Joe Orton’s macabre black comedy has transferred uneasily to the screen, the opening-out in the script having robbed the yarn of much of its comic tension. Nevertheless, it has enough speed, inventiveness and sharp, acid, irreverent comedy to satisfy many.
Story has Hywel Bennett and Roy Holder as two shiftless chums who, anxious to get rich quick, decide to blow a bank. They pull off the raid and elect to hide the loot in the coffin of Holder’s mother, who has conveniently died. But there’s no room for the cash and the corpse, so the poor woman’s hidden in the lavatory.
The hotel belonging to Holder’s father (Milo O’Shea) becomes a bedlam of frenzied rushing around, complicated by the arrival of an eccentric, pompous and venal inspector (Richard Attenborough) and Lee Remick, as a gold-digging sexpot of a private nurse.
Attenborough appears to be trying far too hard to get his effects. O’Shea is amiably amusing and bewildered. Remick is coolly efficient as the femme fatale, and Bennett and Holder keep their body-and loot-snatching roles to a high pitch of energetic activity.