Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963)

Director: Cliff Owen

Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson, John Antrobus, John Warren, Len Heath, Ivor Jay, William Whistance Smith

Composer: Richard Rodney Bennett

Starring: Peter Sellers, Lionel Jeffries, Bernard Cribbins, Davy Kay, Nanette Newman, Bill Kerr, Ed Devereaux, Reg Lye, John Le Mesurier, Graham Stark, Martin Boddey, Irene Browne, Arthur Mullard, Dermot Kelly, Vanda Godsell, Tutte Lemkow, Barry Keegan

More info: IMDb

Tagline:Meet the mastermind who pulls the strings in the underworld...and all his mobs and dolls...filling the London fog with laughter and lunacy.

Plot: The crooks in London know how it works. No one carries guns and no one resists the police. Then a new gang appears that go one better. They dress as police and steal from the crooks. This upsets the natural order of the police/criminal relationship and the police and the crooks join forces to catch the IPOs (Impersonating Police Officers), including an armored car robbery in which the police must help the gangs to set a trap.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I love British comedy and I love Peter Sellers.  I'll probably get beaten for saying this but Sellers was a brilliant actor and comedian with impeccable linguistic skills but he had few films where he was truly funny.  And even some of those the humor was sublime and slyly played.  In a comedy such as this he plays his role with high professionalism but don't look for him for the funny.  Some of that lies elsewhere but there aren't as many laughs as you'd hope for.  It's a cute film but the final act is tedious and it tries too much to be farcical.  Like a lot of British comedies of the 50s and 60s it's got a lot of familiar faces which adds to their charm. 

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