1 June 2017 | robert-temple-1
Excellent ironical tale of how one thing leads to another
This is a very good fifties ensemble drama directed by Gerald Thomas, which shows how tiny events can lead to a series of larger ones culminating in catastrophes. (And this was decades before the urban legend of the butterfly flapping its wings in South America arose.) The acting is excellent, and it is sad to think that this was the last time that the lovely Susan Shaw appeared in a film (aged 29) before her husband died in an accident and she went to pieces. Although she appeared in a few things after that, she entered a terminal depression, turned to drink, and died at 49. And yet here she is, all fresh and jolly with her life still in front of her. So that is a further irony associated with this film, which is a sardonic threnody to the interventions of tragic irony in our lives. Tes film positively reeks of the fifties, and anyone who wonders what English daily life was like then can see the whole panoply of it laid out here, down to the last teacup. What the men were like then, what the women were like then, seems as distant now as the dinosaurs. And although the entire story hinges upon a London bus conductor, there are none left today. They are greatly missed by all who remember them, with their wisecracks, cranky folk wisdom and observations about the weather, and their odd and amusing personalities. They could not exist today in our relentless world of 'elf and safety and dour 'political correctness'. In this story we see just how dangerous it was to go out with insufficient change for a bus fare, and how one really diced with fate by being so foolhardy as to insult a bus conductor's integrity in front of his inspector. As for the stuffy bank clerks, and their finicky ways back then, one misses them far less. They could be so tiresome and irritating that if they were still around, they would be enough to drive one to the despondent option of that otherwise unthinkable madness, 'online banking', or 'hacker's paradise' as I prefer to call it. This entertaining film is very well worth seeing, and is a solid social history lesson as well.