Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cinema Tuesdays {School For Scoundrels}

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This 1959 movie was based on a series of published "lectures" by Stephen Potter on the art of Oneupmanship or how to be one-up on the other fellow at all times. I really ought to write up a post on Mr. Potter's books. Someone remind me to do that. The film is really a series of sketches demonstrating the technique of oneupmanship and applying it so that you are a lifeman as opposed to a loser.
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Ian Carmichael plays Our Hero: Henry Palfrey. Poor Henry is a loser and a failure at life. He is one of those people who is constantly one-down as opposed to one-up.
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Then something happens. He runs into the Heroine named April Smith (Janette Scott) on the bus and asks her out. Yay for Henry!
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This is the office and employees that Henry inherited from his uncle. Look at that, no electronics and whirling machines, just a telephone and a typewriter but it seems to function just as well without computers and crackberries.
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Ol' Whatshisface is Henry's by the book chief clerk. They have agreed that Henry should not make any major decisions without consulting him first, especially after the last incident.
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What the man-about-town is wearing this season: school tie, cuff links, signet ring and a phone heavy enough to be a murder weapon.
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What a lovely silk dress and waiting area.
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Henry trusted Whatshisface to make a reservation, but he didn't because he thought the restaurant too extravagant. And look at who the head waiter is. It's John Le Mesurier! Hell Yeah John Le Mesurier!
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Terry-Thomas is (naturally) playing the Bounder. He is naturally one-up on everyone. Terry-Thomas also has a reservation, so he graciously invites the young couple to join him.
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Providing that Henry picks up the bill.
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Terry-Thomas then invites Henry to a friendly game of tennis on the weekend, with April watching.
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Poor Henry!
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Henry decides to buy a car so that he can drive April around. Luckily he wanders into a dealership who know a sucker when they see one. You may recognize Dennis Price in the bad pin stripe from killing Sir Alec Guinness over and over again in Kind Hearts and Coronets.


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Naturally the Swift Mobile breaks down. I blame the large hood ornament.

At the Club, Terry-Thomas and Henry engage in the meanest game ever played in tennis whites.


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I love the lace detailing.
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And the Swift Mobile doesn't quite get the reaction that Henry was hoping for.
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Poor Henry!
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So Henry packs his bags and heads to Yeovil to enter the College of Lifemanship.
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The College is run by it's founder Mr. S. Potter (as brilliantly played by Alastair Sim)
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This lesson is my favourite and it teaches you how to play pool and win.
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Meanwhile, Potter's clothes become less academic and more casual.
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The courses being over, it is time for Henry to pass his exams in the real world. Such as returning a car without a receipt.
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Giving Whatshisface a new ulcer and starting him smoking again.
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Then Henry shows us how to take down a Bounder while being completely relaxed.
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And how to get anyone to drive into a brick wall in broad daylight.
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Remember when people used to carry their running shoes around on their necks.
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Henry then challenges Terry-Thomas to a rematch while in his street clothes. Shocking!!!
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Who is that fellow lurking in the shrubbery?
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Naturally Henry wins both the game and April's affections.
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And he passes with flying colours.
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He then manages to get April back to his place and into his robe in under twenty minutes.
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Meanwhile, Terry-Thomas decides to follow that lurking man and finds him buying a ticket to Yeovil.
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Will they make it back in time or will Henry stop himself from using all of the tricks that he learned at the College?

School for Scoundrels is available in Regions 1 and 2, I couldn't find out about the other Regions. Or you could download it.

1 comment:

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