Sid James needs no introduction and, teamed up with Kenneth Connor, they almost make a double-act. Sid plays his usual role as the "Spiv" (this time, he's a bookmaker) and Ken plays a proof-reader of what were probably "Penny Dreadfuls". Even Donald Pleasence appears as the creepy solicitor.
Kenneth becomes a "beneficiary" ("you filthy swine; how long can they give you for that?") of his uncle Gabriel's estate. In order to collect his inheritance (whatever it may be), he has to go to "Blackshaw Towers"; the family home. (He is forced to do so, because his solicitor says that if he doesn't there may be "serious if not fatal consequences"!) Sid condescends to go with him and the two soon find themselves at a desolate and foggy railway station, without any directions or means of transport to the said Blackshaw Towers. However, Sid manages to find a hearse - a Rolls-Royce - to take them there (or, at least part of the way there: "Give or take a mile")! Poor Ken has to sit in the back ("There's room for one in't-back"!) ("I've a good mind to report you to the Pallbearers' Union"). They'll have to mind "them bogs": "They've claimed many a victim". "And so have you!".
Once they arrive at Blackshaw Towers, they firstly see the splendour of the family residence, where Sid wouldn't get 30 bob for the "priceless heirlooms", at the church bazaar. However, he can't help but notice the magnificent moose-head mounted on the wall: "He must have been going like a bomb when he hit that wall!".
Soon after, they encounter the rest of the family, including Guy (Dennis Price) who enjoys a tipple rather too much! ("If they've got Guy, they've got Guy's gun!" and "Don't forget Guy!") Aunt Emily (Esma Cannon) ("It's in my reticule.") is still knitting balaclavas for the boys at the front ('14-'18 War) and claims she is well acquainted with George Bernard Shaw! Malcolm (Michael Gwynn) ("Yea, pack up the Joannah!") is stabbed while playing "Chopsticks" with Ernie (Kenneth) at the organ, while the solicitor (Pleasence) goes missing and is found murdered in a rainsoaked garden, alongside Dr Edward (George Woodbridge). (Are you getting the picture?)
A few secret passages, a poison dart, paintings with holes in the eyes and, eventually, a not(?) dead Uncle Gabriel, who turns up as the local police officer. However, what happens to the remaining members of the family? Will they escape? Will the ever-lovely Shirley Eaton see her boyfriend (Adam Faith) again? Will the body in the potting shed still be there? Will Ernie claim the lovely Shirley? And don't forget Guy!
The film certainly has all the ingredients for a thriller and the humour adds to the fun. There is a lot of action and entertainment, almost from the outset and it makes this a really enjoyable, classic film. The one-liners are extremely funny and well thought out, so do listen for them! "Do you know you're beginning to get on my nerves?" "No, but if you hum it over, I can remember the tune".
Alas, time hasn't been exactly kind to the quality of the print and the sound track is somewhat quiet, but overall, the content is far too good to miss and I find myself watching this entertaining film quite regularly.