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An Actor's Life For Me
on 14 December 2014
Not, as I first thought, a thankfully-forgotten "comedy" vehicle for a Charlie Drake-type comedian, but an early sixties kitchen sink comedy-drama about the actor's life. The ever-likable Kenneth Moore leads a fine cast of seasoned old-hands, Dennis Price and Cecil Parker, and younger talent, Billie Whitelaw and Angela Douglas. The film claims to be gritty and honest but is in reality completely bogus. It is scuppered at the very beginning when Moore ludicrously announces after a curtain call that he is being sacked for having an affair with the producer's wife. Firstly, this would never happen. Not the affair, the announcing it in public. Secondly, if it did, he would, quite understandably, never work again. At the end he gives up a lucrative career in adverts to return to northern rep. Apart from the fact that by that time "northern rep" no longer really existed as it had done, why couldn't he do both, as many actors seem to do? It's all work.
I found the central situation of out of work actors slumming it in Camden Town strangely reminiscent of "Withnail and I", complete with a version of "Uncle Monty" in the form of Cecil Parker, but alas no going on holiday by mistake.
By undemanding "rainy Sunday afternoon on telly" standards, it's a rather likable and entertaining time-capsule for those who like seeing fine old character actors and are nostalgic for rather glum black and white parts of North London, old-fashioned taxis and "button A, button B" telephone call boxes.