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Folly to be Wise 1953
Description: A newly-arrived units padre is place in charge of camp entertainment and has the concept of putting on a Brains Believe with local notables. Unfortunately for him, it emerges from a question on the rights and wrongs of marriage that there is more going on between three of the panelists than he wants to know about - though the audience obviously thinks differently.
Released: 06 Dec 1953 Director: Frank Launder Writers: James Bridie (play), Frank Launder (screenplay), John Dighton (screenplay) Actors: Alastair Sim, Elizabeth Allan, Roland Culver, Colin Gordon Genres: Comedy
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Folly to be Wise Reviews:

The Intelligence Corps Field Safety Police would have in a field day writing out the report of the entire proceedings of the Brians Believe set-up for the units camp concert entertainment. Sim plays his beleagued camp padre role beautifully well, with his typist WRAC girl, persisting in asking the crucial question about marriage to its very extreme feature answer. She typed out the suitable questions for the BT, so in practice, had editorial control of the proceedings & the direction the present took.For those that do not remember or never heard of the Brians Trust, it was a development from a WW II BBC radio programme, which had wide audience appeal.George Cole who plays the soldier nervously offering his "vote of thanks" to the padre for his efforts in organising the show, at the end of the film, was by this time, the adopted Barnado man son of Sim.For some nice innocent Ealing comedy of the era, then this will slay 90 minutes for you.John Locke


On hearing of this movie I was looking forward to watching it. It's the typical 1950's British film, with the added premium of Alastair Sim. He is brilliant, but the plot is weak. Social matters are highlighted that were common in Britain then, such as the Labour party vs the Tories etc. But the plot doesn't keep together well. Over all a nice enough film, but no where near the St. Trinian's series or The Green Man. Watch out for a young George Cole as a soldier as well.


Alistair Sim is a recently arrived Units chaplain in charge of providing the units at a receiving center with counseling and entertainment. He walks into a case that is a natural disaster. The troops are constantly leaving the base to patronize downtown pubs because that's where the action is. Sim's introduction to base entertainment is a string quartet -- four sweet old ladies sawing away at their instruments and producing a sound known to no human ear.So, to hold the troops on the base, Sims arranges for a panel of smart folks to deliever the audience with a "Brain Trust." They'll respond any questions submitted by the troops and the female personnel of the base. "How is the house?" he asks. Half empty. "Ah, nice -- half full!", exclaims Sim. That's the type of guy he is.The Brain Believe tool takes up about half the film's running time. It consists of half a dozen people, mostly reluctant, who have issues of their own. The doctor is deaf. The society lady is giddy and out of it. The MP is a truculent Marxist. The artist is a drunk and his wife is having an affair with a mathematician, all of them on the panel. Sim is the "Question Master." The questions aren't the sort that "Mister Memory" answered in "The 39 Steps." They're more general. "Is there any evidence of life on the moon?" The surly mathematician replies, "No", period, and a long awkward silence follows while Sim fidgets, waiting desperately for expatiation.The artist gets drunker, the politician more arrogant, the mathematician growlier, and a war almost breaks out when one of the questions turns out to be, "Is marriage a nice idea?" It ought to be funnier than it is. Granted that a chaplain on an units base isn't necessarily the most promising material yet more has been done with less. (What's funny about a guy who invents an indestructible thread in a textile plant?) Maybe it would have been more amusing if set in Victorian England instead of the 1950s. Sim is so rattled he almost falls to pieces while trying to field that question about whether marriage is a nice idea, because marriage isn't a fit topics to discuss in front of young people. I've everytime admired Alistair Sim with his indecent smile and he does what he can with this role, but the lamentable fact is that there's not much to be done with it. He plays the chaplain as a well-intentioned nervous wreck. He's done better.



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