16 August 2000 | stuart-70
An endearing look at London life that is gone but not forgotten
Brace yourself for a shock - according to a recently-discovered and authentic legal document that is centuries old, Brooklyn belongs to Iceland! Consequently, people travelling to and from Brooklyn must now carry a passport or visa, declare items of value at the Brooklyn Customs points, and perhaps even converse in Icelandic!
It is a similar, mind-bending assumption (with hilarious practical implications) that British viewers have to make when watching "Passport to Pimlico" (a London district near Buckingham Palace, no less). In the film, much of Pimlico (or "Burgundy" as it is now called) looks like a bomb-site, which it probably was still at that time in the aftermath of World War II.
As one of the so-called "Ealing comedies", it ranks alongside other films in this group like "Kind Hearts and Coronets" and "The Lavender Hill Mob" which parody - but in an affectionate way - various aspects of British social life. Conversation is always very parochial and petty. At the same time, this film preserves certain other conventions of the time - for example, there really was a restriction on how much money people could take out of Britain which lasted until the 1970s. In "Passport to Pimlico", people travelling on the underground railway have to declare there currency at the "Burgundy" Customs points. Above all, Margaret Rutherford stands out as the unworldly history professor with sweeping convictions. This charming films preserves a way of life which, though long gone, is not forgotten.