12 September 2000 | leapso
Very old-style caperish farce, with nice tone, funny gags
Richard Lester is an American-born director who was a quiet architect of a certain type of English screen comedy, working on early TV experiments with members of radio's "Goon Show" (Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan), then the first couple of Beatles movies, then some movie stuff which parallelled the surreal comedy of the TV Monty Python, inc "The Bed-Sitting Room" (from a play co-written by Milligan) and "How I Won The War". This is a nice little film which has some of the gagsmanship of his old stuff, and kind of a "What's Up Doc" type plotline, with money from a heist, plenty of screwball characters, and general old-fashioned movie farce confusion. Doesn't probably get the momentum it wants to, but it's low-key affable loopyness is pretty watchable. As the Maltin review suggests, in a pretty decent little comedy cast, the David Wayne turn as the antique, shambolic train conductor is the real highlight, with laughs pretty much every time he turns up. In Lester's career, it's not a "Hard Day's Night", "Three Musketeers", "Cuba", or even "Juggernaut", but it's different and enjoyable enough on its own terms for comedy movie addicts to take a look.