Wilt (film)

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Wilt (movie poster).jpg
Directed by Mel Smith
Produced by Brian Eastman
Written by Andrew Marshall
David Renwick
Tom Sharpe (novel)
Starring Griff Rhys Jones
Mel Smith
Alison Steadman
Music by Anne Dudley
Cinematography Norman G. Langley
Edited by Chris Blunden
Distributed by Rank Film Distributors (UK)
The Samuel Goldwyn Company (US)
Release dates
  • 1989 (1989)
Running time
92 min
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $74,483 [1][2]

Wilt is a 1989 movie adaptation by LWT of the Tom Sharpe novel of the same name. The story follows the comic misadventures of the eponymous Henry Wilt as he is accused of the murder of his wife when she suddenly goes missing after a party at a friend's house where they have a very public argument.

The movie was directed by Michael Tuchner, with Andrew Marshall and David Renwick credited as screenplay writers. It was released in North America under the title The Misadventures of Mr. Wilt.


Henry Wilt is a community studies teacher at a poorly funded college where most of the pupils seem to be fairly apathetic to learning. Eva Wilt, his wife, is interested in the spiritual aspects of martial arts, Transcendental Meditation and similar pursuits. Eva's disdain for Henry's interest in reading adds to his general frustration at work, including being turned down for a promotion again, and leads him to occasionally fantasize about killing her. Her 'Yuppie' friends, Hugh Westroper and his beautiful, glamorous wife Sally, only exacerbate his alienation from her world by talking disparagingly about teaching as a profession and about his car.

While he is walking home and speaking out one of his fantasies, he crosses paths with a botched sting operation by the incompetent Inspector Flint, whose wire has fallen off while trying to bust a drug dealer. Wilt intervenes in the resulting struggle and, thinking he is witnessing a mugging, unknowingly helps the drug dealer to get away.

Soon afterward, a construction worker at the school sees what looks like a woman's body in a hole being filled with concrete. Meanwhile, Henry Wilt has had to get a lift into work as apparently he had had an accident in his car the previous night. Inspector Flint arrives at the school as they start work on digging out the body. Some papers are found at the hole where the body was seen, and a brief search identifies the writer of those papers as Henry Wilt. Evidence against Wilt mounts as he makes a phone call to his home from the police station and pretends the answerphone is his wife while Inspector Flint is present at Wilt's house.

During the interview, Wilt initially claims that he and his wife had an argument, and she disappeared and he has no idea where she is. Inspector Flint superficially accepts this explanation and tells him he can go, only to be confronted at the door by an old woman who claims to have seen him repeatedly stab a woman to death. Returning to the interview again, Wilt starts to go into more detail about the night of the party.

It is revealed that at the party Henry and Eva argued as normal and that Sally is sexually interested in Eva. While arguing with Sally, Henry managed to knock himself unconscious opening a door that turns out to be a cupboard. When he woke up, he was naked and tied to a blow-up sex doll. Eva walked in on him trying to burst the doll by writhing around, and also saw him appearing at a balcony above the disco in front of almost everyone at the party. After these incidents, Eva refused to return home with Henry.

On the way home, Wilt found that the doll had been put on the back seat of his car; distracted, he crashed into a telephone box. Losing his temper, he pulled the doll out of the car and tried to burst it by stabbing it repeatedly, but failed. He was spotted doing this by the old lady who identified him later at the police station. Wilt then headed to the school and dumped the doll down the same hole where the corpse was found.

Back in the present, Inspector Flint follows the lead to Sally and Hugh's mansion, to find that they have also disappeared. They also find a knotted stocking at the scene, the signature of the notorious Swaffham Strangler. Flint takes Wilt down to the morgue where they claim to have found Eva's body, although it actually turns out to be another sex doll. It turns out that Flint is only on such an important case because the far more competent Inspector Farmelow is on holiday and that it is generally agreed that this is a chance for Flint to gain a promotion.

The next day, they are preparing to bring up the body in front of a huge crowd of students and other members of the public, much to Wilt's amusement. Unfortunately for the college, this also coincides with the visit of a group of Japanese businessmen who are being courted to sponsor the college. The body, encased in concrete, is lifted out but slips free and is dropped onto the bonnet of a police car, cracking the cement and freeing the blow-up doll for all to see, much to Inspector Flint's chagrin. Undaunted, Flint determines that the whole doll incident is just an attempt by Wilt to cover up the actual murders of Eva, Sally and Hugh.

After many hours of interrogation, Wilt changes his story and starts telling Flint of his later return to the mansion on the night of the party. He claims to have attacked the alleged victims with a chainsaw and disposed of the bodies at the meat factory where many of the students work. Flint launches a search using massive amounts of manpower to find the evidence of this before his superior points out that Wilt signed his confession "Sweeney Todd". Following this, Wilt is released, although his wife and her friends are still missing.

Meanwhile, Eva has been stuck on a small yacht on a mudbank in the middle of a lake with Sally and Hugh, where Hugh finally tells her that Sally arranged the whole farce with the doll, intending to get Eva to split from her husband so that she would go on the trip and give Sally the opportunity to pursue her interest in her. Eva, realizing how she has been duped, immediately leaves the boat using a small inflatable swimming ring and finds her way to a vicarage where she calls Wilt to get him to pick her up. She meets the vicar, who has apparently only recently moved to this location from Swaffham and happens to have a knotted stocking in his top pocket.

Wilt, originally reluctant to go get Eva, hitchhikes to the village, just in time to find the vicar about to strangle Eva in the cemetery. Unfortunately, as he tries to intervene, Inspector Flint – who has followed him from his house – confronts him with a shotgun. Wilt hits him with the shovel he has been given by Flint to "dig up his wife's body", knocks him into an open grave and heads into the church where his wife has fled followed by the vicar ("If anybody's going to kill my wife, it's going to be me!"). Eva temporarily fights off the vicar using her martial arts knowledge. Flint arrives, ignoring the vicar, to arrest Wilt for the murder of Sally and Hugh, who happen to arrive covered in mud, at that moment. Flint then tries to arrest him for the murder of Eva, who of course is present as well. Finally cracking up, he arrests himself, reading himself his rights.

The vicar, while trying to escape, is knocked out by a golf ball hit by Inspector Farmelow and taken into custody. The story finishes with Henry Wilt reconciled with Eva and meeting Flint in his wife's new martial arts class; Flint has had to leave the force and join a private security firm which insists on his taking the class as a refresher course. Conversely the Japanese investors in the college are impressed with the way Wilt has dealt with the adversity and had him promoted to Department Head ("In Japan, I'd be made a god").


Actor Role
Griff Rhys Jones Henry Wilt
Mel Smith Inspector Flint
Alison Steadman Eva Wilt
Diana Quick Sally
Jeremy Clyde Hugh
Roger Allam Dave
David Ryall Rev. Froude
Roger Lloyd-Pack Dr. Pittman
Dermot Crowley Braintree
John Normington Treadaway


  1. ^ http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/the-wilt/production-details.html
  2. ^ http://cineplex.com/Movies/Archives/BL4781677/Wilt.aspx?tab=photos

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