W is for…
Aka, confusingly enough, Carry On Admiral. (It is, it is!) Based on another creaky old stage farce, Something About a Sailor, and brought to you by Rogers and Thomas, at about the same time as Constable. Kenneth Connor destroys some top secret torpedo blueprints, and Eric Barker has to help him cover up with a set of fridge circuit diagrams when scientist Hattie Jacques comes aboard to inspect.
TV CREAM SAYS: THE ADMIRAL IN THIS INSTANCE IS A BIRDSEYED-UP NOEL 'NURSE ON WHEELS' PURCELL
It seems to have a fair few fans but we don’t care, we don’t give a damn – this Clement/La Frenais ‘satire’ is a farce and a sham, marking the mid-’80s low point for Handmade Films, after the early glory years (‘Brian, ‘Friday, ‘Bandits, The Missionary) gave way to a string of expensive, rubbish comedies – Privates on Parade, Bullshot, Shanghai Surprise, and this queasy tale of Eastern Caribbean diplomacy and – spot of hilarity in the commentary box – mineral water rights. Still, the cast list is fantastically all over the shop – Michael Caine, Leonard Rossiter, Billy Connolly, Fulton Mackay, Dick ‘LSD’ Shawn, Fred ‘Car 54′ Gwynne, William ‘Porkins’ Hootkins, Brenda ‘Peter Cook anecdotes’ Vaccaro, Paul ‘it’s a haemorrhoid preparation, to be brutally frank’ Heiney, Ruby Wax and Maureen Lipman, plus George, Ringo, Clapton and, er, Jon ‘ver Purp’ Lord as Billy’s band, and Eddie Grant on theme duties.
TV CREAM SAYS: CUTTING JILLY COOPER'S HAIR A WELCOME RELIEF FOR HEINEY - AND US - AFTER THIS
Now, we’ve never seen this and we don’t know why ‘cos it sounds tremendous. Starring David ‘Candleshoe’ Niven, Stanley ‘Albert’ Holloway, John ‘Dooooomed!’ Laurie, Jimmy Hanley and William Hartnell as the sergeant – would you Adam an’ Eve it? – it says here that Tessie O’Shea is in it as herself singing; presumably this was part of some exercise to get the troops used to the hellish sounds of war. Written by Peter Ustinov and directed by Carol Reed and watched by us whenever we get the chance.
TV CREAM SAYS: AS USED BY SANHURST FOR TRAINING PURPOSES. MANY OVERWEIGHT FEMALE UKULELE PLAYERS ON THE AFGHAN FRONTLINE, D'YOU THINK?
Non-horror portmanteau films: the jury shall forever remain out on them, as far as we’re concerned. Here bumbling Justice of the Peace Victor ‘Chimmie Fadden’ Moore performs several weddings before his licence is granted, thus necessitating five couples to be recalled some years later, each with – oh yes – a story to tell. Ginger Rogers and Fred Allen hate each other but have to be wed for their job as a detergent-hawking radio couple. Miss Mississippi Marilyn Monroe and The Mad Hatter off of Batman are married for some beauty contest ruling or other. Eve Arden and her geezer are frosty in the extreme, Mitzi Gaynor’s hubby’s in the forces, And Zsa Zsa Gabor’s after a tycoon’s oil money.
TV CREAM SAYS: YEP, WE RECKON WE CAN SPOT THE WEAK SEGMENTS FROM THAT LINE-UP TOO
A fantastic (ie well written, brilliantly made, and surprisingly level-headed) piece of wartime propaganda (which we always thought was courtesy The Archers, but it’s actually an Alberto ‘Dead of Night’ Cavalcanti by way of Graeme Greene) with undercover Nazis invading the quiet village of Bramley End, and the locals (including, among many others, Thora Hird, Patricia Hayes and Arnold Ridley) slowly wising up and fighting back. Far more objective and vicious than you’d expect, and so far better than it has any right to be. And any film that starts with one of the characters doing an introductory monologue to camera is always going to be top rate.
TV CREAM SAYS: AND THAT THERE IS THE ONLY BIT OF ENGLAND THEY GOT...
