Hers a terrific, very British topical comedy on the subject of industrial relations between the management and the burgeoning trade union movement of the time. The catalyst for the action is posh young aristocrat Stanley Windrush, played by Iain Carmichael, who can't settle into the normal "captain of industry" jobs lined up for him by his well connected family. In the end he settles for a shop-floor job at his uncle's missiles factory, little suspecting the part he will play in proceedings which will eventually lead him to inadvertently trigger a national strike paralysing the country's manufacturing industry and even seeing himself invited onto a national "Question Time" type TV programme cast as the ordinary average decent bloke just trying to keep his head down and get his work done.
The satire is razor sharp and the better for not taking sides. On the one hand we have Windrush's uncle and his dubious fat cat friend, spivvily played by Richard Attenborough with a ridiculous con-man moustache to boot, orchestrating matters, or so they think, relying on bolshie shop steward Peter Sellers and his apparently bone idle, one-speed workforce to come out on strike to facilitate their plan to skim a fortune in transfer contract fees while the workforce itself comes across as heart lazy, self-interested and completely hung up on their own arcane, counter-productive trade union rules.
With an all-star British cast of familiar faces on show like Sellers, Carmichael, Attenborough plus Terry Thomas, Liz Fraser, John Le Mesurier and Irene Handl this potent material is in good hands and the comedy flows thick and fast before arriving at its most odd conclusion, reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh's "A Handful Of Dust" in its surreal abstraction with a disillusioned Windrush reluctantly joining in of all things a naturist camp. I watched in near disbelief the sight of retreating naked female behinds over the end titles!
Elsewhere the comedy is less broad but still very much to the point as management and union play out their cat and mouse games in complicit disharmony. I loved the topicality of the times too, such as when Windrush's new "fan club" of young girls screams for him, his name Stan emblazoned over last month's hero Elvis.
One suspects that events are only slightly exaggerated from real-life which only helps the comedy resonate all the more. This film is better than all right Jack, in my view.
I'm All Right Jack
I'm All Right Jack
Naive Stanley Windrush returns from the war, his mind set on a successful career in business. Much to his own dismay, he soon finds he has to start from the bottom and work his way up, and also that the management as well as the trade union use him as a tool in their fight for power.
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January 24, 2015 at 09:12 AM