This humorrous and elegantly-confectioned adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s first (1928) literary success makes for a witty bundle of entertainment for discriminating audiences in search of tongue-in-cheek entertainment.
Writer-producer Ivan Foxwell has opted for a lightweight, spoofy approach to the Waugh story, with the result that everything is played one stop further out than normal. Consequently, some of the story’s absurdities become almost acceptable in the context.
Pace is sprightly as we follow Paul Pennyfeather, the schoolboy who becomes teacher, then foil for a dazzling white slaver, then jailbird until his final rebirth as, literally, a different man.
Robin Phillips, in his first pic role, is excellent as the scapegoat predestined to a bitter-sweet fate. Genevieve Page is as elegant and alluring as ever in another tailor-cast role as the source of most of Paul’s troubles.
John Krish’s direction helps underline the spoofish plot elements.