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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Then Some . . .
This movie had me pretty much from the moment when a priest in an Indian temple spots an approaching party and yells "Tourists!" at which point everybody puts on a show of peasant-y exoticism for the visiting rubes.

One of those rubes is Marmaduke Paradine (David Hutcheson) who is a rake and a scoundrel, and while visiting the temple takes the rakish and...
Published on 26 Feb 2011 by Matthew Patton

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts out a lot of fun but poor direction and overbearing performances smother the wit out of it
The 1948 version of F. Anstey's oft-reworked body swap comedy Vice Versa starts out promising to be a lot of fun with a witty title sequence made up of period slides with elaborate job descriptions (Associate Producer and Factotum, Sound Editor and Tricks of the Ear, Assistant Director of Bioscope, Editor in Charge of Magic Lantern Decoupage, Hairdressing and False...
Published 14 months ago by Trevor Willsmer


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Then Some . . ., 26 Feb 2011
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Matthew Patton (Deltona, Florida) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vice Versa [1948] [DVD] (DVD)
This movie had me pretty much from the moment when a priest in an Indian temple spots an approaching party and yells "Tourists!" at which point everybody puts on a show of peasant-y exoticism for the visiting rubes.

One of those rubes is Marmaduke Paradine (David Hutcheson) who is a rake and a scoundrel, and while visiting the temple takes the rakish and scoundrel-ish step of stealing an eye from the idol in the temple. Suspecting that this might not have been the best idea, he palms the eye off on his more upright cousin Paul Bultitude (Roger Livesey) when he returns to England. What Paul and his son Dick (Anthony Newley) don't realize is that the eye has magic powers; when each of them express the wish that they could live the other's life, it's granted. Which means that stuffy Paul is suddenly a giddy 12-year old, eating ice cream, trying to kiss the pretty parlormaid (Patricia Raine) and generally having a wonderful time. Meanwhile, Dick returns to boarding school a tired, annoyed middle-aged man, which causes no end of unhappiness for Dulcie Grimstone (Petula Clark), the headmaster's daughter and once the apple of Dick's eye . . .

The film was written and directed by Peter Ustinov, working from the comic fantasy by F. Anstey, and if nothing else, this is one of the few British films that has no love for the "public" schools that are so often portrayed as heaven on earth and the builders of the perfect Briton. Ustinov, whose own years at a prep school were quite miserable, sees the places as holding pens for bored, lonely, unhappy kids, who take their frustrations out on each other. And also as ideal stalking grounds for adults with, well, issues. (James Robertson Justice plays brilliantly against his usual beardy, bellow-y type as the headmaster, Dr. Grimstone, a man who enjoys spanking WAY too much.) Fortunately, there's a lot more. For one thing, there's Roger Livesey's performance as Paul, which is playful and sweet without going over the top (Livesey was flat-out one of the most likable actors to ever work in films). And Anthony Newley, despite his wide eyes and un-broken voice, does middle-aged sourness and stuffy disapproval quite convincingly. Your despair for him is increased by the fact that his personality change loses him the affections of Petula Clark, whose film career did NOT begin with FINIAN'S RAINBOW, and who demonstrates she was just as dab a hand at acting as she was at the whole singing thing. I've mentioned James Robertson Justice already, so one should also give a shout out to David Hutcheson as the snake who sets everything in motion and Kay Walsh as his girlfriend, who almost tricks the personality-switched Paul into marrying her, the better to con him out of his money.

Ustinov doesn't dazzle as a "new" directorial talent the way, say, Orson Welles did, but the film bursts with mischief and high spirits the way that nothing else that Ustinov did as a director ever did. Which is a pity. Oh well, be glad for what you get.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts out a lot of fun but poor direction and overbearing performances smother the wit out of it, 14 May 2013
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vice Versa [1948] [DVD] (DVD)
The 1948 version of F. Anstey's oft-reworked body swap comedy Vice Versa starts out promising to be a lot of fun with a witty title sequence made up of period slides with elaborate job descriptions (Associate Producer and Factotum, Sound Editor and Tricks of the Ear, Assistant Director of Bioscope, Editor in Charge of Magic Lantern Decoupage, Hairdressing and False Curlery, Make-up and Facial Make-believe) before Roger Livesey's butler expresses his distrust of the surly lot in the cinema watching the film. There are plenty of other promisingly anarchic touches, not least the priests at an Indian temple joyfully exclaiming "Tourists!" under their breath or a court filled with clergymen politely applauding a crusty judge's every moral judgement, but unfortunately along with the novel's Victorian setting, writer-director Peter Ustinov has chosen to have his talented cast give exaggerated music hall melodrama performances when dry underplaying would serve the comedy much better. Worse, every single male performer seems to be doing an imitation of how you imagine Ustinov would have played their parts himself even though few are equipped with the vocal dexterity to get away with it. It doesn't help that, as the pompous father and son who change places after an ill-judged wish in the presence of a stolen Indian wishing stone, Roger Livesey and Anthony Newley aren't the most subtle of performers to begin with before being encouraged to ham it up even further. Only Petula Clark, as Newley's boarding school sweetheart, is permitted not to go overboard. As such volume all too often smothers wit, though enough moments survive to make it worth a look, if only for the chance to see familiar faces like Peter Jones and Alfie Bass when they were still in short trousers.

Network's UK PAL DVD is a rather unimpressive transfer but acceptable, with no extras aside from a brief stills gallery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great old black & white film, 23 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Vice Versa [1948] [DVD] (DVD)
great old black & white film
definately worth it (if you're looking for ''old-sci-fy'')
The story is a classi father-son switch body experience that ends well.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Funny in rare moments, 14 Jun 2009
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This review is from: Vice Versa [1948] [DVD] (DVD)
The unscrupulous Marmaduke (David Hutcheson) gives a stolen jewelled
eye to Paul (Roger Livesey) as a gift. Paul summons his son, Dickie
(Anthony Newley) for a chat before he is sent off to his new term at
boarding school. However, the jewel has the power to allow a wish to
come true for whoever holds it. Unwittingly, the stuffy Paul wishes to
be young again and in turn, the mischievous Dickie wishes to be older.
The rest of the film follows the antics of the now mature Dickie at
school and the now immature Paul at home before they swap back at the
end of the film and everything that has gone wrong becomes resolved.
There is even a nice romantic surprise for Paul at the end.......

What sounds like a fun film is badly let down by OTT British silliness. While there are some funny moments, the truth is that there are far more unfunny moments that leave the viewer thinking "This is tedious". A case in question involves a long, drawn-out duel sequence combined with a court scene that lasts about half an hour and isn't at all funny. Not once did I laugh at the tiresome antics that were played out infront of me. My girlfriend fell asleep during this part after the film had shown early flashes of promise. This meant that she missed the film's only other funny moment after that, namely, when Dickie is travelling back on the train smoking a cigar and throws over some matches to a fellow passenger who asks for a light. The film needed far more of this kind of humour to make it good.

The main characters do well despite the silly script and the silly manner in which the story is sometimes acted. What a shame that the film is more boring than funny.
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Vice Versa [1948] [DVD]
Vice Versa [1948] [DVD] by Peter Ustinov (DVD - 2005)
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