Terry-Thomas, premier sputterer and cad of so many British and American farces, plays Billy Gordon, a greedy businessman who fears banks and the taxman. He keeps all of his money hidden in several safes and other secure spots out of the hands of his wife and the British government. A gang of inept thieves targets him for their latest caper, but they fail miserably at their group effort as masked yeggmen. So they turn to Plan B - kidnapping his daughter. Their ineptitude once again trips them up when they learn they have kidnapped not his daughter but his wife. And the joke is on them when Gordon has no interest in paying the ransom. Even when their gang leader Fingers (George Cole) attempts to barter on the ransom dropping it from £10,000 to £4,000 to a mere 200 quid Gordon will not fork over the money. When his wife learns that she is unwanted and not even worth 200 her meek demeanor gives way to vengeful Fury. No more Mrs. Nice Gal for Lucy Gordon played with wily charm by Brenda De Banzie. She lets loose with a display of military combat techniques on her captors and lets them know who's got the real brains and brawn. She convinces the gang of crooks to turn the tables on Gordon and rob him of every penny they can lay their hands on.
The movie is an all out farce with all the typical ingredients you expect from low comedy. Sight gags, goofy pratfalls and slapstick antics, silly disguises by the trunkful, shapely women in tight fitting costumes providing ample opportunity for lots of breast jokes. Cole shows off his skill at comic dialects yet his character always manages to slip into his native Cockney giving him away each time. But for every slapstick joke there are probably two or three genuinely witty lines in the very clever script by Michael Pertwee, son of playwright and novelist Roland Pertwee. The screenplay is also apparently based on a story by novelist and journalist Christine Rochefort and Jean Nery, who was a Cannes Film Festival judge though I can find nothing else about him.
|Terry-Thomas is blackmailed by "Sgt. Sykes" (Cole),|
one of the many disguises of Fingers, the gang's leader
The gang of crooks is made up of some veterans of the Carry On series, Sid James and Bernard Bresslaw, and Joe Melia in his screen debut. Melia plays a scrawny, wannabe weightlifter who speaks almost all of his dialogue sotto voce and is called, aptly enough, Whisper. The shapely women are blond bombshell Vera Day as the gang's moll Charmaine and Delphi Lawrence as Gordon's unnamed secretary. Lawrence may be recognizable to keen 1960s TV fans for guest appearances on many US and UK shows like Wild, Wild West, The Man from UNCLE and Gideon C.I.D. Each of these supporting players gets their chance to shine in the chaotic, incident filled story. Only Rosalie Ashley and Nicholas Parsons as Gordon's daughter Angela and her tax inspector fiance seem wasted as the symbols of sanity in this madcap world of criminal activity gone haywire.