Desert Mice (1959)

  |  Comedy, War

Desert Mice (1959) Poster

WW2 British entertainment troupe bring comedy and chaos to North Africa.


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31 August 2016 | Leofwine_draca
| Slight British WW2 comedy
DESERT MICE is something of a disappointing British comedy given the pedigree of talent involved. It's a film about ENSA - the Entertainments National Service Association - who were basically entertainers who went around the army and gave the troops something to think about other than the threat of imminent death and destruction. The setting for this film is France and latterly North Africa, as a small group of entertainers become involved with a stuffy major who doesn't want them anywhere near his men.

This film is going to be of instant appeal thanks to the appearance of the likes of Sid James and Dora Bryan in leading roles, but it's fair to say that the actors don't have a great deal to work with here. The comedy is laboured and genteel, like something out of the 1940s, rather than the then-modern likes of the burgeoning CARRY ON series. Much of the jokes come at the expense of Alfred Marks as the stuffy major, but his is a one-note performance that starts feeling repetitive after he has about five minutes of screen time.

There are elements to enjoy here, including a fast pace and big cast, and even the plot - in which the entertainers end up foiling a genuine German plot spearheaded by Marius Goring - is mildly enjoyable. But the emphasis is on "mildly", because ultimately this is a forgettable and extremely slight production. Watch out for the lovely Liz Fraser, whose figure is showed off to the maximum, a hard-working Reginald Beckwith as the magician, and the funny Irene Handl.

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