Laughter In Paradise (1951 with Alastair Sim and George Cole)

UK / 1951

Producer and Director: Mario Zampi
Writers: Michael Pertwee, Jack Davies

Cast: Alastair Sim, Fay Compton, Guy Middleton, George Cole, Hugh Griffith, Beatrice Campbell, Joyce Grenfell

“Honey – a pure honey… I think you will agree with me this is the most delightful British comedy in years,” wrote the Sunday Express of this British comedy written by Michael Pertwee and Jack Davies.

Eccentric Endicott (Ernest Thesiger) dies leaving £50,000 to each of his four remaining relatives, but there are sticky strings attached. In order to inherit, his snobbish spinster sister Agnes (Fay Compton), who makes life hell for her servants, has to work as a maid and keep her job for a month. Timid bank clerk Herbert (George Cole) must hold up his manager at gun point and force him to hand over the keys. Gambler playboy Simon (Guy Middleton) is to marry the first woman he meets after the reading of the will and respectable retired army officer Deniston (Alastair Sim), secretly a writer of blood-and-thunder adventures for boys, has to commit a crime that will land him in jail for 28 days.

Alastair Sim was one of the funniest men in films in the 1950s and his splendid performance was well matched by the entertaining contributions of the other leads – Compton, Cole and Middleton – and a fine gallery of familiar British character actors – Joyce Grenfell, John Laurie, Hugh Griffith, Ronald Adam, Eleanor Summerfield, Leslie Dwyer and Colin Gordon. Audrey Hepburn made her brief third screen appearance (and first in a British picture) as a cigarette girl and even screenwriter Michael Pertwee had a cameo role.

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