TV Cream

Films: P is for...

Passport to Pimlico

Margaret Rutherford gets another place in the list as the unintentional star of this great Ealing comedy. Pimlico turns out to be – thanks to Rutherford’s research – part of the ancient Duchy of Burgundy and therefore the residents, amongst other things, are not subject to rationing. All sorts of problems arise as the residents, their neighbours in London, who are not so fortunate, and the government, who are less than pleased, try to deal with the situation. Like the best Ealing comedies this is concerned with ordinary people pushed into extraordinary circumstances and how they use their innate character and instinct to cope. Stanley Holloway is to the fore here as he struggles to try and find a way to find a compromise between all the parties that works. Against the backdrop of the war and the plight of London in that conflict the story is given another dimension as the issues of personal freedom – the threat to it from both aggression and the restrictions upon it that flow from resistance to that aggression – are dealt with, subtly, with humour and not a little charm.

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