The Wrong Box

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This article is about the film. For the novel, see The Wrong Box (novel).
The Wrong Box
The Wrong Box.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bryan Forbes
Produced by Bryan Forbes
Jack Rix
Larry Gelbart
Burt Shevelove
Written by Larry Gelbart
Burt Shevelove
Based on The Wrong Box 
by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne
Starring John Mills
Ralph Richardson
Michael Caine
Nanette Newman
Peter Cook
Dudley Moore
Music by John Barry
Cinematography Gerry Turpin
Edited by Alan Osbiston
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
27 May 1966
Running time
107 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Wrong Box (1966) is a British comedy film made by Salamander Film Productions and distributed by Columbia Pictures. It was produced and directed by Bryan Forbes from a screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Burt Shevelove, based on the 1889 novel The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne.

The cast includes a number of Britain's leading actors and comic actors of the time, including John Mills, Ralph Richardson, Michael Caine, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Peter Sellers, Irene Handl and Tony Hancock. Included in the cast are other actors who later became more well-known, including John Le Mesurier, John Junkin, Leonard Rossiter, Nicholas Parsons, Jeremy Lloyd, Graham Stark, Thorley Walters, Norman Rossington, David Lodge, Juliet Mills and Norman Bird. Cicely Courtneidge also appears, as Salvation Army Major Martha and "The Temperance Seven" also appear (as themselves).


Elderly brothers Masterman (Mills) and Joseph Finsbury (Richardson) are the surviving members of a tontine, an investment scheme set up many years before, in which the last member stands to receive a fortune. Masterman is attended by his medical student grandson, Michael (Caine), while his greedy cousins Morris (Cook) and John (Moore) do their best to keep their annoying uncle Joseph alive. Masterman, who hasn't talked to his despised brother in many years, summons Joseph to his "deathbed," intending to kill him so that Michael can get the money.

On the train trip to London, Joseph escapes from his minders, entering a compartment and boring the sole occupant with a litany of trivial facts (something he does with everyone he encounters). The other man later turns out to be the "Bournemouth Strangler." Joseph leaves to smoke a cigarette, leaving his coat behind, which the strangler puts on. The train then crashes into another one coming the other way. In the confusion, Morris and John find the strangler's mutilated body and mistakenly believe it is that of their uncle.

Morris decides to try to hide this long enough for Masterman to pass away. Morris and John plot to ship the body to their London home, next door to Masterman's residence. John, left behind to attend to this task, sends the body in a barrel. However, it is delivered to the Masterman house by mistake. The "wrong" box concurrently delivered to Joseph's house, which Morris, in John's absence, assumes to hold his uncle's body, is a crate containing a statue destined for Masterman's home.

Joseph makes his way to London on his own and visits his brother; they quarrel. Meanwhile, Michael meets and falls in love with Joseph's ward, Julia (Nanette Newman). Things become complicated when Michael discovers the contents of the barrel and, after learning of the dispute between Masterman and Joseph from family butler Peacock (Wilfrid Lawson), assumes that his grandfather has killed his brother. Various misunderstandings and antics result.


Filming locations[edit]

Pinewood Studios, Iver, Buckinghamshire, was the main production base for the studio sets and many exteriors, with the Victorian London crescent exteriors being shot on Bath's historic Royal Crescent, complete with TV aerials on the roofs. The funeral coach and horse chase was filmed in St James Square, Bath, and on Englefield Green, Surrey, and surrounding lanes.


External links[edit]