It’s a Mancunian Film Corporation production! Yes, the sainted John E Blakeley takes the helm as Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warris make their first of two appearances at the Jollywood studio, joining the army in yet another putative Sergeant scenario. Originally intended to be Somewhere on Parade,another in the long-running series of Frank Randle/Dan Young escapades, though Randle at the time wanted more control and Blakeley, thinking his star getting a bit peas-above-sticks, gave him School for Randle instead (hooray!) and replaced him with the more compliant Jewel. Still, Josef Locke and Kitty Blewett are present. And remember: ‘This film has been produced with the sole intention of providing burlesque comedy entertainment, and is not meant in any way to be derogatory of any of the services’.
TV CREAM SAYS: NO "I'VE GOT A LION IN THIS KIT-BAG!" ROUTINE, ALAS
Horror paperback editor Kenneth Connor and bookie Sid James are challenged by Donald Pleasence to spend a night in a haunted house in what could easily have been Carry On Screaming! if it had been made a few years before Hammer got into its baroque era. Anyhow, with Sid and Ken in fine Carry On form, classic duff lines from Ray Cooney (‘It’s like Burke and Hare all over again!’ ‘The only berk round here’s you, mate!’) and sometime Carry On visitors Esma Cannon, Stanley Unwin and Shirley Eaton, there’s Onnishness aplenty on show. That is, until you get to the disturbingly ‘dark’ denouement, which no Carry On would have dared flirt with. The appearance of Dennis Price, at the outset of his Brown Ale Years, makes this a must-see. And at the start Sid James has a bookie’s kit which is a doctor’s bag with ‘Honest Sid’ written on it, which is the most descriptive prop ever devised.
TV CREAM SAYS: CARRY ON IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT, PERHAPS?
Adam Faith searches for the Loch Ness monster (and, yes, sings the eponymous theme song) in the sort of fantasy comedy only a collaboration between Jeremy ‘Are You Being’ Lloyd and Terry ‘Genesis of the’ Nation could produce, with one of those Cream cast lists to die for – Sid James as a landlord, Charles Hawtrey as a Bohemian artist, Spike Milligan as a fisherman, Terry Scott and Gordon Rollings as coppers, Clive Dunn, Lance Percival, Wilfrid Brambell, Molly Weir, Fyffe “I’m standing here with this huge fish” Robertson and, in a slightly early seasonal appearance, Freddie ‘Dinner for One’ Frinton acting pissed.
TV CREAM SAYS: LLOYD CREDITED WITH THE 'IDEA'. YOU'D THINK HE'D HAVE WANTED THAT KEPT QUIET
A reunion of Woody Allen, Peter Sellers and Peter O’Toole (and for added Casino Royale fanboy laffs, this also briefly features Richard Burton). O’Toole is the inveterate philanderer who enlists Sellers’ greasy Richard III-wigged Austrian psychiatrist for help, who in turn is chasing after Capucine. Woody Allen and Ursula Andress also tag along. Sexual frustration, a few good one liners and a game of indoor cricket ensue. And never mind the Tom Jones theme song, we prefer Manfred Mann’s rendition of the corking Little Red Book during the party scene.
TV CREAM SAYS: SORRY, BUT IS THERE A MORE CLUB-FOOTED SONG IN EXISTENCE THAN THAT WOEFUL TITLE NUMBER? NO DISRESPECT TO JONES THE VOICE, BUT REALLY
A reasonable enough question for Peter ‘Airplane!’ Graves to ask, you might think, after a family picnic is somewhat spoilt by the annihilation of mankind – save for a handful of handily immune individuals, natch – after solar flares reduce them to piles of white powder, leaving only their clothes behind. Cue a gruelling slog from deserted town to deserted town, scavenging anything left lying about, with a particularly memorable Jaws-style shocker as Graves siphons petrol from what he believes to be the car of another hapless dustee.
