TV Cream

Films: V is for...

Vice Versa

If we had a pound for every version of the old F Anstey body swap chestnut filmed over the years… Memories of the Peter Ustinov-helmed classic version (with Roger Livesey as the heroically monikered Paul Bultitude) were doubtless what were uppermost in David Puttnam’s mind when he commissioned this Clement-La Frenais version, but all such nice thoughts were swept aside when Judge Rheinhold and Fred ‘That was the moment I began to realise’ Savage cropped up in this Americanised, updated, Roberta Flack soundtracked hullabaloo. As we’ve mused before, what these sort of films all get so wrong is that the children all play the adults as far too old and vice versa (do you see what we did there?) so you get Rheinhold behaving like a four year old with a behavioural problem and Savage playing a thirty year old man who smokes a pipe. We bet even Ian Carmichael didn’t smoke a pipe at thirty! And we bet Columbia’s sister production house Tri-Star exchanged a few angry memoes with Dave after hearing about this project, scheduled to go toe-to-toe with their near-identical Dudley Moore vehicle Like Father, Like Son. In the end there was no need to worry – both versions bottomed out in their own time.

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