Aunt Clara – 1954 | 84 mins | Comedy | B&W
Familiar episodic comedy based on Noel Streatfeild�s novel that fails to catch fire despite its undoubted charm. Margaret Rutherford plays the eponymous lead but for once her dotty spinster persona is understated and the film contains a suffocating melancholic tone that only resolves itself at the films moving closure. The excellent cast also contains such recognisable character actors as Ronald Shiner, A.E. Matthews, Raymond Huntley and Sid James.
After his death, eccentric old reprobate Simon Hilton (A.E. Matthews) leaves all his money and dubious holdings � six greyhounds, a brothel, Gamblers Luck; a gambling racket and low saloon bar named The Coat and Gaiters, to the one person who failed to attend his 80th birthday party � his puritanical niece Clara (Margaret Rutherford). Clara vows to clean up Uncle Simon�s holdings and put his ill-gotten money to good use for a children�s holiday fund. Clara also keeps Simon�s outspoken valet Henry Martin (Ronald Shiner) in employment to assist her.
Clara�s first port of call is the Coat and Gaiters, where she attempts to track down Julie, a stray young women down on her luck, and ensures her future is secure with an allowance. Next, Clara heads to Epsom to investigate Gamblers Luck, a crooked gambling syndicate, but her visit goes awry when the police raid their crooked game of chance. Clara then visits the six greyhounds and belies her righteous appearance by winning on the dogs. Finally, Aunt Clara drops in on the brothel.