Jail becomes a fun playground - not too dissimilar from the rather jovial environs of "Hogan's Heroes" - in which convicts enjoy a rather cozy lifestyle, while management suffers from too much cranial bone matter and never catches on to being duped on a daily basis. Booze, fresh eggs, and a prison kitty make life more than bearable for inmates Peter Sellers, David Lodge and Bernard Cribbins, who accept an offer to steal from "Soapy Stevens," an old colleague who organizes the whole caper.
Seeing Willard Hyde-White beyond his usual befuddled gentleman persona is a treat, though the film's true scene-stealer is Lionel Jeffries as the rakish Constable Krout, who tries to make life hard for the inmates when it's obvious the prison warden cares too much for his prized veggie garden. Liz Fraser, having played Ian Carmichael's love interest in "I'm All Right Jack" switches to Sellers this time, as his devoted and buxom babe-in waiting, and "Jack" alumnus Irene Handl also appears as Fraser's mum in need of major dental repair.
Anchor Bay's DVD includes a nice transfer of the film, along with a clean mono soundtrack buoyed by Ken Jones' breezy jazz score, and the inlay card features a reproduction of the original art from the British Lion publicity book.
This Anchor Bay title is available alone or as part of The Peter Sellers collection, which includes "Carlton-Brown of the F.O.", "Heavens Above!", "Hoffman," "I'm All Right Jack," "The Smallest Show on Earth," and "Two-Way Stretch."
© 2003 Mark R. Hasan
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