It's time for the annual London to Brighton antique car rally, and Alan McKim and Ambrose Claverhouse are not going to let their friendship stop them from trying to humiliate each other. Along the way, some old jealousies are kindled to the point where the two men decide to have a friendly wager on who will be the first back to London. Once the competitive juices get all fired up, however, it quickly becomes a nasty, hotly-contested affair. Ambrose's companion must suffer through her maiden voyage on the rally, while Mrs. McKim, on the other hand, is a long-time sufferer of her husband's obsession.
- It soon becomes irresistable
Twice I started to watch this on television, and neither time did I get very far - it was late at night, and the first ten minutes promised something competent but not at all special. Then I attended an actual screening where I was forced to stay till the end. Now I'm in love.
C.S. Lewis talks somewhere about the distinction between selfishness and self-centredness; the central character, Alan, is the perfect illustration of the difference. He's selfish, in that as a matter of reflex he does what he can to get his way, and thinks only occasionally about others (although he's genuine enough in his concern when he does). On the other hand he never thinks ABOUT himself. He isn't the centre of his universe; his car (Genevieve) is. Or maybe, just possibly, his wife.
These are all endearing people, and we get the impression that they have known each other long enough to have developed a routine which outsiders will think they understand before they actually do. -Does anyone know if this London-to-Brighton rally still takes place? I can't drive, and I have no interest in cars, but the film makes me want to take part.
- Whimsical, classic British cinema at its best
I grew up with this enchanting film as it was one of my father's favourites - I can see why...
One of the enduring, and charming features of "Genevieve" is its love affair with the characters (the cars included). The relationships between all the principals are tested repeatedly throughout the film, but never in a threatening manner - typical of the British reserve.
Stand-out moments have to include Rosalind's trumpet solo in the club ("I'll show them how to tray the plumpet!"), the wonderful cameo by Joyce Grenfell as the hotel receptionist, Ambrose's raucous 'Woody Woodpecker'-style laugh and the heart-warming finale seeing Genevieve rolling off under her own magical steam towards the end.
The score by harmonica supremo Larry Adler does wonders to enhance the sentiment in the film, with the jostling waltz theme and the lyrical ballad interludes. The use of the countryside is great too, and here the colour film is saturated perfectly - although, I have seen it in black and white as well, so it is not essential colour-viewing.
The race back to London is memorable for the many pranks and down-right rude goings-on between the two men and their long-suffering partners. This is superb film comedy, and its gentle tone is suitable for all members of the family - the ridiculous size of Suzie the St. Bernard, the 'flask' incident (filmed by the BBC, of course) and the ringing of the clock tower bell are all wonderful highlights.
No wonder my Dad liked it so much... :o)
- Stop it both of you your hauling like broligans!
Such a classic in film history. Genevieve is a 1908 Darrack(car), the McKims are on there annaul Car Rally from London to Brighton, only this time on the way back to London, its a race against ex-friend Ambrose Claverhouse. Classic incidents in which form a race where anything goes will be firmly in your mind for ever. Dinah Sheridan plays an excellent Wendy who thinks its absolutely absurd bouncing around in these old cars. Kay Kendal plays the trumpet playing model Rosilind Peters who also thinks that its all getting rather silly, she has also bought her dog along for the ride. Kenneth More plays the sarcastic and terrible flirt Abrose who is determined to win. John Gregson plays the moody, long suffering and jealous Alan who also wants to win the race. I promise that this will have you in tears of laughter, a splendid film of a brilliant era of English film making, no film of this type has even come close. This is my favorite film, 5 out of 5.
Cast:Dinah Sheridan .... Wendy McKim
John Gregson .... Alan McKim
Kay Kendall .... Rosalind Peters
Kenneth More .... Ambrose Claverhouse
Geoffrey Keen .... Policeman
Joyce Grenfell .... Hotel proprietress.
Runtime: full, uncut edition at 110 minutes
Color: Color (Technicolor)
Genevieve is in a class of its own.