HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Cardboard Cavalier Restoration comedy
Year: 1949
Director: Walter Forde
Stars: Sid Field, Margaret Lockwood, Jerry Desmonde, Irene Handl, Brian Worth, Claude Hulbert, Mary Clare, Miles Malleson, Peter Bull, Edie Martin
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  0 Votes
Review: Following the huge box office bomb that was London Town in 1946, Sid Field concentrated on stage work for a couple of years until the Rank Organisation persuaded him back for what was to be his final film appearance, released in March 1949 just ten months before his untimely death in 1950.

A more modest, black and white, production, Cardboard Cavalier takes place in the London of the 1650’s. Following the Civil War England is ruled by Cromwell as its Lord Protector. The regime is treated pretty roughly in the film, a sort of 17th Century Nazi state where anything enjoyable is condemned as ‘sinful’, informers and spies are everywhere and Cromwell himself is an “inhuman monster”. It’s true the Protectorate was a military dictatorship, but it was hardly Stalinist Russia. Cromwell himself enjoyed dancing and hunting, and would happily smoke a pipe while meeting foreign diplomats. However, these are the gripes of a history buff.

Royalists are plotting to put Charles II on his rightful throne. An “unwitting dupe” is needed to deliver the letter containing details of the plot to one of its key conspirators. The dupe, of course, turns out to be ‘Sidcup Buttermeadow’ (Field) who is drawn into the plot by Colonel Lovelace (Jerry Desmonde) a double-agent in the Cromwellian government. In the course of the film he becomes involved with Nell Gwynne (Margaret Lockwood), a free spirit who enjoys singing and dancing, “lewd” behaviour which breaks up her relationship with Tom Pride (Brian Worth), a lieutenant in Cromwell’s army.

Proceeding to Doverhouse Castle, Sidcup succeeds in delivering the letter but only after disguising himself as a French dancing teacher, then in drag as Lady Doverhouse’s (Mary Clare) cousin Matilda, and with the help of a friendly ghost, Lady Agnes (Irene Handl), who has the useful ability to remove her head when things get really tough. At the end of the film, with Charles restored, he gets his reward of a knighthood, becoming Sir Sidcup Buttermeadow.

Compared with Field’s earlier big-screen outing Cardboard Cavalier forms a far better vehicle for his talents as a character comedian. It has to be said the film takes a while to get going, but after 20 minutes or so it starts to provide plenty of fun. Field really starts to relax and show his mettle when demonstrating to Desmonde how he will deliver a letter “discretely”. The sequence echoes many of their stage routines with Desmonde as the exasperated straight man and Field as the well-meaning fool. There is a good sequence with a drawbridge that seems to have a mind of its own, his turn as the dancing master is good, but the scenes as ‘Cousin Matilda’ really make the film. Cromwell comes to Doverhouse Castle to uncover the plot and – in an effort to calm her nerves - Matilda succumbs to the influence of barley wine and begins flirting with the great man himself (“Olly-Wolly! Soon I shall need a protector to protect me from the Protector!”).

The rest of the cast play well, with Margaret Lockwood an attractive and feisty heroine. Some well-known British character faces add useful support including Claude Hulbert, Miles Malleson and Edie Martin.

The script is light-hearted and witty, although its use of a pastiche 17th Century English with thee and thou and wouldst and couldst dotted about takes a bit of getting used to. There are also some rather grim torture and execution scenes for a comedy (Sid himself is nearly lynched at one point). The production values are good, with well-detailed period trappings, which lend an authentic atmosphere to the action.

Production of the film was actually halted at one point due to a technicians’ strike. Filming began in June 1948, but was not completed until early in the following year. On its release it was poorly received by critics and was disappointing at the box office. (It was also banned in Syria as part of a general ban on British films.)

Overall, the film is well-paced and deserves to be better known among British comedies of the 1940’s and is surely worthy of a DVD release. It certainly gives a frustrating indication of the way in which Sid Field’s film career could have developed if he had been spared an early death. Watching him dash about the castle and engage in quite vigorous physical comedy it is hard to believe that degenerative heart disease would soon severely restrict his professional appearances and ultimately end his life.
Reviewer: Enoch Sneed

 

This review has been viewed 2533 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

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

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: