Some Will, Some Won’t on DVD

Monday, 17 February 2014 14:46 Written by 

Some Will, Some Won't comes to DVDThere aren’t many films which can create such a jaw-dropping reaction when viewed for the first time – especially if you don’t read the cast list at the start of the movie. This is certainly the case with lost British film “Some Will, Some Won’t”, which is offered here by Network Distributing in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements, with the option of seeing it in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio, too.

Released in 1970, the plot revolves a bizarre condition in a will, which tests the four potential benefactors. Know as an arch-prankster, Henry Russell (Wilfrid Brambell) starts the film by making Big Ben chime well beyond 12, before falling to his death from the clock face, in a scene which has echoes of an Emmet Brown scene in “Back to the Future”.  To bag their legacies of £150,000 each, the quartet of relations have to step out of character, and prove themselves as human beings. Can they rise to their respective challenges?

Straight away we get into the heavy-hitters in the cast list, all assembled in the solicitor’s office to hear the proposal via a video recording on some very early tape equipment. Noel Howlett (the Headmaster in Please Sir!) is the solicitor, and the quartet of prospective heirs are Ronnie Corbett as Herbert the Bank Clerk, Thora Hird as Agnes the hotelier and spinster, Leslie Phillips as Simon the womaniser, and Michael Hordern as Denniston the ghost writer. Denniston keeps his writing secret from his potential wife Elizabeth (Eleanor Summerfield), which means her father Sir Charles Robson (James Robertson Justice) thinks he’s a shirker and layabout.

Herbert must hold up his Manager at gunpoint in a mask, Agnes has to work in a hotel rather than run one, Simon has to marry the first woman he talks to after the gathering, and Denniston must get arrested and spend 28 days in jail. All of them realise they will get nothing if they don’t at least give their task a try.

Of particular note beyond the central quartet is Barbara Murray (Pamela Wilder in The Plane Makers and The Power Game, and Lady Cranleigh in Doctor Who “Black Orchid”). Her character of Lucille Grayson is one that Simon is more than happy to woo, when he bumps into her after the session at the solicitors’. She plays the role of a rich businesswoman with a secret agenda to perfection, and Simon is completely besotted with her.

For good measure, we even have Frank Thornton (Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served?) turn up as a Hotel Manager, Arthur Lowe (Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army) as a Police Sergeant, and Stephen Lewis (Blakey in On The Buses) as a Police Constable).

The film was Directed by Duncan Wood, who has some impressive television producer credits including Hancock’s Half Hour, Oh Brother!, Steptoe and Son (for which he was also an uncredited Director), and was Executive Producer on The Galton and Simpson Playhouse and Life Begins at Forty. “Some Will...” was the final of three big screen movies he directed, following on from 1964’s “The Bargee” (Harry H Corbett as a canal barge Casanova, with Ronnie Barker, Eric Sykes, Julia Foster and Miriam Karlin), and 1967’s “The Cuckoo Patrol” (a musical comedy starring Freddie Garrity of ‘The Dreamers’ fame, with John Le Mesurier, Arthur Mullard and Kenneth Connor).

One amazing scene to look out for is where Ronnie Corbett thinks aloud about having a companion called Tara, just as the music to The Avengers chimes up in the background – needless to say, at the time of the movie, this was a VERY contemporary reference.

The writer of the film was Lew Schwarz, who contributed the episode “The Mark of Archanon” to Space: 1999, as well as a great many scripts for The Army Game, The Worker, and Carry On Laughing. He was also a Script Editor for Nearest and Dearest. The film is noted as being based on “Laughter in Paradise” by Jack Davies and Michael Pertwee, a 1951 film with the same basic plot and starring Alastair Sim, George Cole, Hugh Griffith, and John Laurie. Both versions of the plot include Eleanor Summerfield as a cast member, playing Sheila Wilcott in the earlier version (the role played by Sheila Steafel in “Some Will...”), and Elizabeth Robson in “Some Will...” (originally played by Joyce Grenfell).

The Schwarz connection with Duncan Wood stretched to him having also written “The Cuckoo Patrol”. Other big screen movies from his pen included 1963’s “The Cracksman” and 1967’s “Mister Ten Per Cent”, which were both vehicles for Charlie Drake.

The Producer of “Some Will...” was Giulio Zampi, who was the Editor on “Laughter in Paradise”. It was a genuine family connection in that the earlier film had been Produced and Directed by Mario Zampi (Giulio’s father, who had died in 1963).

DVD extras on this release include:

  • Full-frame, as-filmed version
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Image gallery
  • Promotional material PDFs – “Your Sales Promotion for Some Will. Some Won’t” (12 pages) and the film’s ‘Sales card’ (a 2 page item, detailing the film’s story, cast and credits).

At a time in the British marketplace where the films which are mainly remembered are the “Carry On...” movies, the works of the Hammer studios, or a range of ‘sex comedies’, the release of lost gems such as “Some Will, Some Won’t” reminds us that there was a lot more going on in our movie industry way back then. Whilst some might see the ending as a bit of a ‘cop out’, there is little doubt this is a film which sees the quartet of central characters go from thin stereotypes to well-rounded individuals, who benefit from their experiences of doing things they are genuinely uncomfortable with. And that is where the core of the humour and delight comes from.

The film is genuinely fun, and one that the whole family will get delight from. It’s perfect for a wet weekend afternoon, and does not deserve its current obscurity. And at the price, you just can’t go wrong.

“Some Will, Some Won’t” is out now from Network Distributing. The DVD has a ‘PG’ certificate, a running time of 87 minutes approx, and a RRP of £9.99, or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com

 

“SOME WILL, SOME WON’T” - CAST

Ronnie Corbett as Herbert Russell

Thora Hird as Agnes Russell

Leslie Phillips as Simon Russell

Michael Hordern as Denniston Russell

James Robertson Justice as Sir Charles Robson

Barbara Murray as Lucille Grayson

Wilfrid Brambell as Henry Russell

Arthur Lowe as Police Sergeant

Stephen Lewis as Police Constable Arthur

Noel Howlett as Endicott the Solicitor

Dennis Price as Benson

Sheila Steafel as Sheila Wilcott

Frank Thornton as Hotel Manager

Eleanor Summerfield as Elizabeth Robson

David Lander as Ricci

Noel Davis as Stewart

Toni Gilpin as Susan Heath

Harold Goodwin as Williams

Diana King as Mrs Craik

Norman Mitchell as Policeman

John Nettleton as Wagstaff

Brian Oulton as Mr Dale

Toni Palmer as Kitty

Claire Davenport as Blowzy Woman

Robin Tolhurst as Lettie

Vicki Woolf as Justine

Anthony Sagar as Policeman in Court

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