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  • Norman is the oldest orphan at Greenwood's orphanage who now works there in return for free board. Norman is always trying to give the orphans a good life but all that is threatened when Mr Bigley announces he is going to sell the property for industrial use, Norman takes action to prevent the sale.

    I'm not a huge Wisdom fan but I have seen many of this films. So I know that I do enjoy his brand of humour and know he can be really funny in a gentle way when the film allows him to be. Here the basic plot is only a step to several funny scenes – Norman entered in a walking race, Norman fleeing the police in a toy car, Norman in a train carriage with a group of upper-class stiffs etc. Most of the film is little to do with the plot described above. It's only the final scene where the orphans repel the adults that brings it back to the central idea, however that doesn't mean it's no good. My personal favourite is the scene where Norman gets mistaken for a conductor because he's holding a candy floss stick and gets bungled in front of an orchestra at a concert- again little to do with the plot, but still funny!

    The actual set-ups for Wisdom to do his stuff are all pretty funny and don't feel forced despite not fitting naturally into the plot. The humour is gentle and when Norman is doing it he really gives his all. He'll never be respected like some other comedians but here he shows that he is a genius and can work gags well in his own style. In other films he has suffered from a lack of a good support cast, but here he is pretty much carrying the whole thing and does it very well. Some may dislike the cute kids aspect of the film but it's only the end where they get much input. Rice and Abicair are OK but it's nice to see a young Thora Hird before her stair-lift adverts paid her way!

    Overall this is funny, gentle comedy Wisdom style. Those that hate his basic style will dislike this but fans will love it and it's good enough to win over new viewers. Definitely one of Wisdom's better films – and that's without the sterling support of regular's Desmonde and Chapman.
  • Norman Wisdom may not be a household name in North America, but he certainly was one in Europe & Asia during the height of his career in the '50s & the '60s. "One Good Turn" is a funny, clean cut family comedy that you can watch with your kids without having to have the remote handy to press the forward button during the inappropriate sections which nowadays is all over so called family movies. Norman is charming, honest & utterly funny in his movies. A likable character that kids and adults alike can relate to. "One Good Turn" is a funny movie with many clever slapstick sequences (check out the orchestra conductor sequence for just one example) that have not lost their charms. Norman Wisdom movies have been hard to find here in North America but recently WHAM! USA label has put out a whole bunch of them out (sadly on VHS only so far). Get them while they're still around. You won't be disappointed!
  • AndreiPavlov27 September 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    To put it mildly, I've laughed them off! Again, Mr Norman Wisdom has not disappointed me. The following scenes really blow my breath away: Norman trying to get the right coin from the "Red Cross" box, Norman fighting all manner of obstacles in a phone-booth, Norman misbehaving in a first-class coupe on the train (watch out for a bunch of old snobs), Norman loosing his trousers, Norman winning a marathon "London-Brighton", Norman performing in the theatre instead of "Igor Petrovitch", Norman watching some western through a peephole, and to crown it all there is a wonderful song performed by his female colleague to the children (Mary, if I remember her name correctly) on the train.

    As usual, Mr Norman Wisdom plays Mr "Trouble", a down-to-earth fool (by human snob society standards) with big heart of gold. Now the whole merry business goes around an orphanage. Unlike previous movies with Norman though, this movie is not easy to watch sometimes. Mainly because Norman gets real ordeal: the young good-looking woman (a slippery character) hurts Norman with her "neat" deeds (ordering all manner of tasty things and leaving Norman alone even before the food is served, giving an airplane to the boy at a very wrong moment, playing with Norman's feeling though she knows she will never be with him, etc.), the orphanage defenders throw (not intentionally) all manner of stuff onto poor Norman, the fake hypnotize master "helps" Norman to get a number of punches in the final round of ten-pound boxing match, a policeman chases Norman because the little brat tells that his motorcar has been taken away from him... It simply amazes me how patiently (I mean without getting offended and wicked) Norman goes through all this. He keeps on smiling, singing, and helping others in his usual over-the-top frank manner. He is a real Christian in the sense of carrying the troubles of his fate and kicks and slaps of everybody around him.

    Now it is no wonder to me, why his movies are not popular and tend to have very low ratings on IMDb: people want to see a macho with big fists, quick feet, and big mouth full of naughty sexual dialogue. Who needs a looser in an old worn-out cap and stupid childish behaviour? If you ask me, I say that I need. This poor Norman can teach any of us a lesson or two. In my humble opinion Norman is the most pleasant character ever created on the screen, who lives on through a succession of great movies and never gets morally bad.

    Did I say "great"? Yes, this is it, 10 out of 10. Thank you for attention.
  • As I had been expecting, the second Norman Wisdom vehicle was more of a sentimental comedy - since it finds him taking care of an orphanage (again, a favorite theme with star comedians) which is set to be torn down by ruthless developers - and, in fact, there is an excess of pathos present, especially in Norman's relationship with a lonely (and very uncharismatic) boy. However, on the upside, this turned out to be quite a plot-packed and gag-filled film, though it runs out of steam towards the end.

