AN ALLIGATOR NAMED DAISY
UK, 1955, 88 minutes, Colour.
Donald Sinden, Diana Dors, Jean Carson, James Robertson Justice, Stanley Holloway, Roland Culver, Margaret Rutherford, Avice Landon, Richard Wattis, Frankie Howerd, Jimmy Edwards, Gilbert Harding.
Directed by J. Lee Thompson.
An Alligator Named Daisy is a pleasant domestic British comedy, typical of so many productions of the mid '50s. While Ealing Studios produced social comedies (especially with Alec Guinness), the mainstream popular British films were like this and often had the same actors and actresses. The writing is by Jack Davies (author of such comedies as Those Magnificent Men ... Colour photography and Vistavision as well as a lively Stanley Black musical score add to the film. Diana Dors was coming into her own as a sex symbol and actress and she's supported by an excellent supporting cast including James Robertson Justice, Stanley Holloway and Margaret Rutherford.
There are guest spots from Jimmy Edwards and Frankie Howerd. Direction is by J. Lee Thompson who had made a number of films in Britain in the early '50s, was to make Tiger Bay and then move to Hollywood with The Guns of Navarone. He stayed in Hollywood with very mixed success throughout the '60s, '70s and into the '80s.
1. An entertaining British comedy of the '50s? The style and cast of the times? Visual and verbal humour? Comparisons with later British comedy? With television series?
2. Colour photography, Vistavision? Atmosphere of London, the countryside? The musical score ? and the songs and dances, choreography? The special effects - especially for Alligator Daisy?
3. The conventions of British domestic comedy? The song writing hero? The wealthy fiancee and her eccentric father? The Irish housekeeper? The range of English eccentrics? The domestic sequences? The farcical situations? Audience acceptance of these conventions, expectations?
4. The implausibility of the plot - for comedy purposes? For satirising British and Irish types? For highlighting romance?
5. Peter Weston and his career as songwriter, his becoming the owner of Daisy, the humour of his transporting her, the various attempts to get rid of her. his keeping her and Moira's liking her? Vanessa and her dislike of Daisy? the wrecking of the dance? Vanessa’s change of mind and its effect on Peter? The rally and the fiasco with the reptiles? Peter's falling in love with Moira? Happy ever after? The romantic hero, with the touch of satire?
6. The contrast between Moira and Vanessa? Moira and her Irish style, love of animals, work in the house, falling in love with Peter? The dream dance routine? The contrast with Diana Dors' style as Vanessa? Presumption, wealthy father, the dance, society. the rally? Falling in love with Peter's brother?
7. The range of character actors and actresses from British screen, their relying on their style e.g. the blustering James Robertson Justice, Stanley Holloway's comedy, Roland Culver's military type? Margaret Rutherford's fussiness, Richard Wattis and his fussiness, Ernest Thesiger as the eccentric old man? The contribution of Jimmy Edwards, Gilbert Harding, Frankie Howerd? The effect of seeing such a gallery of English comedians?
8. The humorous sequences - especially with Daisy? Audience response to animals - with the question about reptiles? The occasions for humour and criticism of British traditions: the dance, the rally?
9. The visual humour, the verbal humour? The film as illustrating the popular styles of British filmmaking of the '50s?