A very funny British prison comedy that owes a bit to the 1938 film CONVICT 99, which also dealt with a lax jail. Sellers, Lodge, and Cribbins are inmates at what must be the happiest prison in all of England. Denham is the jail's warden and treats the men as though they were guests. The
cells are like Holiday Inn rooms, newspapers are delivered daily with fresh milk, and the men are treated to a multitude of classes to improve their lives once they are released. Hyde-White fakes his way into the jail by masquerading as a vicar visiting inmates. He proposes a plan for the trio: a
daring robbery that they can pull off quickly and be back in jail, with a perfect alibi, before anyone is the wiser. The crime involves a visiting Eastern potentate who is weighed against a bucketful of jewels (the Aga Khan actually did this regularly) on his birthday. The robbery is meticulously
planned and the crooks have a way to leave, do the job, and get back. Just as they are to break out, Denham is replaced by Jeffries, a man who has other thoughts about criminals and who thinks all of them should be clapped in irons and flogged regularly. Now that the clamp is down, leaving the
jail is more difficult but Hyde-White manages to get them out of jail in a police vehicle. With Fraser, Sellers' girl friend, and Handl, Cribbins' mother, to help, they successfully steal the jewels. Now the question is, where do they keep such a fortune? The best place is in the safe of the
warden, so they bring the diamonds into jail and hide them there. On the following day, Sellers, Cribbins, and Lodge receive their walking papers from jail, nab the diamonds, and stroll out. Through the usual stroke of fate, Sellers makes a mistake on the train bringing them back to town and the
diamonds are discovered. Hyde-White is spotted by the vigilant Jeffries who sees through his clerical collar and Church of England ways and sees that he is arrested. Later Sellers, Cribbins, and Lodge are seen at the weighing-in ceremony for the potentate and eye the recovered jewels, and we can
see that their nefarious plans for untold riches are still on.
Lots of slapstick, some adult dialog, and fast-moving direction by Day make this a most entertaining film which doesn't slow up for an instant. Director Day's career has been up and down. Some of his "ups" include THE GREEN MAN and CALL ME GENIUS. His "downs" are several ordinary "Tarzan" movies.
He is married to actress Dorothy Provine (THE GREAT RACE; THAT DARN CAT; WHO'S MINDING THE MINT? etc). TWO-WAY STRETCH was filmed in London at Aldershot, Maidstone, Windsor, and Pirbright and was tentatively titled "Nothing Barred" until they came up with the final name. It may have been the
inspiration for a British TV series about prison called "Porridge," which was later unsuccessfully adapted to US TV for a short run as "On the Rocks."
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A very funny British prison comedy that owes a bit to the 1938 film CONVICT 99, which also dealt with a lax jail. Sellers, Lodge, and Cribbins are inmates at what must be the happiest prison in all of England. Denham is the jail's warden and treats the men… (more)