Wednesday, 31 December 2014

An American in Paris (1951)

An American in Paris
In the past I have made no secret of my mixed feelings about the musical genre. When I started this project I was sure that the musicals would be hard to get through, but a streak of excellent musicals in the thirties made me change my mind. They were so good at putting me in a good mood and I still find myself humming the tunes. Later however that magic seems to have faded. Again and again I am reminded of why I initially do not care much for musicals. It is not that I hate them or despise the sentiment. They just bore me.

I find it difficult to give an honest review of a musical because I know that some (many) of the elements that are appreciated by the lovers of the genre just leaves me cold. Nevertheless “An American in Paris” is exactly such a movie.

“An American in Paris” is the second in a streak of Gene Kelly musicals (“On the Town” was the first) and in many ways they are comparable. To a large extent they are showpieces of Kelly’s dancing skills and made as colorful stage shows for the cinema. The stories are secondary to the show and are just vehicles to bring you from one act to the next. That means that we really should not care too much about drama and conflict. Even the hint of it is defused by the jovial attitude of everybody and the audience’s certain knowledge that this is a happy movie and nothing really bad will happen.

Therefore let us jump directly to the essential parts for a musical: the music, the show and the set.

My complaint about “On the Town” was that the music did not really click with me and that is a problem here as well. The only song that made an impact on me was “I got Rhythm”, the rest are quite forgettable. Instead the emphasis is made on the show. And there is a lot of show. Kelly dances and dances and dances. It is almost as if with the lack of Frank Sinatra and his glorious voice the producers thought they might as well compensate with more dancing. If I was a dancing buff I would probably be very excited about that. Unfortunately I am not. In fact my interest only stretches as far as to note that it looks as if the dancers are pretty good at what they are doing. Otherwise I am really not interested. Modern dancing, classic dancing, tap dancing… It is actually fun to dance, it makes you happy, but look at it…? I could not care less. And here comes the bombshell: This movie ends with an 18 minutes modern dancing sequence featuring Kelly and a ton of dancers. If I had been in the cinema I would have been tired before they started this feature and groaning long before they finished. Luckily I watched it here at home so I could check some emails…

The observant reader might now call me an inconsistent hypocrite. Was this not exactly what I liked about the Berkeley musical “Footlight Parade”? Long sequences of show in the end? Well, yes, but the music was better, they were actually singing excellent songs and the dancing was more of a mesmerizing spectacle than and actual dancing stunt.

A large part of the show is the set and here nothing was spared. While “On the Town” displayed an unusually friendly and clean, but undeniably real New York, “An American in Paris” shows us a Paris I think only exists in the mind of dreamy Americans who have never actually been there. It is an odd mix of modern (1950) Paris, 1920’ies bohemian ambience and Belle Époque style. Buildings, rooms, cityscapes all look like pictures and I would be surprised if there was even a single location shot in the movie.

The upside of this very escapist look is that everything can be controlled to give that friendly and happy feel the musical needs and it also makes it look more like a stage and therefore a reasonable excuse for the singing and, particularly, dancing.

Curiously, this “Paris” is stuffed with Americans. Expats and tourists alike living the imagined French dream of carefree bohemian life. I think it is because this is not really a movie which is that interested in France or the French, but merely want to catch the imagined romantic vibe as evidenced by a large number of Hollywood productions featuring Americans in Paris.

I am sorry if I am mocking it a bit. I know that it is all very innocent and probably even necessary for the atmosphere of the movie, but it is just so overdone here that it is a laugh. I read not long ago about psychological therapy offered to Japanese tourists who found Paris not at all what they had imagined. Maybe they had been watching this movie…

There is however no doubt about the production value here. Everything about the movie shouts of all the money spent on making it (the dancing sequence in the end alone allegedly cost half a million dollars!) and it showcases all of what an American musical could do in 1951. It won no less than six Academy Awards including Best Picture and it made a ton of movies at the box office. Clearly this movie struck a chord, and this is also why I find myself excusing for this lackluster review. Somebody liked it a lot more than I did.

I have a feeling it has something to do with Gene Kelly. There is something about him that is putting me off. Fred Astaire never had that effect on me, but Kelly just seem way too… confident I suppose.

In any case, not my favorite musical, but likely one that a dancing aficionado will find great.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)

Pandora og Den Flyvende Hollænder
Merry Christmas to all of you.

