I'm All Right Jack (1959)

Factory bosses’ scheming greed and their employees’ stubborn self-interest collide in this satire on the British at work and on strike.

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“The best of the Boultings’ warm, vulgar, affectionate satires... the film blazes into life with the arrival of Sellers’ Stalinist Don Quixote, tilting with alarming predictability at the windmills constructed by his class enemies.”

As Britain emerged from post-war austerity in the 1950s, director John Boulting and his producer brother Roy wrung comedy from changing times in a series of films poking fun at various institutions. Their targets included the army in Private’s Progress (1956) and higher education in Lucky Jim (1957), but the most successful was this witty study of industrial relations.

Ian Carmichael stars as a doltish aristocrat caught between his crooked factory-owning uncle (Dennis Price) and Peter Sellers’ Soviet-worshipping shop steward. The Boultings gleefully highlight idiocies on both sides. Their neutrality has been criticised as evasive, but it certainly gives scope for the splendid British character actors at their disposal – not least comic icon Terry Thomas as a silver-tongued personnel manager.

Although it’s nominally based on a short story by Alan Hackney, the film reunites many of the cast and characters from the Boultings’ 1956 army comedy Private’s Progress.

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