Only Two Can Play (1962)

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Released 25-May-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1962
Running Time 102:03
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Sidney Gilliat
Studio
Distributor
British Lion Films
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Peter Sellers
Mai Zetterling
Virginia Maskell
Richard Attenborough
David Davies
Kenneth Griffith
Maudie Edwards
Meredith Edwards
Gillian Vaughan
Graham Stark
John Arnatt
Frederick Piper
Lindy Cope
Case ?
RPI $14.95 Music Richard Rodney Bennett


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    This film is not particularly well known, but has one distinct claim to fame - a very amusing leading performance by one of the greatest comedic actors, Peter Sellers. From my perspective just about anything starring Peter Sellers has got to be worth seeing and this film certainly is.

    The film is set in a town in Wales in the early 1960s and features one of the local library assistants, John Lewis (Peter Sellers) as its main character. John has been married for some time and has two small children. His wife, Jean (Virginia Maskell) does not seem to have much interest in him anymore and just exists from day to day looking after the children. John spends most of his day looking at other women and trying to chat them up. One day, a woman he has not met before comes into the library looking for books to help design costumes for a play to be performed locally. She, he later finds out, is Elizabeth Gruffyd-Williams (Mai Zetterling), wife of one of the town's councillors. He charms her and she begins to show interest in him. What follows are numerous failed but amusing attempts to have an affair. John has also applied for a promotion and Elizabeth's husband chairs the committee who will decide the successful candidate.

    Peter Sellers shows his great comic timing in this role and the screenplay is quite witty. I am sure that in 1962 this would have been considered a bit racy, especially the brief nudity, however it is pretty tame by today's standards. As there is no canned laugh track (which is no bad thing) you need to follow closely to get all the jokes. One especially amusing sequence involves John Lewis and his first meeting in the film with local author Gareth Probert (Richard Attenborough in a silly beard). He manages to fit a number of great put downs into one short scene. Another character to watch out for is the woman with whom Lewis and his wife share a house, Mrs Davis. Her interactions with Lewis are very amusing. The screenplay won a writer's guild of Great Britain award for Bryan Forbes and the film was nominated for 4 BAFTAs. The only minor issue I had was that some of the English actors did very ordinary Welsh accents. Virginia Maskell sounded Indian at some points in the movie.

   A couple of small points of interest are that the story is based upon a novel by Kingsley Amis called That Uncertain Feeling and that the director, Sidney Gilliat is better known as a screenwriter (although he did not write this) and was involved with writing a number of early Hitchcock films including The Lady Vanishes and Jamaica Inn.

    I enjoyed this film very much and found myself laughing regularly. I would highly recommend it to fans of Peter Sellers and/or British comedy of the period.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good for a film of this age.

    The feature is presented in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. The blacks were very good and the contrast was excellent. Shadow detail was quite good considering the age of the film. There was some very light grain.

    The film is black & white.

    There were quite a few black & white specks, hairs and lines on and off throughout the film, noticeable when you are looking for them but not too bad. One particularly bad section occurred at 55:30.

    There are no subtitles.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is good, but mono.

    This DVD contains only one audio option, a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand except for the occasional accent issue.    

    There were no problems with audio sync.    

    The score of this film by Richard Rodney Bennett is very much of its time and does not add a whole lot to the film.

    The surround speakers & subwoofer were not used at all.

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu includes a scene selection function but precious little else.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie does not seem to be available currently in other Regions.

Summary

    This disc contains a witty and amusing Peter Sellers comedy from the early 1960s.

    The video quality is very good considering the age of the film.

    The audio quality is good but mono.

    The disc has no extras, or even subtitles.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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