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Vice Versa [1948] [DVD]

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Roger Livesey, Kay Walsh, Petula Clark, David Hutcheson, Anthony Newley
  • Directors: Peter Ustinov
  • Producers: Peter Ustinov, George H. Brown
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Aug. 2005
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009YVDBM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,500 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Classic body swap comedy, based on the Victorian novel by F. Anstey and adapted and directed by Peter Ustinov. When stuffy businessman Paul Bultitude (Roger Livesey) and his son Dick (Anthony Newley) are having a rare heart-to-heart talk, both surprise the other by confessing how dissatisfied they are with their lives. Unfortunately, they have this conversation while in view of a magical stone idol brought back from India by the disreputable Uncle Marmaduke (David Hutcheson), and before they know it the Bultitudes have swapped bodies. While Dick poses as his father, shocking the household staff with wild parties and agreeing to a shady business deal with Uncle Marmaduke, Mr Bultitude surprises his headmaster Dr Grimstone (James Robertson Justice) and his daughter Dulcie (Petula Clark) with his boring, conservative habits.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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.
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My wife and I grew bored after about an hour, much as we like Roger Livesey. Just too broad, perhaps, who knows? Anyway, it hasn't dated well, unlike, say, 'The Happiest Days Of Your Life', which even my cretin of a daughter and her gadget-obsessed boyfriend enjoy. I really like Newley as the Artful Dodger, and Kay Walsh was always superbly easy on the eye. Worse, we tossed a coin and watched this instead of RL with Errol Flynn in 'The Master Of Ballantrae' - which I'm sure will be far more to my taste if not that of 'er indoors.
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Format: 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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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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Fantastic film. Love the acting. of course anything with Petula Clark in it is worth watching, but the star of this show is Anthony Newley.
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By Suze TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 July 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Bought as a gift. The recipient loves it.
I think it was Anthony Newley's first ever film role.
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