Tuesday 8 August 2017

Carry On Faces in Different Places: Too Many Crooks


Here we go with a brand new series of blogs looking at some of the cream of British comedy film making from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Although this blog is all about the Carry Ons, believe it or not, there were some other joyous comedy films made away from Peter Rogers Productions. However, given the quality of the actors Peter employed to make his series, it's no wonder that most of them popped up elsewhere.

We're starting off today with a classic black and white crime caper, directed by Mario Zampi in 1959: Too Many Crooks.


Who's in it?

Terry-Thomas, George Cole, Brenda de Banzie, Joe Melia and Vera Day.

Carry On Faces?

Sid James and Bernard Bresslaw both pre-Carry On, play pivotal roles in the gang at the centre of the film. Interestingly, despite Sid's vast experience, Bernard is billed above him in this film, probably due to Bernard's success on television in The Army Game. Watch out also for brief appearances from Nicholas Parsons, Sydney Tafler, Cyril Chamberlain and Terry Scott. 

What's it about?

Too Many Crooks is a fast moving, cleverly scripted comedy focussing on a criminal gang's inept attempts to swindle people out of their cash. George Cole is the gang leader with other members Bresslaw, Vera Day, Joe Melia and a certain Mr Sidney James. The gang soon hone in on crooked businessman Bill Gordon (Terry-Thomas) and finally set up a plan to kidnap his daughter and hold her for a ransome of £20000. However the bungling crooks kidnap Gordon's wife Lucy (de Banzie) instead, which is no immediate hardship to Gordon as he can't stand her. However soon the previously meek and mild Lucy turns the tables on both the gang and her husband and sets out to take control and take what's rightfully hers!


Best Bit?

A wonderful court sequence which sees Terry-Thomas up on several hilarious charges! Excellent performances and dialogue from all concerned as Terry heaps more and more trouble on himself. You can't go wrong with John Le Mesurier as the Judge, Terry Scott as a policeman and Sydney Tafler as Terry's solicitor. Lovely stuff.

Did you know?

The plot of Too Many Crooks was recycled for the 1986 Hollywood film Ruthless People, starring Bette Midler and Danny DeVito.


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