Monday, March 30, 2009

3/29/09: Nothing But the Best (1964)

In 1961, a stage musical called How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying became a colossal hit on Broadway. A few years later, Alan Bates appeared in this film, which is sort of a non-musical black comedy version of the same story, with elements of Pygmalion tossed in. Bates plays a low-class clerk at a real-estate firm who wants to rise to the top as soon as possible, no matter what the cost. He meets Denholm Elliott, a posh but somewhat sleazy con artist who shows him how to at least act upper-class. Bates soon learns the art of backstabbing and getting ahead unfairly, and we discover that even murder isn't beneath him. It sounds more interesting than it really is; I've never been quite as charmed by Alan Bates as most people are, and in Nothing But the Best, he bored me more than usual. Elliott was the most interesting thing here, and it was nice to see Ernest "Professor Loftus" Clark from the old Doctor in the House TV series as the boss of the firm. Rating: 2/5.

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