    The level of invention is certainly average (though already a few gags and plot details are reprised from its immediate predecessor, TROUBLE IN STORE [1953]), notably the trip to Brighton culminating in a marathon walk, Norman's hilarious stint as an orchestral conductor (even if it's a situation that's been done to death, and the subsequent destruction of the stage was practically ripped off The Marx Bros.' A NIGHT AT THE OPERA [1935]) and the star's myriad attempts to raise money in order to buy the boy a motor-car he had promised him.

    Interestingly, watching Wisdom at work here immediately after MORGAN - A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT (1966) irresistibly draws parallels with David Warner's own child-like behavior in that film (albeit dealt with, obviously, in a more adult manner).
  • Probably the best of Norman Wisdom's films. Some extremely funny and clever scenes are seen in this work. For example, Wisdom fools around in a railway carriage in front of some very 'English' stuffed shirts. Also,(in one of the funniest scenes I have seen in any film) he stands in front of an orchestra waving a candy floss stick. The orchestra plays accordingly! There are some sentimental scenes also, which some viewers may find hard to take (as in all Wisdom's films). But, on the whole, a very funny film guaranteed to cheer you up when you are feeling down.
  • With fairly high Pinewood production values this was one of Norman Wisdom's best films, sans his best foil Jerry Desmonde though. Richard Caldicott played the posh pompous machinating bigwig foil here, but unfortunately wasn't (mis)used to the full.

    Norman is general dogsbody at quaint orphanage under threat of demolition and replacement by a factory – this umbrellas various episodic adventures he has in his drive to buy an expensive £12 toy car for little Jimmy. Favourite bits: annoying the First Class rail passengers with his vivacity/yobbishness – depending on your point of view; making the best of a trouserless situation; peeling the onion with the sewing machine, to everyone's distress; the boxing bout; conducting the orchestra; the Black Sheep Of Whitehall and Happiest Days Of Your Lives type reprises. Thora Hird got more of a showing than in Black Sheep too. Two sentimental songs from Norman along the way: Step In The Right Direction (bedtime at the orphanage) and one he wrote himself Please Opportunity (at the funfair), both perfectly sung – just how much did Anthony Newley and Robbie Williams owe to him?

    Along with some of the sets some of the acting could be a little wooden but much more preferable to me than todays plastic. For a glimpse of a safe but dead Britain it's great stuff, also a pleasant non-heavy comedy in all departments.
  • alexandra-2511 October 2007
    Here in the film; One Good Turn, director; John Paddy Carstairs' focus appears to be on juxtaposing 1950s youth culture with Victorian philanthropic-style morality. In other words this film director looks at the up-and-coming democratic methods as illustrated by the children's anarchic actions pertaining to saving their home, which is an orphanage. This is pitted against pillar-of-the community-type figures who are not used to democracy where their authority and values are questioned by the new generation. This anarchic behaviour is further juxtaposed with Norman's innocent attitude to life.

    The illustration of the insubordinate behaviour of young people is also illustrated well in films such as for example;The Blue Lamp (1950), albeit in a more serious and as such cynical way where the youths of the era are labelled as potentially dangerous. But this film along with One Good Turn are mere reflections of social change.

    For my money J.P. Carstairs is the director who brings more to bare to Wisdom's acting and comic timing. As such One Good Turn is a far superior Wisdom outing than many of his later ones. For this reason it is an excellent choice for viewing.
  • My second Norman Wisdom viewing after THE SQUARE PEG and it's an improvement: this one has a successful gag rate, with one amusing set-piece following on another and plenty of highlights along the way. In this one, Norman works at a children's orphanage which provides a basic backdrop for the usual slapsticky shenanigans.

    The best bits come when he unwittingly leads an orchestra, is chased by police in a toy car, and has an unfortunate incident with a wasp on a train. There's also time for a couple of songs along the way during which Wisdom reveals a strong, melodic singing voice.

    Production values are strong and Thora Hird gives good support as an exasperated maid/confidante. Throw in some romance and you have an affectionate and gentle comedy from times gone by.
  • This is another early film of British comedian Norman Wisdom. In "One Good Turn," Wisdom goes through one hilarious situation after another. It would be hard to contrive a plot such as this that has so many different, unrelated situations to exploit for humor. Wisdom provide riotous laughter in a telephone booth brouhaha. Then he is involved in a train fiasco. He is very impressive and hilarious when he takes wand in hand to conduct a real orchestra, tails and all. And, he is a hoot in a carnival boxing bout. There are many more crazy and funny skits.

    All of this is related to Norman's duties for the Evergreen home for children, and his efforts to save the orphanage.

    Wisdom has been called the British Charlie Chaplin, and some have likened him to Jerry Lewis. I think he had a persona all his own that included bits of several other comedians before him and during his time. I can see some Buster Keaton, some Lucille Ball, some Stan Laurel and some of the slapstick of the Three Stooges. I think his smaller comedy skits within his films closely resemble the hilarious hijinks that the Marx Brothers often created. But, his were on the scale of one performer compared to the Marx trio.

    Movie buffs on the west side of the pond today should enjoy "One Good Turn" and other Wisdom films that so delighted our English cousins in the mid-20th century. (And that may still delight a younger generation today who watch films from the "golden" years.) Those were the days before Monte Python and the breakout of the new generation of very funny irreverent British humor.

    These are films the whole family can enjoy for a night of laughter.