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  She'll Have to Go May The Mest Wan Bin
Year: 1962
Director: Robert Asher
Stars: Bob Monkhouse, Alfred Marks, Hattie Jacques, Anna Karina, Dennis Lotis, Graham Stark, Clive Dunn, Hugh Lloyd, Peter Butterworth, Harry Locke, Pat Coombs
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In this stately country house, there's a knock at the door and the resident manservant Gilbert (Dennis Lotis) answers it to be told by the insistent solicitor McDonald (Hugh Lloyd) that he really must see the two Oberon brothers, Douglas (Alfred Marks) and Francis (Bob Monkhouse), at once. It is the morning, so they are still in bed, but on being awoken they are most disturbed to receive the bad news that their aunt has died. Well, they're not too bothered about that, but they are bothered that she has left them not one single penny by way of inheritance, and that will force them out of the comfort of their home - they might even need to get jobs. So who has the money, then? It's their distant cousin, twice removed, Toni (Anna Karina); she must be dealt with.

The siblings' idea of dealing with her is not to make some level-headed plans to prepare for their future, but rather they see that they have two options. One, they can choose which of them marries Toni for her money, or two, they murder her, and it's a mark of the extreme nature of their choices that as a comedy She'll Have to Go will be somewhat broad. Indeed, there were strong signs that all concerned were trying to make a cross between a wood-panelled drawing room trifle and a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes effort, with the exaggerated nature of the humour lending itself well to what amounted to a live action cartoon. Monkhouse in particular was a big fan of that medium, so you imagine he jumped at the chance to bring it to life.

As a comic celebrity, he would be best known for his game shows come the end of the decade and beyond, and a master at those he was too, one of the slickest hosts in that capacity Britain ever saw thanks to his keen ability to dream up the ideal gag for any occasion. He did fancy himself as a movie star as many of his comedy heroes had at this point in his career, appearing in the first Carry On entry and trying to start his own series with the Dentist films, sort of an answer to the Doctor films of Dirk Bogarde and company, but they never really took off. However, if big screen character stardom wasn't for him, nevertheless his oddly un-Monkhouse-like character here proved he had talent in this area, it just wasn't served well by the material he was usually given.

His Francis was definitely the meeker of the pair in comparison to Marks's more forthright, but no less daft Douglas, and they made for a pretty decent double act which sustained the laughs from minute one to the end, where the pay-off lapsed into the kind of fantasy often seen in a Tex Avery cartoon. Before that, they are trying to deal with Toni, which in a historically interesting development was a young woman played by that darling of the French Nouvelle Vague, Anna Karina. She had just gained some measure of recognition in Une Femme et un Femme the previous year, directed by her husband Jean-Luc Godard, but what brought her to Britain could only be explained by dint of the fact she was Continental, perceived as French (actually Danish).

This was a point when English language movies of a more crowdpleasing variety preferred to include a pretty girl with an accent among their casts, call it the Brigitte Bardot effect, and BB had actually shown up in one of the Doctor efforts. Karina could have been regarded as a cheaper alternative as so many were - seriously, there were legions of such women showing up in these movies - but she would go on to give some of the most delightful and affecting performances of the sixties, and if she wasn't tugging at the heartstrings in She'll Have to Go, she was certainly delightful, even regaling us with a song about Corsica (where Toni is supposed to hail from). That the two Oberons keep making up their minds to kill her then do an abrupt volte face and decide to marry her instead over and over again spoke to something about the overwhelming effect a charming lady can hold over a man, yet here was less intellectual and more the excuse to land the two male leads in Wile E. Coyote situations, and as far as that went this was bright and funny, with all in on the joke. Music by Philip Green.

[Network's DVD looks excellent, with the trailer as an extra.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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