I'm All Right Jack (1959)

Not Rated   |    |  Comedy


I'm All Right Jack (1959) Poster

A naive aristocrat in search of a career becomes caught up in the struggles between his profit-minded uncle and an aggressive labor union.


7.2/10
3,298

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  • Richard Attenborough in I'm All Right Jack (1959)
  • Dennis Price in I'm All Right Jack (1959)
  • Terry-Thomas in I'm All Right Jack (1959)
  • Ian Carmichael in I'm All Right Jack (1959)
  • Peter Sellers in I'm All Right Jack (1959)
  • I'm All Right Jack (1959)

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4 July 2010 | Spikeopath
9
| Near masterpiece from the brilliant Boulting brothers.
I'm All Right Jack is directed and produced by John and Roy Boulting from a script by Frank Harvey, John Boulting and Alan Hackney. It's based on the novel Private Life by Hackney and is a sequel to the Boulting's 1956 film Private's Progress. Returning from the first film are Ian Carmichael, Dennis Price, Richard Attenborough, Terry-Thomas, Victor Madden & Miles Malleson. While Peter Sellers (BAFTA for Best Actor) and a ream of British comedy actors of the time make up the rest of the cast.

Looking to force a crooked deal, Bertram Tracepurcel (Price) and his cohort Sydney de Vere Cox (Attenborough) convince Major Hitchcock (Thomas), the personnel manager at the local missile factory, to hire Tracepurcel's nephew, Stanley Windrush (Carmichael), knowing full well that his earnest and wet behind the ears approach to work will cause fractions within the work force. Then it's expected that Bolshoi shop steward Fred Kite (Sellers) will call a strike that will see the crooked plan to fruition.

Between 1956 and 1963 the Boulting brothers produced a number of satirical movies, I'm All Right Jack is arguably the finest of the bunch. Given that it's now admittedly a dated time capsule, for some of the dialogue would simply be shot down in this day and age, one has to judge and value it for the time it was made. The first and most striking thing about the film is that nobody escapes the firing line, this is not merely a device to kick the trade unions with {and a kicking they do get}, but also the government, the media, big industries and the good old chestnut of the old school brigade. All are in the sights of the Boulting's and the team. The overriding message being that all of them are out for themselves, self-interest and feathering of ones nest is the order of the times.

Also winning a BAFTA was the screenplay, with that you still need the cast to do do it justice. Ian Carmichael was an undervalued performer in that he was an unselfish actor feeding set ups to his costars. That is never more evident than it is here where the likes of Margaret Rutherford, Irene Handl, John Le Mesurier, Liz Fraser & Victor Madden benefit greatly playing off of Carmichael's toff twit twittering. But it's Sellers movie all the way. Which considering he didn't want to do the movie originally, saying he couldn't see the role of Kite being funny, makes his turn all the more special. Studying for weeks labour leaders and politico types, Sellers, with suit too tight, cropped hair and a Hitler moustache, nails the pompous militancy of the shop steward leader. It doesn't stop there, couple it with the contrast of Kite's home life, where the Boulting's are slyly digging away at facades, and you get a two side of the coin performance that's a joy from start to finish.

Very much like Ealing's sharp 51 piece, The Man In The White Suit, this is cynical, but classy, British cinema across the board. Throwing punches and with cheek unbound, I'm All Right Jack has razor sharp teeth from which to take a bite of the comedy pie with. 9/10

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