|Laughter in Paradise|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mario Zampi|
|Produced by||Mario Zampi|
|Written by|| Jack Davies |
|Starring|| Alastair Sim |
|Music by||Stanley Black|
|Edited by||Giulio Zampi|
|Distributed by||Associated British-Pathe|
|Box office||£256,579 (UK)|
Laughter in Paradise is a British comedy film released in 1951. The film stars Alastair Sim, Fay Compton, George Cole and Guy Middleton.The film was remade as Some Will, Some Won't (1970).
The will of well-known practical joker Henry Russell leaves a fortune of £50,000 on his death to each of his four surviving relatives, all unmarried, provided they first perform prescribed tasks that are completely contrary to their natures.
Law-abiding retired army officer Deniston Russell, who writes lurid crime novels under several fictional names, has within a week to get himself arrested and jailed for exactly 28 days. Difficult, snobbish Agnes Russell has to find employment as a domestic servant in a middle-class home, again within a week, and keep her position for a month. Simon Russell, a penniless womanising con man, has to marry the first single woman he speaks to. Timid Herbert Russell has to hold up the bank manager he works for in his office, using a mask and a toy pistol, and obtain the bank keys for two minutes.
Deniston is thwarted repeatedly in his attempts, but finally manages to complete his task by smashing a shop window and assaulting a policeman. It costs him his fiancée Elizabeth when he is brought up before the magistrate, Elizabeth's father, but his secretary Sheila reveals her love for him and promises to stand by him.
Agnes finds work with the irascible Gordon Webb who, since she is so surly and incompetent, is suspicious of her motives and hires a private detective, Roger Godfrey, to find out what she is up to. The handsome Roger falls in love with Gordon's long-suffering daughter Joan, who is unwilling to marry him as her father depends on her. After Agnes persuades the girl to seize the chance of happiness, Gordon first sacks her and then calls round to take her out to dinner.
Though the first single woman Simon speaks to is Frieda, a cigarette girl in a club he frequents, being in search of richer prey he breaks his promise. An attractive but suspiciously available young woman called Lucille scoops him up and, once they are married, reveals that she is the penniless niece of his butler, in whom he unwisely confided.
When Herbert finally gathers the nerve to go through with his assignment, he inadvertently foils an actual robbery and becomes a hero, plastered across the front pages of the press. Rewarded with a branch managership, his fellow employee Susan is proud and happy to be his girl.
When the executor gathers the four heirs together, he informs them that there is in fact no money left. The whole exercise was Henry's last practical joke. Agnes, Deniston and Herbert burst into laughter. Simon is annoyed at first, until he happens to look out of the window at his conniving and equally unscrupulous wife, who is waiting for him with a bottle of champagne. Then he too joins in the merriment.
Eleanor Summerfield and Noel Howlett both appeared, although in different roles, in the 1970 remake Some Will, Some Won't .
Anthony Steel has a small role.The film editor Giulio Zampi would go on to produce the 1970 remake Some Will, Some Won't .
Laughter in Paradise was the fourth most popular film at the British box-office in 1951.The New York Times in November 1951 called the film a "merely pleasant, not especially surprising, comedy".
In modern reviews, the Radio Times , David Parkinson gave the film four out of five stars, and praised the "fantastic performance of Alastair Sim as the henpecked thriller writer", adding, "the scene in which he tries to shoplift is one of the funniest in a career overladen with choice comic moments,"while Britmovie called the film "a sure-fire British comedy that's sprightly execution doesn’t leave many dull moments."
Alastair George Bell Sim, CBE was a Scottish character actor who began his theatrical career at the age of thirty and quickly became established as a popular West End performer, remaining so until his death in 1976. Starting in 1935, he also appeared in more than fifty British films, including an iconic adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol, released in 1951 as Scrooge in Great Britain and as A Christmas Carol in the United States. Though an accomplished dramatic actor, he is often remembered for his comically sinister performances.
The year 1951 in film involved some significant events.
George Edward Cole, OBE was an English actor whose career spanned 75 years. He was best known for playing Arthur Daley in the long-running ITV comedy-drama show Minder and Flash Harry in the early St Trinian's films.
Scrooge is a 1951 British Christmas fantasy drama film and an adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (1843). It stars Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge, and was produced and directed by Brian Desmond Hurst, with a screenplay by Noel Langley.
