Crook's Tour

This is a very silly film. But an extremely entertaining one nonetheless.

This is a rather silly and minor film, but it’s great fun nevertheless. It’s mostly known for being one of the many appearances of Charters and Caldicott, a pair of extremely typical British gentlemen who were first seen in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes. They proved so popular that they then appeared in Carol Reed’s Night Train to Munich and many BBC radio shorts and films. There was even an 80’s television show where the roles were reprised by new actors.

In this film they are on holiday when they end up in one of the most repeated plots from early 1940’s cinema, that of regular people who accidentally stumble into secret Nazi spy rings. They are mistaken for Nazi agents and given a gramophone record containing the details of a top-secret enemy plot. What follows is a hilarious series of unlikely circumstances, made all the better by the inherent Britishness of the characters themselves.

But it’s surprisingly well done, and Charters and Caldicott are as captivating as ever. They have such an effortless chemistry and it’s the engine that makes this film work. The various shots of cities throughout the Middle East and Europe are great, as is the singing by Norwegian actress Greta Gynt. I saw this film because it’s included on the Criterion Collection Blu-Ray of The Lady Vanishes, and I’m glad I did. If you can find a copy, it’s well worth watching.