This funny period comedy is based on a story coauthored by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne in the last century. Americans Gelbart and Shevelove expanded on the tale, adding a great deal of comedy and writing the script for this gag-filled farce.
Mills and Richardson are brothers in Victorian London. They haven't seen each other for four decades, and for good reason. When they were young lads, they were part of a multi-youth "tontine" and they are the last survivors of the odd pact. Years before, several parents had tossed about $2,800
each into a pool. As the calendar pages were ripped off, the money began to mount through good investments, until it is now quite a bundle. In an extended series of gags, we see how the other members of the strange lottery have gone to their final destinies. Meanwhile, the brothers are each
awaiting the news that the other has died, so the remaining one can have all the money.
Sellers is on screen only a few minutes but registers quite well, as does Lawson as the butler. The picture is shot like a British version of a Mack Sennett film, replete with subtitles. All of the smaller roles are deliciously cast, with several of the best comic actors England had to offer in
that decade, a heyday of British humor. The picture gets flabby from time to time but comes alive when the old masters, Mills and Richardson, are on screen. The plot works, but there are so many sight gags that fall flat, it begins to pall occasionally. The score is by John Barry and The
Temperance Seven perform funeral and military airs.
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