Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Constant Husband (1955)

This 1955 comedy stars Rex Harrison as William Egerton, a man who wakes up in Wales with no memory of who he is or why he's there. Along with psychiatrist Dr Llewellyn (Cecil Parker), Egerton attempts to unravel the mystery of what sort of person he is. In doing so he eventually unearths not one but seven wives, and the police catch up with him. When he stands trial, he gets a female barrister - something he's not happy with, and in fact he ends up feeling so disgusted with the sort of person that he evidently was that he insists on being found guilty.

It's an idea that has a lot of potential, but sadly most of the time it doesn't begin to live up to it. It's pleasant enough and Rex Harrison is a nice enough lead, but there just aren't very many laughs to be had. The highlights of The Constant Husband are George Cole's turn as an angry Italian and Michael Holden's brilliant performance as a perplexed judge.  None of the wives are particularly funny or interesting, partly because they get so little screen time. The movie saves its funniest moments till the very end, with the courtroom scene often very funny. Too little too late really, but still kind of fun.

Directed and co-written by Sidney Gilliat of St Trinians fame.



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