The Ugly Duckling (1959)

Approved   |    |  Comedy, Crime


The Ugly Duckling (1959) Poster

Henry Jeckle was always the outsider, a bungling and awkward buffoon, relegated to waiting for his invitation to participate in life that never arrived: until he discovers a medical formula... See full summary »


5.8/10
74

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  • Bernard Bresslaw in The Ugly Duckling (1959)
  • The Ugly Duckling (1959)
  • The Ugly Duckling (1959)
  • Bernard Bresslaw, Jean Muir, and Jon Pertwee in The Ugly Duckling (1959)
  • Bernard Bresslaw, Jean Muir, and Jon Pertwee in The Ugly Duckling (1959)

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25 September 2010 | muswellmovies
Jolly good fun
I saw this film on its initial release as the lower half of a double bill,I forget what made up the other half as this is the film that impressed me. The star was Bernard Breslaw a popular comic actor at this time as he was one of the troop of conscripts in a TV show called "The Army Game". A show that was loosely based on the classic "Phil Silvers" or "Bilko" show transported to an English setting. Breslaw played Pvt "Popeye" Poppelwell. This show was popular enough to get a Film Version made called " I only Arsked" Popplewell's catchphrase and Breslaw had a hit single with a song called "Mad Passionate Love" delivered in the style of his Popeye character. N.B IMDb only lists him as appearing in two episodes of "The Army Game" but I remember him as one of the main recurring characters.If it was indeed only two episodes he made a hell of an impact as he is fondly remembered by those who recall the series, fifty years later.

I don't think it is giving too much away to say that "The Ugly Duckling" is a comic updating of the Jekyll and Hyde story. Breslaw in Popplewell mode as Henry Jekyll is a pharmacist working in a chemists shop. He discovers the formula for the Mr Hyde solution and is transformed from the idiot Jekyll into the smooth and dashing Teddy Hyde. As the dashing and handsome Hyde dressed in a natty suit he becomes the fearless leader of a gang of crooks. Breslaws performance in the dual role is terrific. Moving from the bumbling incompetent to the suave master criminal with equal conviction.

One thing to note is that the gag of having Hyde as a handsome womaniser pre dates the same idea used in "The Nutty Professor", with Jerry Lewis making a similar transformation, by four years. I have often wondered if Lewis saw this before making his own version.

Sadly this film is unavailable at the time of writing I would welcome a DVD release to re acquaint myself with it.

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