I’M ALL RIGHT JACK (1959)

Unlike the genteel British comedies most people remember fondly, this satire fires wildly at all levels of society in a tale of failed relations between labor and management. A sequel to the Boulting Brothers’ military comedy Private’s Progress (1956), this film features many of the same actors, including Ian Carmichael as a high-born young innocent, Miles Malleson as his dithering father, Dennis Price as his greedy uncle, Richard Attenborough as an old friend turned businessman and Terry-Thomas as an army major moving into middle management. Joining them is Peter Sellers, who pretty much walks off with the film as an elderly Communist union head who squares off against management after Carmichael goes to work under his guidance. Their confrontations lead to a national strike as each side holds firmly to its own narrow priorities. Director John Boulting and his brother, producer Roy Boulting spent a good deal of the ‘50s satirizing British life with films like Private’s Progress (1956) and Man in a Cocked Hat (1959), but this was their most critical work yet. Although pushed out of the spotlight by even more bitter satires like DR. STRANGELOVE (1964), the Boulting films are ripe for rediscovery. (d. John Boulting, 105m, DCP)