Thursday, 21 November 2013


Today is the centenary of the birth of the Boulting brothers - identical twins Roy and John - who between them made a string of classic British films, from the Forties (Brighton Rock, 1947) through the Fifties and Sixties - Seven Days to Noon, Private's Progress, Lucky Jim, I'm All Right Jack, Heavens Above!, The Family Way... In the process, they assembled a repertory company of great comedy and character actors, from Terry-Thomas, Ian Carmichael and Dennis Price to John le Mesurier, Irene Handl and Miles Malleson - not to mention Peter Sellers, whose brilliant performance as shop steward Fred Kite ('Aah Russia - all them corn fields and ballet in the evening') in I'm All Right Jack propelled him to stardom.
I saw many of these films - in the grand, smoke-filled, family-filled, laughter-filled cinemas of my boyhood - when they came out, and they gave me some of my happiest movie-going experiences. There's a clip of Sellers as Fred Kite (among others - Terry-Thomas, Sam Kydd, Cardew Robinson!) here... That is genius-level comedy acting by Sellers - a shame he so seldom achieved such heights again after he became an international star.

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