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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    This film is sheer bliss.

    This was my introduction to British comedy when I was a boy. My dad was a great fan of this, and all of Alistair Sim and the early comedies of Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers. I cannot count how many times I have seen it.

    The pairing of Sim and Rutherford is the core of the film. Those scenes of Miss Whitchurch and her colleagues descending on Nutbourne and taking over are priceless, as they mistake the boy's school for a girl's school and everything takes on double and triple meanings. They are definitely very well-matched.

    And Joyce Grenfell as Miss Gossage.

    Favorite scenes among many:

    Whitchurch and Pond battling over the phone. "How DARE you, sir!" "How dare YOU madame!"

    "Guard thine honour..."

    Pond cast out by Whitchurch. "There's no use playing dog in the manger"

    Whitchurch's assessment of Nutbourne: "Nicotine. Fisticuffs. The race horse. We are in a descending spiral of iniquity!"

    The whole long, brilliant sequence of the parents' visit, which builds and builds into pandemonium.

    However I am feeling, a few minutes of The Happiest Days of Your Life and life looks better.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK didi-5's Avatar
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    'Miss Gossage - call me sausage'.

    I agree this film is superb. Sim and Rutherford had great comedy faces and as both of them struggle with the situation of having their schools brought together they are wonderful. One of my favourite scenes involves Rutherford showing parents around 'her' school and trying to explain away the pictures in the staff common room! And then there's the usual appearance from Richard Wattis, always a regular and always a pleasure to watch.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by didi-5 View Post
    'Miss Gossage - call me sausage'.

    I agree this film is superb. Sim and Rutherford had great comedy faces and as both of them struggle with the situation of having their schools brought together they are wonderful. One of my favourite scenes involves Rutherford showing parents around 'her' school and trying to explain away the pictures in the staff common room! And then there's the usual appearance from Richard Wattis, always a regular and always a pleasure to watch.
    The presence of outstanding talent in small and featured roles is one of the real, consistent pleasures in British film. That was true of US films until the late 40s, but then most of them were lost to television or the collapse of the studios. But British films kept its stock company of great actors and actresses who appeared in large and small roles. I suppose they were working on stage at the same time.

    Every one of the staff in The Happiest Days of Your Life - both the men and the women - are perfectly cast. Even the tiny roles are carefully cast.

  4. #4
    GRAEME
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimR View Post
    The presence of outstanding talent in small and featured roles is one of the real, consistent pleasures in British film. That was true of US films until the late 40s, but then most of them were lost to television or the collapse of the studios. But British films kept its stock company of great actors and actresses who appeared in large and small roles. I suppose they were working on stage at the same time.

    Every one of the staff in The Happiest Days of Your Life - both the men and the women - are perfectly cast. Even the tiny roles are carefully cast.
    Plenty of fine rep players turned up in westerns well into the 70s, didn't they?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Its the pencil sketches of the smaller characters which I love, from Hyde-Browns really quite dodgy 'I say, your girls are bang-on for seventeen!', through to Richard Wattis observing that although the school building goes back to Henry the VIII, 'if Pond doesn't keep up the repayments, it goes back to the bank'.
    The characters are cynical, downtrodden, frayed at the edges, and sometimes slightly mad: its a pretty good satire on early post war Britain, as well as a fine comedy in its own right.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAEME View Post
    Plenty of fine rep players turned up in westerns well into the 70s, didn't they?
    Yes, they were an exception; the John Ford westerns especially had a group of loyal character actors. But for the most part the days of the reliable, recognizable, highly individual featured and supporting players who would make five or six films every year were over by the early post-war years.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeB View Post
    Its the pencil sketches of the smaller characters which I love, from Hyde-Browns really quite dodgy 'I say, your girls are bang-on for seventeen!', through to Richard Wattis observing that although the school building goes back to Henry the VIII, 'if Pond doesn't keep up the repayments, it goes back to the bank'.
    The characters are cynical, downtrodden, frayed at the edges, and sometimes slightly mad: its a pretty good satire on early post war Britain, as well as a fine comedy in its own right.
    Yes, indeed. Gladys Henson as the housekeeper only has to stare at Pond and she creates a whole character. When he tells her he is sure the staff will rise to the occasion: "They will rise alright" - as they march off.

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Thanks very much. I really enjoyed that - fine work.

    I have often wondered about the beautiful area where the film was made.

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