Stiff Upper Lips

Sinyor revels in the snooty aristos, the wrinkled retainers, the corseted beauties, the bons mots and buttoned-up passions of BritLit cinema at its most risibly predictable. The story, set in 1908 and divided into 'chapters' introduced by curlicued intertitles, is a nonsensical romance that follows the sentimental education ('I want my sexual awakening and I want it now!') of young Emily (Cates), torn between Lawrentian, well-hung scum-of-the-earth George (Pertwee) and the upper crust suitors favoured by her aunt Agnes (Scales) and halfwit brother Edward (West). As the characters leave Ivory Hall for a rather less than Grand Tour of Tuscany and India, the heat and lust, linens and (portable) lawns, fillies and facial hair take their toll. Frequently silly, consistently spot on, and beautifully acted, this may be obvious, but it's a delight. While the gags, visual and verbal, are precise enough to lampoon the excesses of individual movies, the tone remains affectionate, from the opening salvo against Chariots of Fire bombast to Glover's ludicrously servile underling and Ustinov's dotty colonial plantation owner. Spiffing!

Release details

Duration: 90 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Gary Sinyor
Screenwriter: Paul Simpkin, Gary Sinyor
Cast: Peter Ustinov
Prunella Scales
Georgina Cates
Samuel West
Sean Pertwee
Brian Glover
Frank Finlay
Kate Harper
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