10 November 2009 | hitchcockthelegend
Your most tiresome fly in the ointment will be an Irish rebel.
Time, Gentlemen, Please! is now part of a collection of British comedies called the Long Lost Comedy Classics. A collection of films that disappeared off the radar but now having been re-found, have been transfered to DVD courtesy of Hollywood Classics LTD. Others in the collection are The Love Match, Orders Are Orders, Make Me An Offer, John & Julie and Miss Robin Hood.
The Prime Minister is due a celebration visit to the idyllic village of Little Hayhoe, where a Utopian state of employment exists on account of the very productive factory. However, there is one fly in the ointment, the local tramp, Dan Dance. A free spirited man, Dan likes to sleep out in the fields and booze in his ample free time. This is something of an embarrassment to the village dignitaries, who quickly hatch a plan that sees him become the sole resident of the antiquated almshouse. However, when the old reverend suddenly passes away, a new and more radical one takes his place. The reverend, upon reading of the ancient almshouse rule book, finds that Dan is entitled to considerable financial gain - financial gain that will turn Little Hayhoe upside down.
At the time of writing this review back in 2009, there were only two other reviews on IMDb, both of those users had rated this film as a 10/10 movie. I added myself to that number wholesale. Quite simply this is possibly the finest British comedy not to have come out of Ealing Studios or to have been written by the supreme Boulting brothers. Directed by Lewis Gilbert (Sink the Bismarck!), pic is adapted from an R.J. Minney (Carve Her Name with Pride) novel called "Nothing To Lose" and Produced by Herbert Mason out of Southall Studios.
So you have your quintessential English village setting with the usual array of quirky characters. The political types are as usual a shifty bunch, and the rest are happily going about their business accepting the normality of their safe existence. Enter one Eddie Byrne as Dan Dance. Eddie Byrne would go on to have a long and fruitful career in TV and Cinema, starring in such pieces as Reach for the Sky, Dunkirk, The Mummy & Star Wars, he was always working and always value for money. He was also from my home city of Birmingham, something that makes me doubly proud after witnessing his turn in this gem of Britania cinema. Dan Dance is someone who we all can identify with, even someone we secretly admire and yearn to be as his carefree approach gives him stress factor zero. At first we think Dan is an Irish character to have the "PC" brigade up in arms, but it's quickly checked as Dan, courtesy of the excellent Byrne, shows himself to be the most sharpest and aware tool in the box - with joyous results.
The script positively crackles with deft humour, wry digs at political snobs are plenty, the greedy are given short and humorous shrift. While some scenes, I kid you not, are laugh out loud funny. I had to press play so as to watch a second time straight after and caught even more craftiness within it. If you are like me and you adore the likes of Whiskey Galore! and The Titfield Thunderbolt, then it's pretty much a sure thing you will love this one too. Supporting Byrne are Hermione Baddeley, Dora Bryan, Sid James, Raymond Lovell, Marjorie Rhodes, Thora Hird and Sydney Tafler. With Anthony Hopkins' lovely and uplifting score rounding out the tip top production.
The DVD transfer is excellent, practically scratch free, so it's now hoped that with the new availability it will get a whole new audience. It deserves it because this one can blow away your troubles for a day at least, and, more importantly I feel, can serve as a reminder of just how great old time cinema really was. 10/10