HOME   News   Reviews   Adv Search   Features   My DVD   About   Apps   Stats     Search:
  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.66:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras

    Carlton Browne of the F.O.

    Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 86 mins . G . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    Carlton-Browne of the Foreign Office doesn't boast a particularly strong script. The comedy is broad, and a lot of the concepts and action seem dated. But it remains as timely a satire on bureaucracy as the day it was made.

    The little island of Gardellia, a former British colony, is suddenly the centre of international attention. The Russians, it's believed, have found something there of great value. Whatever it is, they can't be allowed to have it. And from his sleepy corner of the Foreign Office, prize ambassadorial chump Cadogan deVere Carlton-Browne (Terry-Thomas) is despatched to sort out the situation.

    He finds the island on the brink of civil war. On the one corner is the new and very young Oxford-educated King, played by Ian Bannen. His right-hand man is the corrupt (well, he hopes to become thoroughly corrupt) Prime Minister Amphibulos, played by Peter Sellers.

    On the other side of the island is the Princess Ilyena (Luciana Paoluzzi) and her scheming uncle, Grand Duke Alexis (John Le Mesurier).

    Of course the British win out in the end, despite all the bumbling Carlton-Browne can manage. The end isn't the point. The strength of the film is the wonderful cast; even the most minor role, of a housewife being interviewed for a newsreel, is cast with quality, with a characteristic cameo role from the ineffable Irene Handl.

    While the comedy is broad and a bit creaking at times, the wit with which its creators mock both bureaucracy and politicians is still something to relish. It is, in many ways, a prototype Yes Minister.

    But overall, the performances are the thing. This is surely Terry-Thomas's best film role, as he plays the gormless upper-class twit to perfection rather than his usual stereotyped cad. John Le Mesurier is splendid as the scheming Grand Duke; Thorley Walters as Carleton-Browne's Military Advisor Colonel Bellingham is as hapless a soldier as Carleton-Browne is an Ambassador.

    The only person whose talent seems somewhat wasted is Peter Sellers as the Prime Minister. There just isn't enough in the role for him to exploit his strange genius to the full. Overall though, this is a delight, albeit a slightly dated one.

      Video
    Contract

    There aren't that many widescreen black and white movies on DVD, but this has been given great transfer treatment.

    Although there are occasional signs showing that this isn't a pristine print, the few signs of wear are very minor and not at all intrusive. The anamorphic transfer has given us great clarity and definition; the blacks are lush and the contrasts nicely detailed.

      Audio
    Contract

    The mono soundtrack is clean and clear; there is a touch of high sibilance in some passages, and for a few seconds a trace of the pitch wobble which afflicts some PAL transfers. But overall the soundtrack is fully up to the job of carrying a largely dialogue-driven movie. There are no special effects to speak of; the audio centre-stage presentation is all that is needed.

      Extras
    Contract

    There are no extra features.

      Overall  
    Contract

    This is worthy of rental, but lovers of vintage British cinema humour would want to buy this one.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3625
  • Send to a friend.

    Cast your vote here: You must enable cookies to vote.
  •   
      And I quote...
    "This is as timely a satire on bureaucracy as the day it was made. British wit demolishes the Foreign Office."
    - Anthony Clarke
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Panasonic A330
    • TV:
          Loewe Profil Plus 3272 68cm
      Recent Reviews:
    by Anthony Clarke

    A Fistful of Dollars (Sony)
    "An essential Spaghetti-Western, given deluxe treatment by MGM."

    Stripes
    "Falls short of being a classic, but it gives us Bill Murray, so it just has to be seen."

    Creature Comforts - Series 1: Vol. 2
    "Delicious comic idea given the right-royal Aardman treatment. "

    The General (Buster Keaton)
    "Forget that this is a silent movie. This 1927 classic has more expression, movement and sheer beauty (along with its comedy) than 99 per cent of films made today."

    Dr Who - Claws Of Axos
    "Is it Worzel Gummidge? No, it's Jon Pertwee in his other great television role, as the good Doctor battling all kinds of evil on our behalf."

      Related Links
      None listed

     

    Search for Title/Actor/Director:
    Google Web dvd.net.au
       Copyright DVDnet. All rights reserved. Site Design by RED 5   
    rss