TV CREAM SAYS: NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE FINAL SCENE OF THE ADAM WEST BATMAN MOVIE
You couldn’t throw a stick in a cinema during the ’60s and ’70s without a) getting done for common assault, and b) hitting some kind of comedy spy spoof riffing on (or, if you prefer, ripping off) the popularity of that man in the bowtie and shapeless, ill-fitting rug. This film’s a prime example, with David Niven as a mild-mannered doctor drawn into MI6 work with the promise of a vintage car, but it’s just one of many – some rather good, many mediocre, and probably just as many absolutely abysmal. As you may already have guessed from the unwieldy length of this billing, we’re going to have a go at listing them. Spacebars at the ready! First off, TV movies adapted from Bond-aping series like Get Smart and The Man From UNCLE don’t count, and neither, for reasons of space more than anything else, do out and out ’80s jokefests like Top Secret!, Spies Like Us and, er, Leonard Part 6. Mind you, we’ve mentioned them there, so that’s that scheme knackered. Anyway. The stand-alone film franchises proved surprisingly durable. The two Flint films are great for Coburn’s meaty presence of course, and the Matt Helm series are lairily sporadic fun too, though Dean Martin’s presence is a little too meaty, in the physical sense. Dean’s Rat Pack chums showed up in ill-advised effort Salt and Pepper, in which an ageing Sammy Davis (Charles Salt) and Peter Lawford (Chris Pepper) are a pair of Soho nightclub owners inducted by John Le Mesurier into the British secret service and subsequently gallivanting around the Home Counties in a gadget-heavy car. A sequel, One More Time, was directed by Jerry Lewis and was even more useless, featuring Lawford in a duel role as his upper class British cousin and, apropos absolutely nothing whatsoever, a bit of business where Sammy Davis opens a secret passage behind a bookcase to discover Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in costume as Frankenstein and Dracula. That sounds as bad as it gets, but sadly it ain’t. If Casino Royale’s the summit of the genre (and for the sake of a non-argument let’s just assume it is for now), what marks the bottom of the barrell? Well, there’s No Secrets! of course, but arguably even worse than that Ollie Reed cock-up is the Bond-oriented canon of zero-budget schlock peddler Lindsay Shonteff, who started early in ’65 with Licensed to Kill, which boasted a Sammy Davis theme song and Tom ‘DFS’ Adams as a rather callous secret agent who shot Russians from under his coat. Later efforts by the man were more downmarket – a Modesty Blaise-style saucy female spy called Harriet Zapper made a couple of shabby entries (in hot competition with Pete Walker’s Tiffany Jones, starring a semi-clad Anouska Hempel), and turned Len Deighton’s fifth Harry Palmer book into a mess starring Nicholas Parsons and Nigel ‘Fish Slice’ Plaskitt, before hitting on a more ‘hard boiled’ (read – drearily violent) comic spy character in Charles Bind, played variously by Nicky Henson and Gareth Hunt, before the repeal of the Eady Levy put a stop to such wanton shoestring abandon. Back in the ’60s, Dirk Bogarde played a mild-mannered codebreaker adrift in Swinging London in Sebastian (theme song by Anita Harris!) after playing similarly hapless secret agent 008 3/4 for Ralph ‘Doctor’ Thomas in iron curtain romp Hot Enough for June. Thomas later tried to revive decrepit detective Bulldog Drummond in a couple of Euro-trotting, bikini-stuffing capers featuring the decorative likes of Elke Sommer and Daliah Lavi. Slightly higher up the Swingingometer are the various Hitchcock pastiches, from Stanley Donen’s uncopyrighted Charade through the London-based Arabesque and Frank ‘Hare Remover’ Tashlin’s masterfully daffy Caprice, with lashings of hairspray and a literally swinging double bed. More downbeat but no less daft was Hopscotch, with Walter Matthau as a retiring cantankerous CIA agent releasing dynamite secrets to the world chapter by chapter, and legging it across the globe avoiding recriminations in the process. A couple of rogue gems in the genre were The Spy with a Cold Nose, Galton and Simpson’s bugged bulldog caper with Lionel Jeffries agog at a scantily clad Daliah ‘In these sorts of films a lot’ Lavi, and the truly mad The In-Laws, in which mild-mannered orthodontist Alan Arkin invites nutball father of his prospective son-in-law Peter Falk to dinner, resulting in him becoming an unwitting stooge in the latter’s currency printing scam, leading to a precipitous flight to a ludicrous South American banana republic presided over by Richard ‘the swami off of All of Me’ Libertini’s screwball general, complete with second-in-command hand puppet. Getting down to the dregs, Matchless saw the world’s spies (led by Donald Pleasence) converging on Patrick ‘Once the Killing Starts’ O’Neal and his invisibility ring, S*P*Y*S got severely limited mileage out of a bumbling Donald Sutherland/Elliot Gould partnership, while Out of Sight was a beach party UNCLE rip-off replete with secret organisation FLUSH and a Freddie and the Dreamers concert. Our favourite spoof? Well, Royale aside (if indeed you can put Royale aside), we’d have to go for The President’s Analyst, although that does occupy a sort of dual nationality with the whole Cold War conspiracy genre. In fact these two formats, along with possibly the crime caper, must constitute the richest vein of largely unheralded films we know of, as they’re overflowing with more funny, colourful, misguided and plain mad examples than any other area of filmdom you may care to mention.
