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The Wrong Box (1966)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime | 1 July 1966 (UK)
Trailer
3:33 | Trailer

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In Victorian England, a fortune now depends on which of two brothers outlives the other, or can be made to have seemed to do so.

Director:

Bryan Forbes

Writers:

Robert Louis Stevenson (suggested by a novel by), Lloyd Osbourne (suggested by a novel by) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Mills ... Masterman Finsbury
Ralph Richardson ... Joseph Finsbury
Michael Caine ... Michael Finsbury
Peter Cook ... Morris Finsbury
Dudley Moore ... John Finsbury
Nanette Newman ... Julia Finsbury
Tony Hancock ... Detective
Peter Sellers ... Doctor Pratt
Cicely Courtneidge ... Major Martha
Wilfrid Lawson ... Peacock - the Butler
Thorley Walters ... Lawyer Patience
Gerald Sim ... 1st Undertaker
Peter Graves ... Military Officer
Irene Handl ... Mrs. Hackett
Norman Bird ... Clergyman
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Storyline

A tontine is established for twenty boys in 1818 England, a tontine being a kind of insurance wager in which money is invested by each participant, to grow with interest, with the last survivor to get the substantial payout. We watch the group dwindle until only two elderly brothers are left in 1882. One brother is watched by his nephews who will keep him alive at all costs. The other lives in ill health and poverty as the only support of his perpetually confused grandson. Statues and bodies are switched, in the wrong boxes, until everyone is sure that one (or both) of the brothers has died. Now if they can only make it seem as if the other brother died first, over a hundred thousand pounds sterling (in Victorian England, when a pound was a pound) will be theirs. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Virtuous maidens...cunning cousins...dastardly deeds...bodies in barrels...and boxes and boxes of boxes!

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Swahili

Release Date:

1 July 1966 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

13.000.000 dollaria zitoun klironomo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The source novel "The Wrong Box" (1889) was the first of three novels that Robert Louis Stevenson co-wrote with his stepson Lloyd Osbourne. The subsequent books were "The Wrecker" (1892) and "The Ebb-Tide" (1894). See more »

Goofs

The Union Flag planted by Graham Stark's mountaineer "In the name of the Queen" is upside down. See more »

Quotes

Morris Finsbury: I collect eggs, Doctor.
Doctor Pratt: Eggs, yes. Oh, I enjoy an egg myself, yes. They don't make good pets, though; you can never get them in at night.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are divided into sections, each preceded by an explanatory phrase as follows: for cast positions 1-9 "members of the tontine who came to untimely ends (in order of disappearance)"; for positions 10-17 "assisted by"; for positions 18-24 "The Finsbury Households"; for positions 25-53 "rest of cast in order of appearance" See more »

Connections

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: Brian Dennehy (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Light of Head
Written by Clifford Bevan
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Petal-soft hands are the mark of a great ornithologist
1 June 2009 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Funny and often laugh out loud hilarious story of two brothers (John Mills and Ralph Richardson), one of whom must outlive the other in order to win a Tontine started at their boys school and going to the final survivor of the class. What transpires is "The Wrong Box," a 1966 film directed by Bryan Forbes and also starring Michael Caine, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Wilfred Lawson, Nanette Newman (Mrs. Forbes) and Peter Sellers.

The first ten minutes or so of the movie is hilarious, as it shows the demise of the other students over the years. Regarding the surviving Finsbury brothers, one side of has Caine and his grandfather Mills, who is desperate to win, so he summons his brother to his "deathbed" in order to kill him, in one of the funniest scenes in the movie. On the other side, Cook and Moore are Richardson's nephews, who have devoted themselves to keeping their uncle alive. They needn't have bothered because he can't be killed anyway. He walks away from a train crash, but there's a mix-up, and he's believed dead. The nephews are desperate to cover this up until Mills dies. When they go to bury what they think is his body, Cook makes Moore do it rather than put his hands in the dirt, insisting "petal-soft hands are the mark of a great ornithologist."

Both Richardson, as the fact-spewing brother, and Mills, as the crazy old coot with murder in his heart, are excellent, as is the rest of the cast. Michael Caine is young and handsome here. Peter Sellers as a shady, cat-loving doctor is a riot. Wilfred Lawson, who plays Mills' butler, nearly steals the film as the elderly servant so old he practically has rigor mortis. One of the best moments is when Michael Caine sends him to the door telling him to go slowly - it already takes him ten minutes to get there, and Lawson starts to go to the door and mumbles to himself, "I'll slow it down." Too much. The pretty ingénue, Newman, had been married to director Forbes for ten years before the making of this film. She's still married to him.

Lots of fun, with a crazy finale befitting the film.


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