Kipps has little of the accepted film style. Paucity of dramatics and action is obvious to point of occasional ennui; yet, withal, there’s a certain piquant freshness in the plain tale of an ultra-plain fella – Kipps.
Any effort to give impetus or sharpness to this late Victorian yarn isn’t discernible. Sidney Gilliat’s screenplay [from H.G. Wells novel], while in excellent taste and character, remains sprawled writing. Impression sneaks through that Carol Reed wasn’t exactly comfortable in the director chore on this type of limp yarn.
Playing throughout is impressive in creating the leeches and well-wishers who descend on Kipps, an illiterate department store clerk, when a fat legacy is dropped in his lap. The sap – and there’s no other word for him – undergoes only partial metamorphosis as a gent, eventually sloughing off the new clique for his long-time sweetheart, a servant.
Michael Redgrave is believable as the hick; Phyllis Calvert as the peachy domestic; Diana Wynyard as the tony milady for whom the lower-case Kipps almost sells his heart.