In between eating solid Christmas fare and playing with my son and all his new toys I have found time to watch “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman”. This movie was replaced in the Danish edition of the List by the Swedish movie “Hon Dansade en Sommar” and so apparently the editors ranked this movies the least important of the original 1951 picks. I cannot say that I entirely disagree.

Let me start with what is good about this movie: It features Ava Gardner and James Mason.

There is no way around it, Ava Gardner has to be one of the prettiest and most alluring actresses of the era and in this movie everything was done to emphasize all her becoming attributes. That is an understatement really. She is ultra hot. The colors emphasize her luscious lips and makes her flawless face… well flawless. Having her enter the yacht (of the Flying Dutchman) wrapped only in sail canvas is a promise of sex as the ever was one and her manners and acting all the way through the movie backs up this impression. Her role is to drive men crazy and while I often have a problem with female leads supposed to have, but ultimately lacking, this ability, this is one case where it works. The only problem here is that sometimes you can really see how much the director/ cinematographer/ costume department worked to emphasize this point. She always seems to wear dresses that serves her delectable bosom to the men around her and no matter what she does she appears to have just left the cosmetics shop prior to shooting. Yet, I forgive them when the result is so gorgeous.

The selling feature of James Mason is his voice. It is one of those British voices I can listen to for hours and in this movie he gets amply opportunity to exercise it. Frankly, he could read the phone directory and I would be mesmerized. Couple that with his brooding gaze and you have a very compelling man with a very dark secret.

Sounds great, does it not?

Unfortunately this is where greatness ends for this movie. I disliked practically everything else about it.

Part of it of course is the poor state of the print itself. I found it as a Spanish import in bad need of restoration. This is how movies look and sound before the magic restoration process. Grainy picture, faded colors, rusty sound and almost random cutting clearly indicating that somebody has already cut away the worst parts, but not cared overly much exactly where they placed the cut. It is a shame really when you have a master like Jack Cardiff on board that the colors come out so poorly.

But technical state besides those are not the real problems this movie has to struggle with.

The premise of the story is ludicrous to begin with. That a 300 year old ghost of a sea captain shows up on the beachfront as a dashing hunk, his salt spattered merchantman turned into a luxury yacht, on a quest to find his lost love. Match this with the larger than life man-eating femme fatale who in-between munching up men gets ensnared with the captain. Their love, doomed, fatal, but oh, so romantic is given from the start. Frankly this stuff belong on the pink pages of women’s magazines as cheap novellas and not in a big movie production. It is just revulsive.

Add to this that practically all dialogue is framed as declarations or recitations of poetry and we are far beyond fairy tales and long into pretentious bull shit. It is a failed attempt at being high-brow and instead aims at the lowest instincts. Sort of the plebeian impression of what high art must look like. Sticky, nauseating and, yes, stupid.

The central statement is that love can be measured by what you will give up for it. So, Steven (Nigel Patrick) offers his beloved racing car for Pandora (Ava Gardner), Demerest (Marius Goring) kills himself and Montalvo (Mario Cabre) commits murder for Pandora. Pandora herself must give up her life to be with the Captain while the Captain must give up… no wait, he is not giving up anything. He needs Pandora in order to break the curse on him. If anything he much snatch the blossom, but in the shape of Ava Gardner I think that is a price that most men could live with.

My claim here is that this central statement is another round of romantic bull shit. Hey, everybody wants to be loved and it is kind of flattering that somebody prefers you to something otherwise dear to them, but really, if you loved somebody and not just yourself, would you really want to force that choice? To make them select, to make them loose something precious? Is that not the ultimate cruelty? If you love somebody, you love the package and you love that your sweetheart cares for other things as well, otherwise you are just a succubus, eating you partner dry.

I may be overreacting a bit here. Romanticism loves this premise and audiences at all times have cried themselves senseless over this very issue, but to me it is most infuriating and when a movie is as devoted to this idea as this one is it just makes me mad.  

The funny thing is that I actually like that the movie dares to play with the fantastic. Today every second movie has a fantastic element, but in the early fifties this was a rarity. Of course Hollywood in particular excelled in putting up unrealistic scenarios, but they were generally confined to the real world. Fantastic elements have the ability, like science fiction, to extrapolate ideas so we can consider them in a different and unusual light and in addition, provides some much needed escapism. In that light it just saddens me when the topic under consideration is as silly as this one. It belongs in women’s weeklies in the hairdresser parlour.

