The classic Pommie joke has one trussed up in chains and canvas entertaining the locals by freeing himself, or nearly. 600 miles across Down Under with a mob of sheep to “Stone Age blacks” round a waterhole.
They hunt the kangaroo most skillfully.
The British Film Institute’s John Oliver has latterly objected to the last shot, not perceiving the joke of the trousers (he further objects to Tommy Trinder, who plays the Pommie), Halliwell’s Film Guide finds “a lack of pace and sharpness”. George Perry (Forever Ealing) says precisely what the BFI says.
“The theatre, the theatre,” as Danny Kaye says, somewhere out in the provinces, “the centre of culture”. What is a play, what does a director do, what is it about actors and boards and all that sort of tommyrot?
The Night They Raided Minsky’s (dir. William Friedkin) for the ingénue line, Twentieth Century (dir. Howard Hawks) for “the Meyerhoff method”, Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers for a swinging gag.
Terence Young on location surprised Ben Gazzara with a preoccupation, a continual concern for feeding his cast and crew, “Terence’s dinners sometimes seemed more important to him than the film.”
A.W. of the New York Times, “not, sadly enough, gold.” Dylan Cave (British Film Institute), “a series of jokes poking fun at the vanity and disorganisation of semi-professional theatre entertainers.” Time Out, “intriguing potboiler”. Britmovie, “the transition from stage to screen isn’t entirely successful due to the stagebound material and a lack of spark.” Leonard Maltin, “mild but amusing”. Hal Erickson (All Movie Guide), “a gentle going over”. Halliwell’s Film Guide, “fairly amusing farce”.