The film was based on the very funny books by Stephen Potter – Gamesmanship: the art of winning games without actually cheating, Lifemanship and One-Upmanship. (His Anti-Woo is pretty good too.) Sim plays Potter and is fantastically insincere throughout. In this closing scene he does wonderful business in the background lighting a cigarette. I can’t find online the critical praise for his “expressive teeth” but here you see his expressive eyes as he says, despairingly, “No, not sincerity!” My hero.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
In praise of: Alastair Sim
Born this day in 1900 Alastair Sim (born in Edinburgh) is my favourite actor, even more so than Terry-Thomas (born in Finchley). And here they are both with Ian Carmichael (born in Hull), and the by-golly luminous Janette Scott (born in Morecambe), daughter of Thora Hird (also born in Morecambe), in the closing three minutes of my favourite film, School for Scoundrels. Those “born ins” will mean something to English readers: what is striking is how clearly, despite their disparate native accents, they enunciate. Talk about crisp.