TV CREAM SAYS: SORRY, THE PITHY SIGN-OFF FOR THIS ONE'S NO BETTER THAN THE MAIN BILLING
Robert ‘Monchichis’ Morse winds up in bed with Doris Day during a blackout, to the consternation of Patrick O’Neal, who gets his revenge by building a cunning contraption which automatically dials his colleague’s phone number and plays a tape of his wife apparently being killed by a burglar when he’s round at his house so as to give himself an alibi, but he didn’t reckon with the perspicacity of young student Michael Kitchen… hang on, that’s not right. Er, yeah, this is based around the infamous ’65 New York blackout, using it as an excuse to link together various half-baked plot ideas – Morse ripping off his investment company, Day almost-but-not-quite copping off with Morse, Terry-Thomas as a reliably Terry-Thomas-esque Broadway producer continually eyeing up Day (who plays a Broadway actress – of course), and cameos from Jim ‘Oh, Waldo!’ Backus and ‘The Joy of Cooking’ Steve Allen. Doris knocked films on the head shortly after this, wisely.
TV CREAM SAYS: SAID BLACKOUT FEATURED IN THE OPENING EDITION OF JAMES BURKE'S CONNECTIONS. WHICH IS IN ITSELF A CONNECTION. ALBEIT A CRAP ONE
James ‘Shogun’ Clavell steps behind the camera for this swashbucksville epic tale of roistering thief-taker Jack Shepherd (that’s the character’s name, he’s played by Tommy Steele – sadly we’ve no record of a film in which Tommy Steele is played by Jack Shepherd) slipping in and out of jail, giving Stanley Baker the runaround, and rubbing up against Sue ‘Crossroads’ Lloyd. Cardew ‘The Cad’ Robinson, John ‘Mallens’ Hallam’, Caroline ‘Fortune and fame’ Munro, the two Michaels (Douglas and Elphick), Olivia Newton-John’s sister and George ‘Inigo’ Woodbridge fill out the britches and/or basques as appropriate.
TV CREAM SAYS: SADLY NO PERIOD SKIFFLE NUMBERS OF THE 'FLASH BANG WALLOP WHAT A MATCHLOCK' VARIETY
Family fantasy wherein young boy invents magic remote control device which stops clocks, shuts off alarms and other stuff very reminiscent of a Children’s Film Foundation Film, except this is American. Henry “High Chaparral” Darrow stars. As ’70s US children’s films about a kid who invents something wacky go it’s OK, but we’d rather have The Magnificent Magical Magnet of Santa Mesa.
