Laughter in Paradise
|Laughter in Paradise|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mario Zampi|
|Produced by||Mario Zampi|
|Written by||Jack Davies
|Music by||Stanley Black|
|Edited by||Giulio Zampi|
|Distributed by||Associated British-Pathe|
|13 June 1951|
|Box office||£256,579 (UK)|
When wealthy, well-known practical joker Henry Russell (Hugh Griffith) dies, four relatives find out that they stand to inherit considerable sums ... provided that they commit acts that are completely contrary to their natures. Law-abiding Deniston Russell (Alastair Sim), a retired army officer who writes lurid novels under several fictional names, has to get himself arrested and jailed for 28 days. Difficult, snobbish Agnes Russell (Fay Compton) has to find work as a maid and keep her job for a month. Simon Russell (Guy Middleton) is a womanising cad; his task is to marry the first single woman he speaks to. Timid Herbert Russell (George Cole) is assigned to hold up the bank where he works with a toy pistol.
Deniston is thwarted repeatedly in his attempts, but finally manages to complete his task. It costs him his fiancée Elizabeth Robson (Joyce Grenfell) when he is brought up before the judge, Elizabeth's father, but is surprised to discover it is a cost he is quite willing to pay.
Agnes ends up working for irascible Gordon Webb (John Laurie). When he sacks her, she offers him a large sum to keep her on. He engages private detective Roger Godfrey (Anthony Steel) to find out what she is up to, while taking advantage of the odd situation by making her life even more difficult than before. Roger falls in love with Gordon's long-suffering daughter Joan (Veronica Hurst), but she is unwilling to marry him as her father depends on her. After Agnes persuades her to change her mind, Gordon sacks her.
When Herbert finally gathers the nerve to go through with his assignment, he inadvertently foils an actual robbery and becomes a hero, with a branch managership.
Simon finds that he has married a woman as unscrupulous as himself, and the niece of his butler.
When the executor gathers the four heirs together, he informs them that there is no money; it was Henry's last practical joke. Agnes, Deniston and Herbert burst into laughter. Simon is annoyed at first, until he happens to look outside at his conniving wife, waiting with a bottle of champagne. Then he too joins in the merriment.
- Alastair Sim as Deniston Russell
- Fay Compton as Agnes Russell
- Guy Middleton as Simon Russell
- George Cole as Herbert Russell
- Hugh Griffith as Henry Russell
- Ernest Thesiger as Endicott
- Beatrice Campbell as Lucille Grayson, the woman Simon marries
- Mackenzie Ward as Benson, Simon's butler
- Joyce Grenfell as Elizabeth Robson, Deniston's fiancée
- A. E. Matthews as Sir Charles Robson, Elizabeth's father
- John Laurie as Gordon Webb
- Veronica Hurst as Joan Webb, Gordon's daughter
- Eleanor Summerfield as Sheila Wilcott, Deniston's secretary
- Anthony Steel as Roger Godfrey, the private detective
- Charlotte Mitchell as Ethel, Agnes' maid
- Leslie Dwyer as Police station sergeant
- Colin Gordon as Police station constable
- Ronald Adam as Wagstaffe, the bank manager
- Michael Pertwee as Stewart
- Mary Germaine as Susan Heath
- Audrey Hepburn as Frieda, a cigarette girl. This was Hepburn's first professional appearance on film (save for a brief role in a 1948 Dutch film entitled Dutch in Seven Lessons). The filming of the scene in which Hepburn appears (somewhat against her later "type") was later recreated in the 2000 biopic The Audrey Hepburn Story starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.
- Noel Howlett as Clerk of the Court
- Martin Boddey as Store detective
- Arthur Howard as passenger in train with Herbert (uncredited)
Laughter in Paradise was the fourth most popular film at the British box office in 1951.
While The New York Times called the film a "merely pleasant, not especially surprising, comedy", the Radio Times gave the film four out of five stars, David Parkinson praising the "fantastic performance of Alastair Sim as the henpecked thriller writer", adding, "the scene in which he tries to shoplift is one of the funniest in a career overladen with choice comic moments." while Britmovie called the film "a sure-fire British comedy that's sprightly execution doesn’t leave many dull moments."
- Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p496
- "Laughter in Paradise". BFI.
- "Some Will – Some Won't (1969) – BFI". BFI.
- "Vivien Leigh Actress of the Year.". Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 29 December 1951. p. 1. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- "Movie Review – – THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; 'Laughter in Paradise,' British Import With Alastair Sim, at 60th St. Trans-Lux – NYTimes.com".
- David Parkinson. "Laughter in Paradise". RadioTimes.
- "Laughter in Paradise".
- Laughter in Paradise at the Internet Movie Database
- screenonline review (including more complete plot synopsis)