Newest Reviews
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Art of Self-Defense, The
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
  Nothing But the Best The Scum Also RisesBuy this film here.
Year: 1964
Director: Clive Donner
Stars: Alan Bates, Denholm Elliott, Harry Andrews, Millicent Martin, Pauline Delaney, Godfrey Quigley, Alison Leggatt, Lucinda Curtis, Nigel Stock, James Villiers, Drewe Henley, Avice Landone, Ernest Clark, William Rushton, Peter Madden, Anneke Wills
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jimmy Brewster (Alan Bates) observes it's a filthy, stinking world, but there are some smashing things in it, and those things are precisely what he has his heart set upon. He has a fairly low level position in a London property construction business but aspiration is always on his mind, trying to figure out how to make the best of what he has, and what others have too. Tonight he has recognised the switchboard operator Nadine (Lucinda Curtis) would be a handy person to get to know in light of the way she listens in on the conversations around the company, and has taken her out; if he manages to seduce her, so much the better. But he feels he still hasn't had his lucky break, and getting to the top can be hard work...

Nothing But the Best showed up around the time of the British satire boom, and it was no coincidence that one of the stars of That Was the Week That Was, the groundbreaking late night BBC programme hosted by David Frost and starring a wealth of new comedy talent, should have recruited one of their number in Millicent Martin, who was the resident singer, to play the boss's daughter Ann Horton in this film. Audiences of the day would have noted her presence and knew what they were getting as a result, but even so few would have expected the plot to take as dark a turn as it did. It starts off as a breezy black comedy with an edge, and ends up with us practically complicit in encouraging the hero in a heinous crime.

Or maybe antihero would be a better way to describe him, as Brewster swims his way through dimmer personalities than himself like a shark among the minnows. Initially we underestimate him, judging him to be some sixties wide boy with pretensions to the upper crust, and that sense of an upstart out of his depth is only underlined when he meets one Charlie Prince (Denholm Elliott) in a cafe. Prince lives how he wants as he has an allowance from his previous employers to cover up his double dealing and keep him quiet, so he spends his days betting on the horses and drinking, yet in him Brewster sees a mentor and a leg up into the rarefied air of how the other half get on, though he soon discovers there are drawbacks to putting all your eggs in one basket.

The British class system was a vital element of many a satirical take on society, but at the point where the establishment were no longer being deferred to as much as they would have previously enjoyed, along came works like this to expose the hypocrisy and complacency of the whole set up. Some have compared Nothing But the Best to Room at the Top, and the roots of its premise were definitely there, yet Brewster goes farther than Joe Lampton ever did; the previous film may have been cynical, but this one has a heart of purest ice, and that we're expected to laugh along with it renders it all the more scathing. Given the period this was created you expect Brewster to receive his comeuppance by the end, but as it goes along it grows clear there are no plans for that as the character has an answer for everything.

Needless to say Bates was excellent in a role tailor made for him; after his success in kitchen sink drama, a new force in British cinema, he was seeking something different and this proved an ideal match for his talents. He and Elliott make for an interesting double act, and there is some pleasure to be had from simply listening to them trading the lines from Frederic Raphael's screenplay whether they be hunting rabbits in the countryside or throwing themselves around the squash court, there's a sharp intelligence to the film's entirely unsentimental view on life at the cusp of a social revolution. The class Brewster aspires to is really no better or worse than he is, a subversive notion of the era, it's simply that he is able to negotiate its obstacles better than anyone else in the movie, and with a sly humour that regularly turns dramatic. His crime about an hour in is presented as a logical solution to a pressing problem, and we are on his side by this point which makes it all the more jarring. Knowing he is capable of anything, the lighthearted twist ending was anything but. Music by Ron Grainer.

[This is on DVD at last in very fine condition courtesy of Network, who include a trailer and gallery as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1303 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M


Last Updated: