TV Cream

Films: T is for...

Two-Way Stretch

The black and white Peter Sellers comedy is near enough a genre in itself, encapsulating as it does a certain time frame in British cinematic history and a whole generation of character actors. Of all those available for selection (Heaven’s Above, The Wrong Arm of the Law, I’m Alright, Jack etc.) this is relatively little-remembered number is our favourite. It seems fitting that it should be present here rather than so many other Sellers films since it comes well before his slip into the cliché of Clouseau (much as we like the early examples of those) or the big budget ludicrousness of the vanity projects of his declining years. This doesn’t require that he play all manner of faces, or use all sorts of voices. His character, Dodger Lane, is one very recognisable type but played to perfection in a vehicle which, although clearly made for him, doesn’t rub the other player’s noses in it as later features seemed to do. Alongside Sellers, Bernard ‘Cuffy’ Cribbins, David ‘career?’ Lodge, George ‘Inigo Pipkin’ Woodbridge, Maurice ‘four legs good’ Denham, Irene Handl, Liz Fraser, Wilfred ‘wohohohohahaha’ Hyde Whyte and especially Lionel ‘Wombling Free’ Jeffries all get their opportunity to shine. The plot is as daft as the ending, but we don’t watch these films for a glimpse of the cosmic truth of the universe, do we?

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