How entertaining? ★★★★☆
Thought provoking? ★☆☆☆☆
13 June 2012
This article is a review of PASSPORT TO PIMLICO.
“Forgive me - are you a bleeder? When you cut yourself, do you bleed interminably?” Professor Hatton-Jones (Margaret Rutherford)
Watching the remastered Blu-ray of this Brit classic is akin to opening a time capsule and unearthing a wonderful little movie gem. It's a cliché to say, “They don't make ‘em like this any more guv”, but they really don't with PASSPORT TO PIMLICO - something so charmingly quaint. It has the virtue of bring elaborate and full of detail in the mise en scène. From the Ealing Studios stable is another comedy classic to sit alongside their most famous, THE LADY KILLERS. While THE LADY KILLERS is timeless, PASSPORT TO PIMLICO is definitely of its era – 1949, post-war rationing, aftermath of Second World War devastation. Though British pluck and the secret desire to rebel against authority is a perennial.
An imaginative and well-executed plot begins with an unexploded leftover bomb from the war. It goes off, in a striking set-piece, and reveals to the South London community a buried treasure. At a hearing to decide who owns the discovery, it comes out that the gold belongs to the defunct kingdom or Burgundy, and an obscure Royal decree causes a street in Pimlico to become a sovereign state. This leaves the 19 families to pick and choose the laws to adhere to, causing friction with the former motherland. Told you the story was elaborate!
PASSPORT TO PIMLICO is still a charming comedy of diplomacy, constitutional law, bureaucracy and manners. It's played straight and with weird believability. The new restoration is beautiful. While not perfect, there is a cheeky celebration of tenacity and self-determination.