character of Brian Stimpson on Peter Dawson, the headmaster of his daughter's school, Eltham Green Comprehensive. See more »
(at around 1h 23 mins) By the end of the movie when Stimpson is delivering his speech and the left arm coat sleeve falls down we can see clearly that is John Cleese himself that pulls something with his right hand making the sleeve fall. See more »
The most surprising things about this minor classic from the mid 80's are that it was director Christopher Morahan's first film since 1969, and Cleese's character is based on a real-life headmaster! John Cleese based the character on the head of his daughter's school, and I can tell you the real life head is just as delightfully nutty as Stimpson.
Time obsessed Mr Stimpton, head of an ordinary British state school finds himself chairman of the Headmasters Conference and has to get to Norwich to address their meeting. Everything goes wrong on the way, despite Stimpson's meticulous planning, and due to his obsessive nature he gets more and more frayed at the edges as things go wrong.
There are some great observations on human nature in a film which moves quick enough to keep you laughing but not so quick that you miss anything.
Not perhaps Cleese's very best work, but a minor classic nevertheless. Generally under-rated as most have already said. Chris Morahan went onto continue his film directors career with the excellent thriller "Paper Tiger" in 1990, among others.
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