The Law of Contact

The Butler's Dilemma (November 29, 1943)

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The Butler's Dilemma
 

Released on November 29, 1943:Sir Playfair's son pretends to be a manservant in his girlfriend's home for three days to work of a gambling debt, but he is really providing an alibi for jewel thief Slippery Jim.

Produced by Elizabeth Hiscott

Directed by Leslie S. Hiscott

The Actors: Richard Hearne (Rodney Playfair), Francis L. Sullivan (Leo Carrington), Judy Kelly (Leo Carrington), Hermione Gingold (Aunt Sophie), Henry Kendall (Clifford Carmichael), Wally Patch (Tom Plumb), Ronald Shiner (Ernie, Mrs. Plumb's brother), Andre Randall (Tony Vitello, makeup artist), Ralph Truman (Bishop), Ian Fleming (Sir Hubert Playfair), Marjorie Rhodes (Mrs. Pumb), Alf Goddard (policeman), Frank Pettingell (unknown)

 

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Serving Time

Some of the best comedy comes as a result of mis-identification, everyone thinks that someone is someone else and something else, and this British comedy takes that confusion to unprecedented heights. Here is the setup for this comic farce: Slippery Jim is an internationally infamous jewel thief in London for some night work, and he needs an alibi. Rodney, son of Sir Hubert Playfair, has run up a gambling debt that he cannot tell his father about, and he is unable to pay it off. Clifford Carmichael hires a makeup artist to transform Rodney into the exact likeness of Slippery Jim. Rodney will have his gambling debt cancelled if he will act as a manservant for three days in a nearby London home. Rodney doesn’t know it, but he will be providing an iron-clad alibi for Slippery Jim while he robs London of some of the best jewels in the city. Now it begins to get confusing for the characters, as well as us. . . . The house that ‘Chapman’ will be servant in is the home of his girlfriend Judy. . . . The home is owned by her wealthy Aunt Sophie. . . . Who was robbed by Slippery Jim in Monte Carlo five years ago. . . . And Aunt Sophie is all right with having him as the servant of the home, she seems to have some romantic feelings from her past experience with Chapman. . . . So Rodney, disguised to look like Slippery Jim and using the name Chapman, begins serving the home of his girlfriend and Aunt Sophie, and all hijinks breaks out. . . . And we are just beginning to get the drift of the comedy and settling in for a good laugh, the ante is upped again. . . . The owners of the house will be out of town for a couple of days and the fellow who holds Rodney’s gambling debt will hold a secret gambling party in the home. . . . Rodney’s look-alike Slippery Jim will attend, providing two Chapmans for the same party. . . . Rodney’s father comes to the gambling party. . . . . Aunt Sophie comes to the gambling party. . . . Girlfriend Judy comes to the gambling party. . . . The coppers are outside watching for Slippery Jim. . . . Now the coppers are inside chasing Chapman. . . . I’m not sure which one. . . . I’m laughing. . . . But I’m not completely sure why. . . . And I have no idea what will happen next. . . . Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Anne Gwynne
Anne Gwynne
Anne Gwynne
Anne Gwynne
Anne Gwynne and Peter Cookson at the bar
Anne Gwynne and Peter Cookson at the bar
Anne Gwynne
Anne Gwynne
Charles Calvert
Charles Calvert
Darren McGavin
Darren McGavin
Ernie Adams stares at Peter Cookson
Ernie Adams stares at Peter Cookson
Francis Pierlot
Francis Pierlot
Francis Pierlot and Peter Cookson
Francis Pierlot and Peter Cookson
Nestor Paiva and Anne Gwynne
Nestor Paiva and Anne Gwynne
Nestor Paiva watches Peter Cookson read the newspaper
Nestor Paiva watches Peter Cookson read the newspaper
Peter Cookson
Peter Cookson
Peter Cookson and Almira Sessions
Peter Cookson and Almira Sessions
Peter Cookson, Almira Sessions and Nestor Paiva
Peter Cookson, Almira Sessions and Nestor Paiva
Peter Cookson and Ernie Adams
Peter Cookson and Ernie Adams
Peter Cookson and Francis Pierlot
Peter Cookson and Francis Pierlot