Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The wonderful Margaret Rutherford
PASSPORT TO PIMLICO (1949). Director: Henry Cornelius.

After discovering a cache of treasure hidden under the streets, the residents of the district of Pimlico in Post-WW2 London discover documents that [in a convoluted way] actually make them residents of Burgundy. Then a handsome Duke of Burgundy (Paul Dupuis) shows up and begins romancing one of the local women.At first the residents playfully refuse to follow certain British rules -- such as shutting the pubs down at a certain hour -- because, after all, they aren't Londoners but Burgundians.  Unfortunately, this excites and dismays the British parliament and before long the residents of Pimlico find themselves mired in red tape and having to cross customs just to leave or enter their own district. In true British fashion, they decide to fight back and display their English tenaciousness. Okay. This is a cute idea and it does have some amusing sequences, but it gets bogged down way before its over, and its attempt to create characters you actually care about don't quite hit the mark. Most of the cast is unknown on American shores with the exception of Hermione Baddeley, Stanley Holloway, and the wonderful Margaret Rutherford, who plays a historian with her customary panache and enlivens every scene she's in. If only there were more of them!

Verdict: One of those quaint British movies that you can either take or leave. **1/2.

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