Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
United Kingdom, 1941. British National Films, John Baxter Productions. Original Story by Max Kester, Adaptation by Barbara K. Emary, based on characters created by Sidney Gilliat, Frank Launder. Cinematography by James Wilson. Produced by John Baxter. Music by Kennedy Russell. Film Editing by Michael C. Chorlton.
Caldicott and Charters, two supporting characters in Hitchcock’s Lady Vanishes, were such a hit with audiences that they eventually got their own film adventure, this delightful minor caper in which they are once again unwittingly caught up in international intrigue. Making their way as stuffy British tourists from Baghdad to Budapest, they are accidentally mistaken for enemy agents thanks to their indulgent appetites while ordering dinner at a restaurant, and as a result are handed a gramophone record containing sensitive material vital to the war effort. In an English version of a Hope and Crosby road picture (without any self-referential nonsense), they are constantly outwitting nefarious characters trying to do them in, but it actually takes quite a lot of convincing just to make them believe that they are embroiled in their conundrum in the first place; after all, the only thing that matters is being back in England time for the cricket matches they so desperately love. Witty dialogue and wonderful supporting characters make for a buoyant, enjoyable film, one of its few sore points an unnecessary romantic subplot that is mainly included to make sure the scenes of the two men bunking together in Hitchcock’s film didn’t give anyone the wrong idea.