Ultimately I ended up disconnecting from the story and resigned myself to watch and listen to Gardner and Mason. They almost make it worth watching this movie and I wonder what it would be like watching these two in a better movie.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Diary of a Country Priest (Journal d'un Cure de Campagne) (1951)

En Landsbypræsts Dagbog
I will have to make my excuses right away. I feel hopelessly inadequate to review or even comment on “Journal d’un curé de campagne” (Diary of a Country Priest). I did not understand the movie and I am ill-equipped to understand the themes of it. I tried reading the synopsis in the Book, but it just gives me some gibberish about movie art and Christian themes. Wikipedia did not help me much either, so I am really at a loss.

I can try to line up what I did get from the movie, if for no other reason than to point out why this movie baffles me.

We follow a young priest (Claude Laydu) whose name we actually never learn, or maybe we do, but I did not catch it. He is arriving at the start of the film to a small village in the middle of nowhere. The priest is feeling terribly sorry for himself. He is narrating as he scribbles in his diary and this is mostly about how sick he is, how terrible he feels, how he doubt and to a small, but increasing extent about the other people in the village. It is really an obsession with him and he believes that the only thing he can eat is dry bread soaked in wine and only little of it. Frankly if this was all I ate I would feel pretty weak as well.

20 minutes in, this is really all that happens. By 40 minutes he is chatting with some of the villagers, another priest who think he should pull himself together and the local count who may be helping him with some social events. Or maybe not. There is a story or sub-story about the count, his wife, daughter and the daughter’s governess. I am not sure what is going on though. Something about that the daughter is pissed at all of them and want to be free, that the count is having some affairs. And that the wife is obsessing about her dead son to the exclusion of everything else. I did understand that the priest is somehow unlocking the wife’s grief and she then dies a peaceful death.

The villagers start talking about how weird he is and that he is a drunkard, he really has not given them reason for any other impression and fainting in the oddest places does not help. He goes to town to see a doctor and finds out that it is not that noble, intellectual disease tuberculosis that he is suffering from but a much more profane stomach cancer, which I guess is caused by his stupid diet. The priest goes to an old colleague who is priest no more and lives with a girl without being married. Here he dies.


I am sure there is a purpose to the movie and some religious themes, maybe even humanistic themes, but they all escaped me. There is something about the format of the movie that repulses my attention so I was probably not giving it the necessary attention as much as I tried. It is tiring and frankly more than a bit annoying to hear this priest complain about all his suffering. I desperately want to stuff some proper food down his throat and make him lift his gaze from himself. The dialogue is highbrow in a way that makes it sound like reading from a book, even in the English translation. Proper attention would require to pause the movie at every sentence to contemplate the meaning of what is said and as I did not do that I likely missed critical elements of the movie.

Another problem between me and this movie is the religious angle. I am not a religious person and many of the concepts natural for the religious just play no part in my life and I have no relation to it. I feel that there are many references in this movie, allegories, metaphors that simply goes over my head. Is this some sort of Christ story? Is this about saints? Is it about forgiveness and faith? I just do not know. Maybe, is my best answer.

Finally I am just not that interesting. From the beginning I never felt compelled to dig into this story. There was nothing for me to latch onto and I did not feel that curiosity that makes me think about the movie. Two minutes before it ended I was desperately hoping for that epiphany that would open the movie to me, but it never happened. He just died.

I cannot rate this movie. Or rather, I should not rate this movie. That I will leave to those better suited for understanding it. As for entertainment value… It can only really go forward from here.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The African Queen (1951)

Afrikas Dronning
This was a movie I have been looking forward to see for some time. It is another famous movie that has somehow been able go under my radar until I started this project, but early on I figured this would be an interesting one to watch.

First, this is an adventure movie with strong elements of romantic comedy, a bit in the vein of Indiana Jones, and that certainly appeals to the boy in me. An adventurous ride in a small boat through the interior of Africa.  Secondly this is a movie with two of my favorite actors, Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, and directed by John Huston, who I am getting more and more respect for. Finally, as if this was not enough, “The African Queen” was photographed by the king of Technicolor, Jack Cardiff, who blew me away with “Black Narcissus”. Really, what is there not to like about this film?

