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Laughter in Paradise

Laughter in Paradise
File:"Laughter in Paradise" (1951).jpg
Directed by Mario Zampi
Produced by Mario Zampi
Written by Jack Davies
Michael Pertwee
Starring Alastair Sim
Fay Compton
George Cole
Guy Middleton
Music by Stanley Black
Cinematography William McLeod
Edited by Giulio Zampi
Distributed by Associated British-Pathe
Release dates
13 June 1951
Running time
93 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office £256,579 (UK)[1]

Laughter in Paradise is a British comedy film released in 1951. The film stars Alastair Sim, Fay Compton, George Cole and Guy Middleton.[2] The film was remade in 1970 as Some Will, Some Won't.[3]


When wealthy, well-known practical joker Henry Russell (Hugh Griffith) dies, four relatives find out that they stand to inherit considerable sums ... provided they commit acts that are completely contrary to their natures. Law-abiding Deniston Russell (Alastair Sim) has to get himself arrested and jailed for 28 days. Difficult, snobbish Agnes Russell (Fay Compton) has to find work as a maid and keep her job for a month. Simon Russell (Guy Middleton) is a womanizing cad; his task is to marry the first single woman he speaks to. Timid Herbert Russell (George Cole) is assigned to hold up the bank where he works with a toy pistol.

Deniston is thwarted repeatedly in his attempts, but finally manages to complete his task. It costs him his fiancée Elizabeth Robson (Joyce Grenfell) when he is brought up before the judge, Elizabeth's father, but is surprised to discover it is a cost he is quite willing to pay.

Agnes ends up working for irascible Gordon Webb (John Laurie). When he sacks her, she offers him a large sum to keep her on. He engages private detective Roger Godfrey (Anthony Steel) to find out what she is up to, while taking advantage of the odd situation by making her life even more difficult than before. Roger falls in love with Gordon's long-suffering daughter Joan (Veronica Hurst), but she is unwilling to marry him as her father depends on her. After Agnes persuades her to change her mind, Gordon sacks her.

When Herbert finally gathers the nerve to go through with his assignment, he inadvertently foils an actual robbery and becomes a hero.

Simon finds that he has married a woman as unscrupulous as himself. The last laugh is on her though, for when the executor gathers the four heirs together, he informs them that there is no money; it was Henry's last practical joke. Agnes, Deniston and Herbert burst into laughter. Simon is annoyed at first, until he happens to look outside at his conniving wife, waiting with a bottle of champagne. Then he too joins in the merriment.


Guy Middleton and Audrey Hepburn


This was the fourth most popular film at the British box office in 1951.[4]

While The New York Times called the film a "merely pleasant, not especially surprising, comedy",[5] the Radio Times gave the film four out of five stars, David Parkinson praising the "fantastic performance of Alastair Sim as the henpecked thriller writer", adding, "the scene in which he tries to shoplift is one of the funniest in a career overladen with choice comic moments." ;[6] while Britmovie called the film "a sure-fire British comedy that's sprightly execution doesn’t leave many dull moments." [7]


  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p496
  2. ^ "Laughter in Paradise". BFI. 
  3. ^ "Some Will – Some Won't (1969) – BFI". BFI. 
  4. ^ "Vivien Leigh Actress of the Year.". Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 29 December 1951. p. 1. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Movie Review – – THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; 'Laughter in Paradise,' British Import With Alastair Sim, at 60th St. Trans-Lux –". 
  6. ^ David Parkinson. "Laughter in Paradise". RadioTimes. 
  7. ^ "Laughter in Paradise". 

External links