11 September 2018 | AlsExGal
The slings and arrows of outrageous insurance schemes
John Mills and Ralph Richardson play a pair of elderly brothers in Victorian England who are the last surviving members of a tontine, a form of investment/insurance policy in which a group of people pool funds which are disbursed to the last surviving member. Each of the two brothers wants to be the last surviving member, but more than that, it's their young family members who want their hands on the tontine money. They'll go to great lengths to get at it.
Michael Caine plays Mills' grandson, sutdying to be a doctor and trying to deal with Mills' increasingly parlous finances. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore play two of Richardson's great-nephews, with Nanette Newman being a cousin to them and Caine. She lives with Richardson (who lives next door to Mills), but falls in love with Caine.
There are some funny moments, but some misses too. Peter Sellers is irritating in his two scenes as a corrupt and dissolute doctor, while Wilfrid Lawson is even worse as Mills' butler. Richardson, on the other hand, is a hoot as the old man who engages in trivial small talk that drives everybody else up a wall without his having a clue as to the effect it has.