Without the giddy atmosphere that accompanied the end of post-WWII British rationing, there’s probably no way a modern audience, even a modern British audience, can hope to understand how liberating, posh & fun this wildly popular Med-School comedy once seemed. With multiple sequels and tv series as confirmation , you expect something to stick, but it’s depressingly mediocre on every level. Dirk Bogarde is the handsome new student on the block, trying to be serious while his three pals concentrate on girls, rugby or flunking tests to keep milking the inheritance. But in grey Great Britain, this rare dose of TechniColored romance/bromance was embraced as if the whole country had been waiting to exhale since 1939. Hold your breath for 15 years to get the effect.
DOUBLE-BILL: TechniColor dazzle in British rom-com trifles made a post-war return in GENEVIEVE/’53, a modest pleasure still celebrated for Christopher Challis’s lensing and Kay Kendall’s comic aplomb. (She’s the best five minutes in DOCTOR.)
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: A couple of gasp-worthy racial/racist moments may give you pause here. First, a boarding house flyer that requests No Irish Gentlemen! And later, a gag that pays off when a series of possible brides zeroes in on the one black nurse. (Common enough back in silent slapstick days, but in 1954? Yikes!)