On most levels this movie actually did live up to the staggering expectations I had. Let me start with all the positives.

It is a beautiful movie. The colors are knife sharp, as only Technicolor could do it, but not the glaring exaggeration of early color films. No, here the colors were just right and amazingly this is done for something like half of the film on location in Africa under primitive conditions. There is wildlife and scenery, drama at the rapids and the tepid gloom in the reeds and the cinematography catches it all. There is also very little embellishment of Bogie and Katie’s appearance. They look their age and get grittier and grittier the further downstream they get. It screams Jack Cardiff all over and imagine that he claimed this was just ordinary photography with none of the blows and whistles of his other movies… If there was nothing else to the movie I could look at the pictures for hours on end.

But there is more to the movie than that. A lot more. There is an adventure, two people stranded in German East Africa (now Tanzania) at the outbreak of WWI who has to get through enemy lines to get to safety in Kenya and in the process battle the river, the weather, the wildlife, some Germans and not least themselves.

However, as Huston seemed to love doing, the adventure was just a pretext to place his characters in difficult situations and then watch them develop. I have mentioned before that he did great things with actors and this is exactly what happens here. Most of the movie is really just Katie and Bogie as the prim spinster Rose Sayer and the grimy boat captain Charlie Allnut acting out a relationship. They start out as stark opposites who are only together out of necessity, but develop into something else and because this movie is also a romantic comedy there is really no do doubt what that something else is, but it is interesting to see none the less. And that is largely thanks to John Huston.

Maybe for a modern audience the adventure part is a little too toned down, but that is actually what I like about these old movies that they take the time to let characters develop instead of rushing them from one danger to the next and frankly I cannot get enough of either of them (with a little “but”, but more on that later…).

Lately I have watched a lot of Katharine Hepburn. She had a theme going with Spencer Tracy where she would always play this headstrong modern woman against Tracy’s old school charm. In these movies we would always find that inside the iron lady there was a soft woman’s heart. In “The African Queen” we see another Hepburn, the middle-aged prim spinster who is coming out of her shell. Under the fragile Victorian exterior she has some real backbone and a fighter’s will if not common sense. In a sense the opposite development of the typical Hepburn character.

Bogart is almost always a tough guy. Gangster tough, detective tough, badass tough or just mad. In “The African queen” he is soft as a lamb, comfortable in his little boat with his steam engine and plenty of gin. He is the nay-sayer to all of Rosie’s wacky ideas and he is almost sheepish when he approach her. Almost, because this would not be Bogart if he did not rise to the challenge and got things done. It is a bit odd to see him like this, but also a demonstration of his true range. Bogie got himself an Oscar for this role (in front of Marlon Brando) and although he is good I think this is far from his strongest performance. That would have been in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” where he was robbed while “In a Lonely Place” Casablanca” and “High Sierra” could and maybe should have landed him an award as well. I cannot help thinking that he got it for “The African Queen” A) because it is a more sympathetic character in a beautiful film and B) as compensation for all the times he was robbed. Still I have nothing bad to say about his performance in the African Queen, he did his part very well. I just like his wild side better.

On the negative, because yes, not everything works here, there are a number of silly elements. Beside the absolutely ludicrous idea of sinking a German gunboat with a home-made torpedo there are all these silly small things. Charlie gets bitten by leeches on his chest and ankles, but only as far as Rosie can reach. There are no leeches under the trousers… The two of them spend a lot of time in the water although the actual water where they filmed was practically poisonous and they are just silly lucky at all the right places. In this type of film it is actually okay. Nobody claims this is realism, but at times it is almost tilting over. Secondly, and that is more serious, is the romance between Rosie and Charlie. I loved them when they fought. That was funny and exciting and there was so much energy in those scenes. Then they fall in love and after 10 minutes I get sick from hearing them calling each other Rosie dear and Charlie dear. I understand that they have to be clumsy and unaccustomed to their roles as lovers, but that part just does not work for me.

Yet, I cannot help thinking that it is a bit unworthy of me to crack down on such perceived faults in an otherwise excellent movie, but that is how it is when expectations are high. Also when a movie looks so fresh and modern as this one does I tend to forget that this is an old film and judge it instead by a modern standard. Honestly, this movie looks at least 10, maybe 20 years ahead of its time.

