No Kidding (film)

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No Kidding
"No Kidding" (1960).jpg
Original British quad poster
Directed by Gerald Thomas
Produced by Peter Rogers
Written by Verily Anderson
Robin Estridge
Norman Hudis
Starring Leslie Phillips
Geraldine McEwan
Joan Hickson
Music by Bruce Montgomery
Cinematography Alan Hume
Peter Rogers Productions
Distributed by Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors
Release date
Running time
86 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

No Kidding is a 1960 British comedy film directed by Gerald Thomas featuring Leslie Phillips, Geraldine McEwan and Irene Handl, Noel Purcell and Julia Lockwood.[1] The film is adapted from Verily Anderson's 1958 memoir Beware of Children,[2][3] under which title the film was released in the US.[4] Anderson also wrote the screenplay.

The film has been interpreted by film scholar Wheeler Dixon as "a gentle critique of A. S. Neill's Summerhill method of schooling".[5] Elsewhere it is described as "surprisingly sophisticated fare that also scores a number of interesting points about greed, privilege and class."[6]


David (Leslie Phillips) and Catherine Robinson (Geraldine McEwan) move into a rundown country house. After a number of failed ventures, they are looking to build a solid business. They strike upon the idea of setting up a summer home for the children of the wealthy. They attract a number of customers, and hire a matron (June Jago) and a cook (Joan Hickson), and immediately fall foul of a local councillor (Irene Handl) who does not believe they should be allowed to look after children.

The families arrive and drop off their children. They range from polite, scared and helpful to wild, spoilt, rebellious children led by an American brother and sister, and an English fantasist girl (Julia Lockwood), who tries to insist that she has been maltreated by her in fact kindly family.

As the children grow increasingly ill-disciplined, the staff and owners battle to keep them under control. The father advocates a tough approach while his wife beliefs that the children's freedom should be allowed to flourish. They are undermined by an increasingly drunken cook, and the wild antics of the children.

After an illicit midnight trip out to a nearby cafe, the children are grounded for two days. They also hear that the local council are sending an inspector round, who is likely to close them down if they fail the test. They rally the staff and children, who behave correctly when the visitors come.

When the children's families come to collect them, they refuse to come down - wishing they could stay. They insist that in future they are treated better by their parents, to which the parents agree. The children depart. The Robinsons, realising that they have now got financial security, decide to fulfil their dream of having more children of their own.



  1. ^ "No Kidding (1960)". BFI. 
  2. ^ Eloise Millar, "Verily Anderson obituary", The Guardian, 29 July 2010.
  3. ^ Janie Hampton, "Verily Anderson: Writer of humorous, optimistic children's books and memoirs", The Independent, 3 August 2010.
  4. ^ "No Kidding (1961)", Release Info, IMDb.
  5. ^ Dixon, Wheeler W. "The Director as Journeyman" (Ralph Thomas interview, 3 February 1995), in Collected Interviews: Voices from Twentieth-Century Cinema, SIU Press, 2001, p. 117.
  6. ^ "No Kidding (Leslie Phillips)", Studiocanal.

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