Review: ‘The Wrong Box’

Robert Louis Stevenson's macabre Victorian yarn has been impressively mounted by producer-director Bryan Forbes. He has lined up an impeccable cast of Britain's character comedian actors and brought his usual intelligent flourish to the film. But it might have improved this Columbia release had he written the script for The Wrong Box himself, instead of using the uneven work of Larry Gelbart and Burt Shevelove.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s macabre Victorian yarn has been impressively mounted by producer-director Bryan Forbes. He has lined up an impeccable cast of Britain’s character comedian actors and brought his usual intelligent flourish to the film. But it might have improved this Columbia release had he written the script for The Wrong Box himself, instead of using the uneven work of Larry Gelbart and Burt Shevelove.

Storyline concerns a macabre lottery in which 20 parents each toss some money into a kitty for their children, the last survivor to draw the loot. Eventual survivors are two brothers who haven’t seen each other for 40 years. One of them (John Mills) makes ineffective attempts to bump off his brother (Ralph Richardson), and their offspring take a more than casual interest in the proceedings.

Mills amusingly hams his way through two or three sequences as one of the dying brothers. Richardson, bland, imperturable old bore, is superb. He and Wilfrid Lawson, portraying a decrepit butler, virtually carry away the acting honors.

The Wrong Box

UK

Production

Columbia/Salamander. Director Bryan Forbes; Producer Bryan Forbes; Screenplay Larry Gelbart, Burt Shevelove; Camera Gerry Turpin; Editor Alan Osbiston; Music John Barry; Art Director Ray Simm

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1966. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

John Mills Ralph Richardson Michael Caine Peter Cook Dudley Moore Peter Sellers

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