“The African Queen” is a good time in the cinema or a great afternoon in the sofa. Next time I will bring in the family to watch it. I think they will like it too.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

One Summer of Happiness (Hon Dansade en Sommar) (1951)

Hun Dansede en Sommernat
Here is another special entry from the Danish edition of the book. Curiously it is not even a Danish movie, but a Swedish one. Either the editors figured that there were not enough good Danish movies to pick from or, more likely, that from a Danish perspective Scandinavian movies were under-represented on the List. So, apparently they figured this one is a film you should not miss. I have some trouble understanding why.

“Hon Dansade en Sommar” (English title: One Summer of Happiness) is a heavy, heavy Swedish story of forbidden love in the Swedish Bible belt. It is one of those movies where an hour and forty-five minutes feels like an eternity and where the weight of the movie leaves you crushed and tired. Needless to say I was unimpressed with this one.

Its claim to fame is nudity in a bath scene, something that caused the movie to be banned in a number of countries and delayed its release in others and as a bonus started the (somewhat undeserved) Swedish reputation of being a sexually liberal country.  In an otherwise dull film I was starting to wonder if this really could prove so interesting that it would save the film, but when the famous scene finally arrived I had to laugh. It is just about as innocent as it is possible to get: Two nude bodies in stark silhouette playing in the water and then a glimpse of Ulla Jacobsson’s breast as they lay on the ground. People must have been such prudes back in 1951 to have thought this daring or offensive. Oh dear oh dear.

With that out of the way let us focus on the story. Göran Stendal (Folke Sundquist) is a young man who has just graduated from high school and is spending the summer on the countryside until he has to start on university. He is a city boy and staying at his uncle’s farm in the middle of nowhere is not his idea of a good time. That is, until he meets Kerstin (Ulla Jacobsson). She is 17 years old and admittedly a very pretty girl. Suddenly Göran is interested in everything that will bring him close to Kerstin. Göran is a bit of a ladies friend and being from the city makes him doubly interesting for the farm girls, but Kerstin is different and therein lies the problem.

This outback location is also the Swedish Bible belt and the local minister (John Elfström) holds the congregation in an iron grip based on a particularly strict, conservative and frankly viscous interpretation of the scriptures. Kerstin’s family is very religious and close to this ayatollah and so Kerstin is afraid for good reason to involve herself in anything that might be considered frivolous behavior, such as dancing, theater or, worst of all, hanging out with boys.

Göran’s uncle, Anders Persson (Edvin Adoplhson) is a lot more open-minded and runs his own low key rebellion against religious dogmatism and Göran himself could not care less. He just want Kerstin and does not really care that he is getting her in trouble.


Of course this will eventually come to a head. First Kerstin is sent away and Göran is sent back to town to start university and then, when that cannot keep them apart, Göran and Kerstin drive away together on his motorbike only to be torpedoed by the minister’s car (the minister is for all his raging on the corruption of modernity quite a reckless driver) causing injury and death.

Kerstin was a flower that bloomed and danced for a single summer before her life was snuffed out.

At the funeral the minister has gall to call her death a lesson and punishment for frivolity, although he himself caused the accident, while Anders Persson, Göran’s uncle gives a speech about how nobody can judge another person and that love is the greatest gift.

-------End of spoiler----

This all sound awfully familiar. I cannot work out if this movie just follows the template or if it is the original movie, but I would probably put my money on the first option. Youth rebellion in a conservative environment. The bittersweet blossoming of a one-year flower. Trouble is this is not even close to the best rendition of the theme. Even among the special Danish entries to the list I think this is the third movie to use these themes and not the best one.

I have no problem with the acting itself. It feels quite natural and realistic and there is a very rural feel to all these characters. They are also not without charm, many of them are even quite likable. Unfortunately I never come to terms with Göran, he is just too much of a spoiled and selfish ass, a little too smart. In more modern movies you know that the prettier the actors and actresses are where it is not really necessary the cheaper the production is and that also counts for older movies. While all the other characters are well casted Göran is not and that detracts from the movie experience.

It is also unfortunate that the quality of my copy is not particularly good. Grainy and often unfocused and with mediocre sound quality it look older that it really is.

