Wrong Arm of the Law

I had a chat with a director friend on Twitter recently about good British comedy movies. My mate mentioned Rita, Sue and Bob too – which is a classic. He also mentioned The LadyKillers which is great too.

From that period, a lesser known classic is Wrong Arm of The Law starring Peter Sellers as cockney criminal Pearly Gates. The film was written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson of Steptoe and Son fame. It’s essentially a caper movie, but with a difference, the police and the criminals are working together this time.

I have to say the film is a real joy, funny, knowing and very, very witty. Look at a list of the names of the film’s characters – Nosey Parker, Educated Ernest, Nervous O’Toole, Bluey May, Misery Martin and the German safecracker Siggy Schmoltz (who as memory serves almost has a breakdown during the heist).

The cast are delicious, as well as Sellers there’s Lionel Jefferies, Bernard Cribbins, Arthur Mullard, Dennis Price and the brilliant John Le Mesurier.

The film is also well photographed, has some funny set pieces and is surprisingly modern in parts. There are also some very nice older cars. See it…

So, 10 films to go…

Matthew Cooper has written for most of the UK soaps, including writing episodes of Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. Matthew was winner of the Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge, the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated. His award winning short film ‘Family Style’ starred Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four in 1994. He’s been a script consultantscript writer for hire for over 20 years. You can find a partial list of his broadcast credits on the IMDb.