Sunday 14 October 2018

Bernard Bresslaw Stars in The Ugly Duckling this afternoon on Talking Pictures TV!

Talking Pictures TV are once again showing a rather rare curio from the vaults this afternoon. Carry On regular Bernard Bresslaw rarely took a starring role on the big screen and was more often the ensemble player in films such as Too Many Crooks, the Carry Ons and the television series, The Army Game.

In the late1950s, at the height of his Army Game fame, Bernard was much in demand he starred in a spin off feature film named after his Army Game catchphrase, released a number of novelty records and took the lead in a comedy called The Ugly Duckling. The film, a parody of the classic horror tale of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, was directed by Lance Comfort and produced by Michael Carreras for Hammer Films. The script came from Jack Davies and Sid Colin, a long time friend and collaborator of Talbot Rothwell. Colin went on to contribute to Carry On Spying in 1964.

The film tells the story of Henry Jekyll (Bernard Bresslaw) who is a bungling, awkward and socially inept buffoon working in his uncle's pharmacy. One day he discovers an old formula created by his uncle which claims to turn 'a man of timid disposition into a bold, fearless dragon'. He eagerly mixes the formula, takes one drink, and is transformed into the suave, dashing and self-confident Teddy Hyde. Teddy immediately becomes a darling of society and a big hit with the ladies. However he also craves the thrill of becoming a master criminal, and recruits a gang of expert crooks to join him in carrying out a series of daring and ambitious jewel robberies.
The formula wears off, and Teddy changes back into Henry, who is appalled at the crimes committed by his alter ego. Feeling overcome with guilt, he helps the police to round up and capture the robbers who have evaded them for so long.
Starring alongside Bernard are several well known comedy character actors who went on to enliven the Carry Ons. Jon Pertwee co-stars as Victor Jekyll while familiar names such as Richard Wattis, David Lodge, Michael Ward and Cyril Chamberlain also pop up in supporting roles. 
Apparently, the film was not a success when first released, losing money at the box office, which is a bit of a shame. I can't really comment as I haven't seen it yet but I plan to put that right by tuning in to Talking Pictures TV this afternoon at 13.40!

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