Alastair Sim Collection marks Part Four of the Optimum Comic Icons series
which has previously celebrated Peter Sellers, Terry Thomas, Leslie Phillips,
Sidney James and Tony Hancock. The Alastair Sim Collection comprises
The Green Man, Folly To Be Wise, Geordie, Left Right
and Centre and Laughter in Paradise.
MUCH LOVED ACTOR ALASTAIR SIM IS A BYWORD FOR CLASSIC BRITISH COMEDY, appearing
in unforgettable movies such as The Belles of St Trinian's
and The Happiest Days of Your Life. Not only popular, he was also critically-
acclaimed, BAFTA-nominated and topped the cinemagoers popularity poll.
LAUGHTER IN PARADISE (1951) When the last will and testament of Henry
Augustus Russell the greatest practical joker of modern times
is read out to his four remaining relatives, it seems that he has lived up to
his name by setting them each a task to complete before they can receive their
inheritance. Each task is designed to reflect the relative's shortcomings and
to test their ability to adapt and, ultim-ately, change for the better. Alastair
Sim is Deniston Russell, a respectable retired Army Officer who secretly writes
blood-and-thunder novels. He has to spend 28 days behind bars, but despite his
best efforts, he seems to avoid the long arm of the law!
Fay Compton plays Henry's sister Agnes who is a tartar to her servants and has
to become one herself; the timid bank clerk Herbert Russell (George Cole) has
to hold up his Manager; and womaniser Simon (Guy Middleton) has to marry the
first girl he speaks to. During the twists and turns of the film, nothing goes
according to plan and the comedy comes while each tries to fulfil their task.
A very young Audrey Hep-burn plays a cigarette girl. A very satisfying comedy
of errors. Laughter in Paradise is produced and directed by Mario Zampi.
FOLLY TO BE WISE (1953) Alastair Sim stars as Captain Paris, who
takes over as chaplain and entertainments officer in a large Army camp where
the troops are seemingly more interested in favouring the local hostelries than
attending planned social events. The first of Paris's hopeful ideas is to stage
a Brains Trust with local celebrities as 'brains' and himself as chairman. However,
rather than creating a forum for meaningful discussion, events quickly spiral
out of control when the question "Is marriage a good idea?" touches a raw nerve
with some of the panel…
GEORDIE (1955) Geordie McTaggert is very small for his
age. Determined to grow and to win the heart of his friend Jean, he sends for
a body-building course and becomes the star pupil. He soon matures into a tall,
strong young man working alongside his father as
a gamekeeper to the local Laird (Alastair Sim). Geordie (Bill Travers) and Jean
(Norah Gorsen) fall in love, but when he is chosen to represent Scotland in
the Olympic Games he travels to Australia and a misunderstanding (in the shape
of Danish shot-putter Helga, played by Doris Goddard) threatens their happiness.
Produced and directed by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder.
THE GREEN MAN (1956) Alastair Sim plays Hawkins, a timid watch-maker
with a part-time job who has a dangerous secret he is also a professional
assassin who bumps off all the people we love to hate.
But when pompous MP Sir Gregory Upshott (Raymond Huntley) is the intended target,
bungling vacuum cleaner salesman William Blake (George Cole) keeps getting in
the way. As the time of the assassin-ation draws ever closer, Hawkins tracks
his victim to a dilapidated seaside hotel The Green Man where
both the laughs and the tension steadily rise to a brilliant climax.
LEFT RIGHT AND CENTRE (1959) "…the Conservative philosophy is the
exploitation of man by man; with the Socialists it is exactly the other way
Spotting an opportunity to turn good publicity into hard cash, Lord Wilcot (Alastair
Sim), owner of a highly commercialised stately home, puts forward his high-profile
nephew Robert (Ian Carmichael) as the Tory candidate in the upcoming Earndale
by-election. Standing against him for Labour is Stella Stoker (Patricia Bredin),
daughter of a Billings-gate fishmonger.
However, matters are complicated when Robert and Stella meet and are struck
by an instant attraction to each other with the added problem of Robert's
clingy model 'friend' Annabel (Moyra Fraser) and Stella's would-be suitor Bill
(Jack Hedley). As Robert and Stella's wily agents (including the delightfully-named
Harding-Pratt, played by Richard Wattis) try to quash the burgeoning love affair
between their respective candidates and grab the victory, the opportunities
for comedy are endless and there are a few surprises in store. Moultrie Kelsall
appears as Grimsby Armfield. Classic! Produced and presented by Frank Launder
and Sidney Gilliat, the screenplay was by Sidney Gilliat from an original story
he wrote with Val Valentine.
The Alastair Sim Collection comprises:
The Green Man, Folly To Be Wise*, Geordie*, Left Right
and Centre*, Laughter in Paradise* (*New to UK DVD). Running Time
447 minutes approx; Region 2; B&W and Colour; Cat No OPTD1043; English Language;
RRP £34.99. Released on 29 October 2007.