Three Men in a Boat (1956 film)

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Three Men in a Boat
Three Men in a Boat film Theatrical release poster (1956).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ken Annakin
Written by Hubert Gregg
Vernon Harris
Jerome K. Jerome (novel)
Produced by John Woolf (uncredited)
Jack Clayton
Starring Laurence Harvey
Jimmy Edwards
David Tomlinson
Shirley Eaton
Cinematography Eric Cross
Edited by Ralph Kemplen
Music by John Addison
Distributed byIndependent Film Distributors
Release date
  • 25 December 1956 (1956-12-25)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£247,137 [1]
Box office£212,723 [2]

Three Men in a Boat is a 1956 British CinemaScope colour comedy film directed by Ken Annakin, starring Laurence Harvey, Jimmy Edwards, David Tomlinson and Shirley Eaton. [3] It was written by Hubert Gregg and Vernon Harris based on the 1889 novel of the same name by Jerome K. Jerome.



The film is set in the Edwardian era. Harris, J, and George want to get away from it all. They decide to go on holiday boating up the River Thames to Oxford, taking with them their dog Montmorency. George is happy to get away from his job at the bank. Harris is glad to get away from Mrs. Willis, who is pressing him to marry her daughter Clara. And 'J' is more than anxious to take a holiday from his wife, Ethelbertha.

George meets three girls, Sophie Clutterbuck and sisters Bluebell and Primrose Porterhouse, who are also taking a ride up the river, and he hopes to see them again. The travellers get into various complications with the weather, the river, the boat, food, the Hampton Court Maze, tents, rain and locks. They connect with the girls again, and when things appear to be becoming interesting for the men, Mrs. Willis and her daughter and Ethelbertha show up, and things become even more interesting.



Box office

The film was the 12th most popular movie at the British box office in 1957. [4]

According to Kinematograph Weekly the film was "in the money" at the British box office in 1957. [5]


The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote: "Jimmy Edwards and David Tomlinson should have been ideally cast in Jerome's delightful comedy. Unfortunately, the curious adaptation and clumsy handling have effectively destroyed most of the charm and humour of the original book. The slapstick is crude and uninventive." [6]

The Radio Times Guide to Films gave the film 4/5 stars, writing: "The ensemble, including David Tomlinson, is amiability itself, while the parasol-toting girls are as radiant as the golden days of yesteryear." [7]

In British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959 David Quinlan rated the film as "mediocre", writing: "Colourful comedy lacks Jerome's original humour – just isn't funny." [8]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jerome K. Jerome</span> English writer and humorist (1859-1927)

Jerome Klapka Jerome was an English writer and humourist, best known for the comic travelogue Three Men in a Boat (1889). Other works include the essay collections Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow (1886) and Second Thoughts of an Idle Fellow; Three Men on the Bummel, a sequel to Three Men in a Boat; and several other novels. Jerome was born in Walsall, England, and, although he was able to attend grammar school, his family suffered from poverty at times, as did he as a young man trying to earn a living in various occupations. In his twenties, he was able to publish some work, and success followed. He married in 1888, and the honeymoon was spent on a boat on the Thames; he published Three Men in a Boat soon afterwards. He continued to write fiction, non-fiction and plays over the next few decades, though never with the same level of success.

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  1. Chapman, J. (2022). The Money Behind the Screen: A History of British Film Finance, 1945-1985. Edinburgh University Press p 359
  2. Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p.509
  3. "Three Men in a Boat". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 24 February 2024.
  4. LINDSAY ANDERSON, and DAVID DENT. "Time For New Ideas." The Times [London, England] 8 Jan. 1958: 9. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012.
  5. Billings, Josh (12 December 1957). "Others in the money". Kinematograph Weekly. p. 7.
  6. "Three Men in a Boat". The Monthly Film Bulletin . 24 (276): 21. 1 January 1957 via ProQuest.
  7. Radio Times Guide to Films (18th ed.). London: Immediate Media Company. 2017. p. 934. ISBN   9780992936440.
  8. Quinlan, David (1984). British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. p. 387. ISBN   0-7134-1874-5.