TV CREAM SAYS: NOT A PATCH ON GABRIELLE AND THE DOODLEMAN
Here at TVC Towers we are absolute, industrial strength, bathmat-festooning suckers for hypnosis in films. Hence even this much-of-a-muchness intriguer with Jose ‘Think I’m wooden? You oughta see my nephew!’ Ferrer hypnotising shoplifter Gene Tierney to diabolical ends is all right by us, because it takes the much misunderstood pseudo-science and, well, misunderstands it some more, which is always great value as far as we’re concerned, as it puts fun before logic, thus winding up the joy-handicapped oafs who always jump up jabbering whenever science is misapplied in the cinema, as if the filmmakers didn’t realise that already, and anyone gave a toss anyway. There are, as you’ll have surmised after clocking the forbidding sea of unbroken type before you, one or two other films in this woolly sub-genre, and, er, here they are. Ahem. We’ll gloss over your silent Caligari-esque stuff, or we’ll be here all day, so thick were cinemas with stovepipe-hatted Kevin Eldon lookalikes back in the Mark Curry-endorsed day. Ditto the endless cartoons wherein the lead character acquires a ‘self-hypnosis kit’, spends ten seconds swinging watch in front of mirror, and flies out the window. Film serials, however, we can accomodate. Bela Lugosi, unsurprisingly considering his Paddington Bear-thrashing staring abilities, shone as Chandu the Magician (real name, disappointingly, Frank Chandler) in several cheapie serials, and in this country Valentine Dyall’s mysterious Dr Morelle hypnotised patients both on radio and in a pre-horror Hammer film version. Stage hypnotists are clearly up to no good. Lon Chaney Jr bypassed flooding WH Smith’s with rubbish ‘I Can Make You Thin’ books in The Frozen Ghost, getting tangled up in a sinister wax museum instead. More career-savvy was the titular Nazi-loving watch-swinger in Hanussen, who tired of convincing Berliner punters they were chickens and got into bed with the toothbrush-tached shortarse of history book fame for fun and profit. Then you’ve got your ostensibly more serious (but not really) post-Spellbound ‘messin’ with me noggin’ psycho-thrillers. The Three Faces of Eve saw a hypnotherapised Joanne Woodward exhibiting a trio of turnabout temperaments due to a traumatic incident of the sort later to be immortalised in verse by Craig Charles. Shock Treatment, a sort of rip-off of the well-known mental illness sensationalising Shock Corridor, saw a slumming Lauren Bacall, in crabby bitch-nurse mode, administer mental torture to undercover pretend-loon Stuart Whitman. When the hypnocrats weren’t revealing inner turmoil, they were getting it on with past lives. Anthony Hopkins creepily convinced Shoulders off of The Big Bus his daughter was the reincarnation of his own dead girl via hypnotic regression in Audrey Rose. More daffily, suavely cardiganned hypnotherapist Yves Montand coaxed various historic incarnations out of gawky student Babs Streisand in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, resulting in nowt more sinister than a slightly tiresome one-woman show. More light-hearted mesmerism came came the way of Christopher Reeve (self-inflicted, to try and cop off with Jane Seymour (happy 56th by the way, Dr Q!) in Somewhere in Time), and Frankie Howerd (administered by a pissed Stanley Holloway in Up the Front). Of course, any hypnotist worth their salt has to have a crack at using their ‘fluence to induce others to commit deeds most foul. Good old Lydia Marlowe ran rings around Sherlock Holmes in The Woman in Green to this very end, and it’s safe to say The Doyle probably kick-started this particular sub-format (unless Jules Verne or H Rider-Haggard got there before him, we’re a bit rusty on our Reform Club boys’ own literature while our personal stash is still being rebound at the cobbler’s). Ronald Culver abused his powers to get Patricia Roc’s fiancee framed for murder in Merton Park cheapie The Hypnotist, and Robert Redford captivated bank clerks to aid the impromptu transfer of funds in the indelibly smart The Hot Rock, while Charles Bronson set his murderous sights a little higher, ntrancing dozens of Russian agents to blow bits of the US to smithereens over the phone in Davina-daft Cold War potboiler Telefon. From there it’s a short step to full-on Parallax View-style brainwashing, which is another topic entirely, but at least Laurence Harvey was properly made to feel sleepy in, and indeed as, The Manchurian Candidate. And of course Telly Savalas tried to go all spirally-eyed to convince Anouska
Hempel, Joanna Lumley, Jenny Hanley and the rest to sterilise the planet in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. But of course, horror’s where the real power of suggestion lies. It’d take too long to outline the various uses of the ‘fluence that litter such diverse efforts as The Devil Rides Out, Tomb of Ligeia, Tales of Terror, Captain Kronos, Theatre of Death (a veritable compendium of eerie cliches which also featured the classic ‘painting with real eyes peering out’ trope), The Keeper, The Blood Beast Terror, The Devonsville Terror, Curse of the Alpha Stone (no, us neither), Night of the Demon etc. etc. Special mention, however, must go to two examples from either end of the spectrum. The Trollenberg Terror, among its many, many other achievements, such as Warren Mitchell’s manic Germanic accent and a ‘fog over the mountains’ special effect achieved via the no-nonsense method of pinning some cotton wool to a photograph, goes for broke with the logically perfect hypnotic monster – a giant eyeball. Added chutzpah points awarded for the poster legend: ‘WARNING! If you’ve ever been hypnotised, do not come alone.’ This is well said. Far more classy, in every way, was Bryant ‘The Projected Man’ Haliday’s turn as The Great Vorelli in oft-overlooked chiller Devil Doll, combining hypnotism with ventriloquism for the perfect sinister showbiz twofer, in a Christohper Lee stylee. Copious nods to Dead of Night abound – the dummy walks about and is called Hugo – but there’s a grainy, jumpy, slightly lurid style that’s all the film’s own (it’s easily the classiest film made by wayward Bond-spoofer Lindsay Shonteff), and Vorelli is a proper bloody sadistic bastard in the melodramatic hypnosis scenes. It’s our tip for the top of the hypnofilm parade, certainly, but then again, we haven’t seen LSD/S&M romp Wanda the Sadistic Hypnotist, so perhaps our opinions don’t carry the weight they ought to. Still, we got through this billing without mentioning those Ray Dennis Steckler spirally ‘Hypnovision’ bits or Werner Herzog supposedly putting half the cast of Heart of Glass under on set.
