Only When I Larf is a pleasant little joke, based on a Len Deighton novel and rather less complicated than some of his other work, with sound, unfussy direction and witty, observed thesping.
Filmed in London, New York and Beirut, it has Richard Attenborough, David Hemmings and Alexandra Stewart as a con-trio. Situation arises whereby Attenborough and Hemmings fall out and seek to doublecross each other.
Mood is admirably set with the gang pulling off a slickly-planned con trick in a New York office. Talk is minimal, though the sript opens up into a more gabby talk-fest later, but dialog is usually pointed and crisp.
Attenborough plays an ex-brigadier and takes on various guises. His brigadier is a masterly piece of observation and the whole film has Attenborough at his considerable comedy best. Hemmings is equally effective as the discontented young whiz-kid lieutenant and Stewart, with little to do, manages to look both efficient and sexy.