Big Job, The (1965, Sidney James, Dick Emery)

The Big Job

Yes, the smirks from the title, The Big Job, are fully intentional. Not surprising when you discover that this cackling British comedy was made by the team behind the Carry Ons. It also stars a couple of the actors familiar from the series.

Sid James plays George Brain, the woefully inept leader of a gang of thieves that includes Booky Binns (Dick Emery), Dipper Day (Lance Percival) and George’s girl, Myrtle Robbins (Sylvia Syms). The last time the gang did a robbery job, the three men got 15 years. However, they managed to stash the loot in an old oak tree in the middle of the countryside, and on their release they rush to retrieve the stash.

Unfortunately, while the boys have been inside, the once rustic hiding place has been developed into a bustling new town. Worse still, the tree is now located smack in the middle of the police station’s courtyard.

Undeterred, the quartet take rooms overlooking the yard in a boarding house run by Mrs Gamely (Joan Sims). She takes an instant shining to Booky, and makes a nuisance of herself as the gang tries every method possible (harpooning, tunnelling, wall-climbing) to get to their money. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that their fellow lodger, Harold (Jim Dale) is a policeman.

Of course, with George in charge, nothing goes to plan and disaster looms. But When Mrs Gamely discovers what her guests have been up to she’s willing to save the day – at a price.

Sid James in The Big Job

“The formula of slapstick, double meanings, earthy vulgarity and simple situations will appeal to the many Carry On addicts,” promised Variety. In fact, as the Monthly Film Bulletin added, The Big Job is “probably even funnier entertainment for those who like this brand of humour. For this is undeniably bright comedy of its kind, with amusing and sometimes quite inventive farcical situations, and deftly written dialogue.”

UK / 1965

Director: Gerald Thomas
Writer: Talbot Rothwell (from an original story by John Antrobus)

Cast: Sidney James, Sylvia Syms, Dick Emery, Lance Percival, Joan Sims, Jim Dale, Edina Ronay, Deryck Guyler, Brian Rawlinson, Ronald Beckwith, David Horne, Wanda Ventham, Peter Jesson

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