TV CREAM SAYS: WHICH IS SUMMAT, WE SUPPOSE
Wide-eyed girl (Hayley ‘That Darn Cat!’ Mills) discovers obvious non-Christ (Alan ‘Once Upon a Tractor’ Bates) to consternation of dad (Bernard ‘Dangerous Davies’ Lee). Meanwhile, in the West End, Netto composer (Andrew ‘Book Tower’ Lloyd-Webber) spots musical cash-in opportunity (Jim ‘Total Eclipse of the’ Steinman) and completely ruins original script (Keith ‘Happy Apple’ Waterhouse).
TV CREAM SAYS: AND THAT'S YOUR ACTUAL SIR DICK'LL ATTENBOROUGH DOING THE THEME TUNE WHISTLING
‘All because the hostages love…’ This old SAS chestnut would be far better, we feel, if reimagined by Tony ‘Who Dares Wins’ Robinson, in Fat Tulip storytelling mode, leaping around an Iranian Embassy as he relates the intrepid adventures of a tortoise called Lewis Collins. As it is, we can only hope for Richard ‘Madigan’ Widmark, Edward Woodward, John ‘Triffids’ Duttine, Kenneth Griffith as Monsignor Bruce Kent (ish), Ingrid Pitt, Patrick Allen, Tony ‘MacLaren’ Osoba, and a news desk cameo from Anna Ford to keep us sane.
TV CREAM SAYS: BEST OF ALL, COLLINS'S CHARACTER IS THE ALMOST PERFECTLY NAMED PETER SKELLEN (SIC)
All-star, pan-European murder mystery comedy in which the whole of Interpol find themselves asking… ah, you’re ahead of us. Central to the film is Robert Morley, who turns in the expected baroque stylings as an insufferably arch food critic forced against his will to diet by doctor John le Mesurier. Morley becomes the chief suspect when the continent’s top names in cuisine, as named in an article by him, start kicking the bucket. There’s a nice tie-up with that other Morley scene-chewing classic, Theatre of Blood, here, as the deaths are all once again “appropriate” – a master baker is locked in his own oven, a man whose signature dish is pressed duck gets, well, pressed like a duck, etc. The suspects mount up – Jean Rochefort is a jealous chef left off Morley’s list, Jacqueline Bisset is a dessert specialist, who should be the last to cop it, and George Segal is her chef-hating, hamburger chain-owning husband. A feast of food, sumptuous interiors and pan-continental scenery is, as you’d expect, on hand, as is a top cast with the likes of Frank Windsor, Peter Sallis, Joss Ackland and Nigel Havers keeping the British end up.
TV CREAM SAYS: MOST IMPORTANTLY IT DOESN'T RELY ON SLAPSTICK OR KNOB GAGS TO TRY AND SATISFY ALL NATIONALITIES
After accidentally losing 50 grand down the waste disposal, US mint employee Jim Hutton looks to make up the deficit by breaking into the mint under cover of darkness and printing off the necessary to replenish federal stock, only to find the gang he ends up assembling (including Joey ‘Ocean’s’ Bishop, pawn shop owner Milton Berle, Bob ‘Gilligan’ Denver and Jamie ‘Klinger’ Farr) each wanting an additional run of notes to be printed off. In true bloated caper comedy style, the film builds inexorably to a ‘sod the plot’ madcap chase, this time by sea, after the loot.