7.2/10
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18 user 7 critic

Laughter in Paradise (1951)

When a millionaire practical joker dies, he divides his fortune among four heirs who must carry out his zany instructions to cash in.

Director:

Mario Zampi

Writers:

Michael Pertwee (original story), Jack Davies (original story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alastair Sim ... Deniston Russell
Fay Compton ... Agnes Russell
Guy Middleton ... Simon Russell
George Cole ... Herbert Russell
Hugh Griffith ... Henry Augustus Russell
Ernest Thesiger ... Endicott
Beatrice Campbell Beatrice Campbell ... Lucille Grayson
Mackenzie Ward Mackenzie Ward ... Benson
A.E. Matthews A.E. Matthews ... Sir Charles Robson
Joyce Grenfell ... Elizabeth Robson aka Fluffy
Eleanor Summerfield Eleanor Summerfield ... Sheila Wilcott
John Laurie ... Gordon Webb
Veronica Hurst Veronica Hurst ... Joan Webb
Anthony Steel ... Roger Godfrey
Charlotte Mitchell Charlotte Mitchell ... Ethel
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Storyline

Famed practical joker Henry Russell leaves 50,000 pounds to each of his four surviving relatives. But his will has one last joke - they each have to undertake a task completely out of character within a month. As each sets out on their objective they find that quite apart from the promised riches, they are unexpectedly getting a lot out of the challenge. All except caddish Simon Russell, that is. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He sets the whole world laughing ... there's even Laughter in Paradise !

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 July 1951 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Gelächter im Paradies See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Cole played Young Ebenezer while Alastair Sim played the elder Scrooge in Scrooge (1951). See more »

Goofs

When Deniston Russell visits the police station for the second time, he addresses the officer on duty as Inspector. However, the man has three arrow-shaped stripes on his shoulder, which clearly marks him as a Sergeant. Even if he didn't know the difference, one would expect the police officer to correct him. See more »

Quotes

Simon Russell: A bottle of Krug 34 to start with. Keep a cheaper brand on the ice for later on. Women never know the second bottle.
See more »

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User Reviews

Sweetly Amusing
26 August 2009 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Alastair Sim would make a perfect undertaker. With those Bassett-hound eyes and that mournful hand-wringing manner, he's made to preside over the Slumber Room and ease you into the priciest model. So, it never fails to surprise me that he's also a first-rate comedic actor, maybe even the last word in droll comedy. And he pulls off the humor so slyly, with just a minor change of expression. What a wonderfully artistic contrast he is to today's rub- your-nose-in-it brand of comedy.

This is not his best vehicle, but the movie does have a clever premise and a couple of good set-ups—the shoplifting sequence, and any scene with Joyce Grenfell. The sketches, however, are more amusing than hilarious, and the humor never really peaks out in a climactic way. It's also perhaps one of the sweetest comedies on record, insisting that the key to happiness is pairing up with another, even in the case of those two cranky old people. That's the wisdom behind the will's requirement— old man Russell makes each beneficiary experience what is most missing from his or her life, and in the process, become a better and happier person.

Note the shot taken early on at America's brand of hard-boiled detective fiction, probably then making inroads into popular British fiction. So, by combining America's street- tough style with traditional British prose, writer Russell (Sim) produces something amusingly ridiculous, like "Petal arched her alabaster arm above her patrician brow in a moment of precise exasperation before he smacked her in the kisser." Anyway, I thought those passages were both funny and cleverly offbeat. All in all, this little comedy may be no knee-slapper, but it is rather sweetly memorable.


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