Anyone who learns their trade off Alastair Sim is doing something right. It’s tempting to see George Cole’s as a career of two halves – his juvenile, gauche early roles followed by the middle-aged wiseacres, but they’re more like two ends of a continuous life. (Compare and contrast Arthur Daley and St Trinian’s Flash harry for something approaching proof for this spurious conjecture.) He foiled spies in Cottage to Let, held up a bank for an inheritance in Laughter in paradise, and he was Alastair Sim Jr in Scrooge. A nice little earner indeed.
FINEST HOUR: Heralding the first knockings of Daleydom as Fingers, incompetent head of an even more hopeless criminal gang in joyous Rank comedy Too Many Crooks.