The Wrong Box

Director: Bryan Forbes
Year Released: 1966
Rating: 2.0

I don't seem to "grasp" a lot of the 1960's and 70's comedies from Britain (or, allow me to be specific: all pre-Monty Python work) - I'm thinking of the Alec Guinness films The Horse's Mouth and Kind Hearts and Coronets as well as the Pink Panther films - perhaps because I think they're trying to hard to be "American" (Sturges, Wilder's One Two Three) but come off as being dry and vapid. The Wrong Box, a manic and stupid "black" comedy - which is more muddled and incoherent and muttering than a picture should be to be tolerated - involves two older brothers battling with each other over who wins this "contest" they were enrolled in since birth, in which whoever lives the longest of all the other people in the contest, gets a large financial stipend. What ensues is this long, tiresome escapade that is all mania and no message (like a child who desperately needs to be told to sit down), and only tired me out. I can't claim that I cared at all who won it - no one is really "developed," and even poor Sir Ralph Richardson has to work with a flat, incoherent ex-professor as his character. It seems to be designed for certain tastes, of whose company I am alienated.