The Black Sheep of Whitehall

Harrow Correspondence College serves the turn at long odds, rather than leaving the answers up to the odd pupil, for the Ministry of International Commerce beset by Nazis out to scupper a Latin-American trade alliance.

So it is stated, in the masterful formulation of Angus MacPhail and John Dighton.

“Funny in parts” (Geoff Andrew, Time Out Film Guide).

Halliwell gives it out as a “pretty good wartime star comedy.”


The Goose Steps Out

The gas fire bomb (“it burns as it bursts as it blisters”) is what Professor Hoffman is working on in his secret laboratory at a university in Deutschland, Will Hay is parachuted in, a Modern Languages Master, as the double of a captured German spy.

He has to conduct an espionage class for young Krauts (among them Charles Hawtrey, Peter Ustinov, and Barry Morse), he has to smuggle the filthy dingus back to Britain.

Jerry Lewis in Which Way to the Front?, Mel Brooks in Spaceballs (that German plane for the return).

The lecture on British customs is very widely celebrated, but the prize is Hay’s invasion plan hashed out in a railway car for a major general whose pocket Hay is trying to pick.


My Learned Friend

Guy Fawkes again at the plot in a wild caper of madness and revenge.

The judge gave Grimshaw a tenner for forging fivers, all must die who took part in his conviction, not least the House of Lords for refusing an appeal.

Will Hay and Claude Hurlbert take on Beefeater disguises to join the formal search.

Hay was the defense counsel, Hurlbert has just prosecuted him in vain for soliciting charity by misrepresentation (Hay was disbarred for bribing a jury).

A foul mobster is on the list for giving evidence, and a lass in the Aladdin pantomime, and Grimshaw’s barrister to boot.

Larking great funny film, with the thunderbolt of Grimshaw’s ruddy revelation writ on the ceiling of Hurlbert’s posh flat in big bold letters.

And the famous finale delaying Big Ben, and Ernest Thesiger a comic madman, and Mervyn Johns another as Grimshaw.