“Hon Dansade end Sommar” won a number of prices and was something of an international hit at the box office, but it has not aged well and I cannot say that it stands out among the movies on the List, except maybe in boredom. It can be seen as a post-war youth rebellion movie or a critique of dogmatic religion, but the message I take from this movie is this: Beware of speeding priests!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

Masser af Guld
There is an entire subcategory of films devoted to heist comedies. It makes for a very entertaining movie experience to watch a group of people trying to get away with “the big coup” and even more entertaining if comedic elements are thrown in. I suppose it is the cat and mouse chase and the execution of a wild and daring plan that makes it interesting and the charm and/or silliness of the perpetrators that makes them likeable and harmless enough that we may root for them. In any case the formula works and I have lost count on how many of them I have seen. Even here in Denmark we had a very successful series of movies in the seventies about “Olsen Banden” using this exact template.  Highly recommended, by the way.

“The Lavender Hill Mob” is exactly such a movie and it got the formula pat down. What makes it noteworthy is that this is another Ealing film and therefore full of the witty charm that was the trademark of that studio. In my opinion it does not come close to “Whiskey Galore!” but that was also exceptionally good. It is however on par with the other Ealing films I have seen and contains some hearty laughs especially in the second half of the film.

At the center of the film we find Alec Guinness as Henry Holland, a dry and dull bank clerk who thanks to his diligence, attention to detail and general lack of imagination is in charge of gold transports for a London bank. I have now seen Alec Guinness in a number of Ealing films and it is really amazing the range that man had. In “The Man in the White Suit” he was a young and energetic chemist, In “Kind Hearts and Coronets” he was, well, eight different roles including a woman! And here in the Lavender Hill Mob he does the middle aged boring and nerdy clerk to perfection. Yes, and I do hear Obi-Wan Kenobi when I close my eyes and listen to his voice.

The movie opens in Rio de Janeiro where Holland is busy giving money away while he is recounting how he became rich to a fellow Englishman. The main part of the movie is that story.

Back in England Henry Holland was a boring bank clerk. While Holland to all appearances is the perfect pedant to run the gold transports he was in secret planning to rob such a transport. He just needed the right way to get the gold out of the country. That solution came when the flamboyant and distraught (great combination) artist Alfred Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway) moved into the boarding house where Holland lived. Pendlebury makes tourist souvenirs of the Eiffel Tower in lead covered with thin gold. The right weight, appearance and destination to get a lot of gold out of the country. Holland gets Pendlebury on board and now they just need a crew. How do you find qualified labor for such a job? Holland and Pendlebury come up with an ingenious plan so typical for the movie. The go around in town to crowded places while having a very load conversion on how much value they have lying around in their workshop practically unprotected. Then they hide out in the workshop waiting to see who shows up. As it happens two burglars show up, one they surprise when he enters and the other surprise them as he was there already when they came. They also seem very familiar with each other and are clearly professional types, especially when they learn that this essentially a job interview.

The heist itself is funny. There is the usual inventive complications that threatens to throw the project off track, but they pull it off and Holland is now a public hero helping the police (unsuccessfully) track down the gold thieves. It is however the aftermath that wins the price. Henry and Pendlebury head to Paris to receive their gold only to find that it is being sold as souvenirs at the Eiffel Tower itself. While they would do fine without a few of them the pedantic Holland insists that there must be no trace leading back to them so they throw themselves into a head over heels chase of the English schoolgirls who bought the golden souvenirs. This chase just gets more and more insane. Boarding the boat in Calais, hunting the reluctant girl into a police exhibition and leaving it with a tail of enraged and very confused policemen are just tight-slapping-laugh-out-loud funny. By stealing a police car and sending in false report they manage to throw the entire chase into disarray and that pile of police cars in the end is just classic. You may think that “The Blues Brothers” invented the police car pile, but it happened long before that. This is comedy of Keaton or Chaplin proportions.

So did they get away with it in the end? The interview in the beginning seems to indicate it, but as we cut back to Rio there is a little surprise in store for us. That is also perfectly in line with the formula but it is actually the only way it could go given this is a 1951 movie.

A young Audrey Hepburn has a small part in the movie, but it is so tiny that I actually missed it and only noticed when I read the titles in the end.

As always those Ealing blokes manage to pull off a charming and funny comedy that will not revolutionize anything, but is endearing and achieves its purpose: to make us laugh.