If you’ve ever wondered how Monty Python‘s “Upper-Class Twit of the Year” sketch would fare at feature-length, this scattershot comedy from Michael Winner will give you a pretty good idea.
The premise – five soldiers set loose on swinging England in an initiative test to collect a selection of esoteric items and perform various unlikely tasks – is basically sound.
The objects the five men have to secure are naturally of an obscure variety – all the better to send them careering across London to get some plaster flying ducks or the emblem from a Rolls-Royce, with an especially tricky example for the piece de resistance.
The trouble is, there are too many different tests and the slapstick solutions to them soon try the patience.
The creator of this plan is Major Foskett (Terry-Thomas), who had been requested to conjure up an aptitude test to run as a contest between various regiments of the Army, including a man from the United States Air Force base in the area.
The actual leading man was American import Michael Callan, a song and dance exponent best known for his more serious roles on film until efforts such as these turned around his career and he ended up in light comedy on television.
Denholm Elliott and Lionel Jeffries go flat out for laughs, but with a little more gag selectivity on the part of Winner, they would not have had to work quite so hard.
Leeds beat group The Cherokees appear as themselves.
Lt. Tim Morton
Sgt. Maj. McGregor
James Robertson Justice