One Way Pendulum

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One Way Pendulum
Directed by Peter Yates
Produced by Michael Deeley
Oscar Lewenstein
Written by N. F. Simpson
Based on One Way Pendulum (play) 
by N. F. Simpson
Starring Eric Sykes
George Cole
Music by Richard Rodney Bennett
Cinematography Denys N. Coop
Edited by Peter Taylor
Release dates
August 1964
Running time
90 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £40,000[1]

One Way Pendulum is a 1964 British comedy film directed by Peter Yates and starring Eric Sykes and George Cole. It is an adaptation of the play by N. F. Simpson.[2]


Study of absurdity in a suburban family: father rebuilds the Old Bailey in the living room, and the son teaches weighing machines to sing in the bathroom.[3]



Producer Michael Deeley and director Peter Yates wanted to work on a project together and saw the play at the Royal Court. Yates was excited at the prospect of the material being so different from his first feature, Summer Holiday (1963), and Deeley managed to set up the film at Woodfall Film Productions, then flush with money in the wake of the success of Tom Jones (1963).

The film was the first from Woodfall to be shot in a studio and commenced filming at Twickenham Studios in March 1964.[1]


The film was poorly received by the public and did not recoup its money. However Woodfall Films was impressed by Michael Deeley and hired him to work for the company.[1]


The film received a poor review from Howard Thompson, who wrote that it was "a new serving of British-stirred froth that weighs almost as much as Big Ben. And how it got those friendly notices back in the homeland, we'll never know. The picture is excruciatingly coy and flat, coming, believe it or not, from the Woodfall production unit that gave us, among other things, 'Tom Jones'.".[4]


  1. ^ a b c Michael Deeley, Blade Runners, Deer Hunters and Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: My Life in Cult Movies, Pegasus Books, 2009 p 27-29
  2. ^ "One Way Pendulum". 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Thompson, Howard (March 3, 1965). "Movie Review: One Way Pendulum". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 

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