The Belles of St Trinian's is a British comedy film set in the fictional St Trinian's school, released in 1954. It and its sequels were inspired by British cartoonist Ronald Searle. Directed by Frank Launder and written by Launder and Sidney Gilliat, it was the first of a series of four films.
Joe Friday is a fictional character created and portrayed by Jack Webb as the lead for his series Dragnet. Friday is a detective in the Los Angeles Police Department. The character first appeared on June 3, 1949 in the premiere of the NBC radio drama that launched the series. Webb played the character on radio and later television from 1949–1959 and again from 1967–1970, also appearing as Friday in a 1954 theatrical release and a 1966 made-for-TV film.
The Millionairess is a 1960 British romantic comedy film directed by Anthony Asquith, and starring Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers. Set in London, it is a loose adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's 1936 play of the same name.
Green for Danger is a 1946 British thriller film, based on the 1944 detective novel of the same name by Christianna Brand. It was directed by Sidney Gilliat and stars Alastair Sim, Trevor Howard, Sally Gray and Rosamund John. The film was shot at Pinewood Studios in England. The title is a reference to the colour-coding used on the gas canisters used by anaesthetists.
Carry On Constable is a 1960 British comedy film, the fourth in the series of 31 Carry On films (1958–1992). It was released in February 1960. Of the regular team, it featured Kenneth Connor, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, and Hattie Jacques. Sid James makes his debut in the series here, while early regulars Leslie Phillips, Eric Barker, and Shirley Eaton also turn up, although Phillips did not appear again in the series for 32 years. It was the first "Carry On..." film to include some nudity with Connor, Hawtrey, Williams, and Phillips baring their behinds during a shower scene.
Lady Godiva Rides Again is a 1951 British comedy film starring Pauline Stroud, George Cole and Bernadette O'Farrell, with a variety of British "name" performers in supporting roles and cameo appearances, about a small-town English girl who wins a local beauty contest by appearing as Lady Godiva, then decides to pursue greater fame in a national beauty pageant and as an actress.
Eleanor Audrey Summerfield was an English actress who appeared in many plays, films and television series. She is known for her roles in Laughter in Paradise (1951), Final Appointment (1954), Odongo (1956), Dentist in the Chair (1960), On the Fiddle (1961), The Running Man (1963) and Some Will, Some Won't (1970).
Alice Adams is a 1935 romantic drama film directed by George Stevens and starring Katharine Hepburn. It was made by RKO and produced by Pandro S. Berman. The screenplay was by Dorothy Yost, Mortimer Offner, and Jane Murfin. The film was adapted from the novel Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington. The music score was by Max Steiner and Roy Webb, and the cinematography by Robert De Grasse. The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress.
Veronica Hurst is an English film, stage and television actress who was born in Malta. She was brought up in Tooting, London.
Noel Howlett was an English actor, principally remembered as the incompetent headmaster, Morris Cromwell, in the ITV 1970s cult television programme Please Sir!. He was the subject of infatuation by Deputy Head Doris Ewell, played by Joan Sanderson.
Some Will, Some Won't is a 1970 British comedy film directed by Duncan Wood, a remake of Laughter in Paradise (1951). It starred an ensemble British cast, which included Michael Hordern, Ronnie Corbett, Dennis Price, Leslie Phillips and Arthur Lowe. In the will of Henry Russell, four family members are left £150,000 on condition they do the bizarre tasks Russell has set out for them.
Folly to Be Wise is a 1953 British comedy film directed by Frank Launder and starring Alastair Sim, Elizabeth Allan, Roland Culver, Colin Gordon, Martita Hunt and Edward Chapman. It is based on the play It Depends What You Mean by James Bridie. The film follows the efforts of a British Army chaplain attempting to recruit entertainment acts to perform for the troops and the complications that ensue when he does. The title is taken from the line by Thomas Gray "where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise".
Posse from Hell is a 1961 American Western film directed by Herbert Coleman and starring Audie Murphy and John Saxon.
Take My Life is a 1947 British crime film directed by Ronald Neame and starring Hugh Williams, Greta Gynt and Marius Goring. It was adapted from Winston Graham's 1947 novel of the same name.
Sir Ronald Graeme Millar was an English actor, scriptwriter, and dramatist.
The Scottish actor Alastair Sim (1900–1976) performed in many mediums of light entertainment, including theatre, film and television. His career spanned from 1930 until his death. During that time he was a "memorable character player of faded Anglo-Scottish gentility, whimsically put-upon countenance, and sepulchral, sometimes minatory, laugh".