Barnacle Bill (1957 film)
Ambrose is greeted as a naval hero after drifting to France.
|Directed by||Charles Frend|
|Produced by||Michael Balcon|
|Written by||T.E.B. Clarke|
|Music by||Henry Mancini|
|Editing by||Jack Harris|
|Distributed by||Metro Goldwyn Mayer|
|Running time||87 minutes|
William Horatio Ambrose (Guinness) wants desperately to live up to the proud family tradition; the Ambroses have always been mariners, hence their family motto, Omnes per Mare (All at Sea). In humorous vignettes, Guinness portrays all six, starting with a confused caveman pioneer and ending with his own father's ignominious demise at the Battle of Jutland. Ambrose has a debilitating problem however: he gets violently seasick at the slightest excuse. As a result, his contribution to World War II consists of testing cures for the malady.
When he retires from the Royal Navy as a captain, he purchases a dilapidated amusement pier (the closest thing to a command of his own) with his life savings. The workers are an apathetic bunch, led by an insolent Figg (Victor Maddern), who quits as soon as the new owner begins imposing some semblance of discipline. With the assistance of his new second in command, Tommy (Percy Herbert), and much hard work, Ambrose soon has the pier repaired.
Then he has to deal with the local town council, headed by the crooked Mayor Crowley (Maurice Denham) and the hostile Arabella Barrington (Irene Browne), who mistakes him for a peeping tom when they first meet. Every time he comes up with an ingenious way to make his business profitable, they see to it that the council outlaws it. When Crowley decides to confiscate and demolish Ambrose's pier and Barrington's bathing huts (under compulsory purchase) to further his own business interests, she resigns from the council and informs Ambrose. He counters by registering his property as a "foreign" naval vessel (christened the Arabella), under the flag of the easygoing country of Liberama, which puts it outside the town's jurisdiction. He soon attracts many happy, paying passengers for his stationary inaugural "cruise".
Thwarted, Crowley hires Figg to take his dredger and demolish the structure late at night. Using a seasickness remedy suggested by Barrington, Ambrose is able to take to sea and foil the scheme (with his ghostly ancestors watching approvingly), but in the process, part of the pier becomes detached and floats away. He remains aboard to prevent salvagers from claiming it and drifts over to France, where he is hailed as a great naval hero.
- Alec Guinness as Captain William Horatio Ambrose. This was the last film Guinness made for Ealing Studios. By coincidence, the first Ealing film he starred in was Kind Hearts and Coronets, in which he also played multiple roles. Guinness actually served in the Royal Navy in World War II.
- Irene Brown as Mrs Barrington
- Maurice Denham as Mayor Crowley
- Percy Herbert as Tommy
- Victor Maddern as Figg
- Allan Cuthbertson as Chailey
- Harold Goodwin as Duckworth
- Richard Wattis as Registrar of Shipping
- Lionel Jeffries as Garrod
- George Rose as Bullen
- Lloyd Lamble as Superintendent Browning
- Harry Locke as Reporter
- Jackie Collins as June
- Eric Pohlmann as Liberamanian Consul
- Joan Hickson as Mrs Kent
- Charles Cullum as Major Kent
- Miles Malleson as Angler
- Charles Lloyd Pack as Tritton
- Warren Mitchell as Artie White
- Elsie Wagstaff as Mrs Gray
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (January 2008)|