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United Kingdom 1949
Directed by
John Paddy Carstairs
84 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Chiltern Hundreds

The English excel at class farce (they know enough about it) and The Chiltern Hundreds is a particularly good example of the breed.

Based on a play by William Douglas-Home, the delights are the quick fire dialogue and the tongue-in-cheek performances from the fine cast. British stage and film veteran (he made his stage debut in 1886!) A.E. Matthews reprises his stage performance as the absent-minded old gent, Lord Lister whose son, Tony (David Tomlinson), and butler, Beecham (Cecil Parker), go head-to-head in the post-war General Election that in rela life replaced Winston Churchill with Clement Attlee, the twist being that the son is standing for Labour, the butler for the Tories. If Matthews has his schtick down to a “tee”, Parker is priceless as the arch-conservative butler who worships the class system that the aristocrats themselves treat with a disdain born of familiarity. There’s a romantic sub-plot that is less successful but it’s not a major intrusion on the main attraction which is self-deprecating English humour at its best.




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