Film review

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“The Fast Lady”—a Julian Wintle-Leslie Parkyn Production, starring James Robertson Justice, Leslie Phillips, Stanley Baxter and Kathleen Harrison.

Whatever my feelings about ill-treatment of the 3/4.5-litre ex-Charnock Bentley which stars in “The Fast Lady”—fortunately it is not an outstanding example of the breed—there is no denying the excellence of this Rank comedy, with brilliant script by Jack Davies and Henry Blyth, directed with consumate skill by Ken Annakin. I rate this film as better, certainly far funnier, than “Genevieve” and it is likely to endear the public as much to vintage cars as this earlier film comedy did to the veterans.

Stanley Baxter’s performance as the Scottish learner-driver who buys the Bentley to impress Julie Christie is surpassed only by that of Leslie Phillips as the smooth car-salesman and girl-chaser. James Robertson Justice has come a long way from his G.N. days but has a moderately easy part to play as the rich, heavy but doting father of Miss Christie—I swear he is wearing a B.R.D.C. button-hole badge. The dream-race round Silverstone in which the Bentley beats Hill, Surtees and Brabham is surpassed only by the driving-test session and the chase of a Jaguar full of crooks by the vintage Bentley, James Justice’s Bentley Continental and a Police Wolseley.

This splendid film could only have been made in Britain. The cars featuring therein, apart from “The Fast Lady,” include a Lincoln Continental, Rolls-Royce, B.M.C. Minicar, Austin Healey, M.G.-A, and a pre-war Austin that causes a mirthful traffic jam—how the street scenes were filmed within the letter of the Law I cannot imagine! If “The Fast Lady” has not come to your district I suggest a motoring expedition to see it—all but very narrow-minded Bentley fanatics should return to their cars well-pleased.—W. B.

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