14 February 2018 | stephenabell
A Good Classic English Comedy... Full Of Twists & Turns
A Long Time Ago... there used to be the football pools. Before the National Lottery, Health Lottery, and the Postcode Lottery... even before GambleAware; everybody had a chance to put a bet on the UK's football teams. You didn't even have to leave the house as the "Pools Man" would come to you and knock upon your door.
This is the story of the Knowles family and their luck, or lack of it, with winning the pools. Things start to go awry pretty much as soon as George Knowles (Warner) starts looking for his pools sheet, which he usually keeps in his wallet. From this moment on, there are some pretty decent twists and turns. This adds both elements of comedy and drama.
There are some very witty moments in the film as the dialogue is brilliant, at times, as is the characterisations. The writers have given the audience a well structured and highly believable and realistic tale. Though this is an old film, there are situations and relationships that the viewer will still find pertinent today.
The Director, Sewell, who also had a hand in writing the film, does a good job with the camera work, though there's nothing outstanding... except for the ending. For the time, this is a nice simple special effect, which works well. It's the pace of the movie where Sewell excels. In most comedies the laughs start to wind down around the midway mark, only to build up for the climax. In this film though, the comedy is constant. Both in dialogue and in sight gags. I think this works because there are so many different characters in the film.
For example, Jack Warner and Lana Morris played father and daughter, George and Mary Knowles; These are the "Straight Men" to the rest of the cast. Harrison, who portrays Elsie Knowles, does a good job of overselling her anxiety over money and the changes it can bring. Though, at times, her screeching had my thumb hovering over the off button - luckily enough it hit the volume down instead. Thora Hird is brilliant as the neighbour and friend, Margie Groves... who likes a tipple and loves a fag. The scene where she's all dolled up for the party and is placing cakes onto plates while a fag hangs loosely between her lips is an image I won't forget too soon. It made me laugh as I used to have an aunty very similar to her. Her husband, Ted (marvellously played by Charles Victor) is a working-class tinkerer come scientist; he's trying to create a gas-powered television. He also speaks his mind, which creates a great scene when he goes head to head with Aunt Jean at the party... much to her cuckolded husband's, Uncle Tom's, humour.
Everybody in this cast is superb in their roles. Even a young Kate O'Mara does a brilliant job as Annie Knowles; the youngest daughter, who loves to revel in how sick she was, the night before, and is all too happy to tell everyone the explicit details... a real teenager.
All of this makes for great entertainment and at just one hour and twenty minutes you can't go wrong.
If you've not watched this one yet then go find a copy, or if you're in the UK it's playing on Talking Pictures on Freeview at the moment. Well worth a watch.