I'm All Right Jack

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I'm All Right Jack
I'm All Right Jack UK poster.jpg
Original British film poster
Directed byJohn Boulting
Produced byRoy Boulting
Screenplay byFrank Harvey
John Boulting
Alan Hackney
Based onPrivate Life
by Alan Hackney
StarringIan Carmichael
Peter Sellers
Richard Attenborough
Dame Margaret Rutherford
Music byKen Hare
Ron Goodwin
CinematographyMutz Greenbaum
Edited byAnthony Harvey
Distributed byBritish Lion Films (UK)
Release date
  • 18 August 1959 (1959-08-18) (UK)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

I'm All Right Jack is a 1959 British comedy film directed and produced by John and Roy Boulting from a script by Frank Harvey, John Boulting and Alan Hackney based on the novel Private Life by Hackney.[1] The film is a sequel to the Boultings' 1956 film Private's Progress and Ian Carmichael, Dennis Price, Richard Attenborough, Terry-Thomas and Miles Malleson reprise their characters. Peter Sellers played one of his best-known roles, as the trades union shop steward Fred Kite and won a BAFTA Best Actor Award.[2] The rest of the cast included many well-known British comedy actors of the time.[3]

The film is a satire on British industrial life in the 1950s. The trade unions, workers and bosses are all seen to be incompetent or corrupt to varying degrees. The film is one of a number of satires made by the Boulting Brothers between 1956 and 1963.[4]

The title is a well-known English expression indicating smug and complacent selfishness.[5]


The Alan Hackney/Boulting Brothers’ biting satire on febrile post-WW2 Britain opens with a commentary inside an exclusive London gentleman’s luxury club in May 1945. Where Peter Sellers is a post-lunch slumbering aged white-haired, wealthy upper class ‘City Type’ Sir Henry, awoken by a butler excitedly declaring that the war is finally won. Smug, Sir Henry rises and unsteadily leaves the room, and we are told, “this is the last we shall see of Sir Henry”. Symbolizing the passing of pre-war British class stability, and the rise of rebellious egalitarianism by the newly disrespectful ‘lower orders’ wanting more; having fought and died to win yet another war.

After leaving the army and returning to university, newly graduated upper class Stanley Windrush (Ian Carmichael) is looking for a job but fails miserably at interviews for various entry level management positions. Stanley's uncle, Bertram Tracepurcel (Dennis Price) and his old army comrade, Sidney DeVere Cox (Richard Attenborough), persuade him to take an unskilled blue-collar job at Uncle Bertram's missile factory, despite Aunt Dolly's (Margaret Rutherford) misgivings.

At first suspicious of the overeager newcomer, communist shop steward Fred Kite (Peter Sellers) takes Stanley under his wing and even offers to take him in as a lodger. When Kite's curvaceous daughter Cynthia (Liz Fraser) drops by, Stanley readily accepts.

Meanwhile, personnel manager Major Hitchcock (Terry-Thomas) is assigned a time and motion study expert, Waters (John Le Mesurier), to measure how efficient the employees are. The workers refuse to cooperate but Waters tricks Windrush into showing him how much more quickly he can do his job with his forklift truck, than other more experienced employees. When Kite is informed of the results, he calls a strike to protect the rates his union workers are being paid.

This is what Cox and Tracepurcel want; Cox owns a company that can take over a large new contract with a Middle Eastern country at an inflated cost. He, Tracepurcel and a Mr Mohammed (Marne Maitland), the country's representative, would each pocket a third of the £100,000 difference.

Things don't quite work out for either side. Cox arrives at his factory to find that his workers are walking out in sympathy for Kite and his strikers. The press reports that Kite is punishing Windrush for working hard. When Windrush decides to cross the picket line and go back to work (and reveals his connection with the company's owner), Kite asks him to leave his house. This provokes the adoring Cynthia and her mother (Irene Handl) to go on strike. More strikes spring up, bringing the country to a standstill.

Faced with these new developments, Tracepurcel has no choice but to send Hitchcock to negotiate with Kite. They reach an agreement but Windrush has made both sides look bad and has to go. Cox tries to bribe him with a bagful of money to resign quietly but Windrush turns him down. On a televised discussion programme moderated by Malcolm Muggeridge (playing himself), Windrush reveals to the nation the underhanded motivations of all concerned. When he throws Cox's bribe money into the air, the studio audience riots. In the end, Windrush is convicted of causing a disturbance and everyone else is exonerated. He is last seen with his father (Miles Malleson) relaxing at a nudist colony, only to have to flee from the female residents' attentions.


Cast notes


The film was a big hit, being the most popular film in Britain for the year ended 31 October 1959.[6]

As well as Sellers' BAFTA, it also won the BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay.[7]

Bosley Crowther in The New York Times called it "the brightest, liveliest comedy seen this year."[8]

See also[edit]

  • English-language accents in film – Cockney
  • Larsen, Darl. A Book about the Film Monty Python's Life of Brian. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018. ISBN 978-1538103654. The PFJ/Peoples' Front for Judea is modeled after Shop Steward Kite's committee.


  1. ^ "I'm All Right Jack (1959)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  2. ^ "1960 Film British Actor". bafta.org.
  3. ^ "I'm All Right Jack". aveleyman.com.
  4. ^ "BFI Screenonline: I'm All Right Jack (1959)". screenonline.org.uk.
  5. ^ Collins English Dictionary, I'm all right, Jack
  6. ^ FOUR BRITISH FILMS IN 'TOP 6': BOULTING COMEDY HEADS BOX OFFICE LIST Our own Reporter. The Guardian (1959-2003) [London (UK)] 11 Dec 1959: 4.
  7. ^ "Film in 1960 - BAFTA Awards". awards.bafta.org.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 December 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]