Laughter in Paradise
Directed by Mario Zampi
Written by Jack Davies
Music by Stanley Black
Distributed by Associated British-Pathe
Release date(s) 13 June 1951
Running time 93 min.
Country United Kingdom
Box office £256,579 (UK)
Laughter in Paradise is a British comedy film released in 1951. The film stars Alastair Sim, Fay Compton, George Cole and Guy Middleton. The film was remade in 1970 as Some Will, Some Won’t.
When wealthy, well-known practical joker Henry Russell (Hugh Griffith) dies, four relatives find out that they stand to inherit considerable sums … provided they commit acts that are completely contrary to their natures. Law-abiding Deniston Russell (Alastair Sim) has to get himself arrested and jailed for 28 days. Difficult, snobbish Agnes Russell (Fay Compton) has to find work as a maid and keep her job for a month. Simon Russell (Guy Middleton) is a womanizing cad; his task is to marry the first single woman he speaks to. Timid Herbert Russell (George Cole) is assigned to hold up the bank where he works with a toy pistol.
Deniston is thwarted repeatedly in his attempts, but finally manages to complete his task. It costs him his fiancée Elizabeth Robson (Joyce Grenfell) when he is brought up before the judge, Elizabeth’s father, but is surprised to discover it is a cost he is quite willing to pay.
Agnes ends up working for irascible Gordon Webb (John Laurie). When he sacks her, she offers him a large sum to keep her on. He engages private detective Roger Godfrey (Anthony Steel) to find out what she is up to, while taking advantage of the odd situation by making her life even more difficult than before. Roger falls in love with Gordon’s long-suffering daughter Joan (Veronica Hurst), but she is unwilling to marry him as her father depends on her. After Agnes persuades her to change her mind, Gordon sacks her.
When Herbert finally gathers the nerve to go through with his assignment, he inadvertently foils an actual robbery and becomes a hero.
Simon finds that he has married a woman as unscrupulous as himself. The last laugh is on her though, for when the executor gathers the four heirs together, he informs them that there is no money; it was Henry’s last practical joke. Agnes, Deniston and Herbert burst into laughter. Simon is annoyed at first, until he happens to look outside at his conniving wife, waiting with a bottle of champagne. Then he too joins in the merriment.
Guy Middleton and Audrey Hepburn
Alastair Sim as Deniston Russell
Fay Compton as Agnes Russell
Guy Middleton as Simon Russell
George Cole as Herbert Russell
Hugh Griffith as Henry Russell
Ernest Thesiger as Endicott
Beatrice Campbell as Lucille Grayson, the woman Simon marries
Mackenzie Ward as Benson, Simon’s butler
Joyce Grenfell as Elizabeth Robson, Deniston’s fiancée
A. E. Matthews as Sir Charles Robson, Elizabeth’s father
John Laurie as Gordon Webb
Veronica Hurst as Joan Webb, Gordon’s daughter
Eleanor Summerfield as Sheila Wilcott, Deniston’s secretary
Anthony Steel as Roger Godfrey, the private detective
Charlotte Mitchell as Ethel, Agnes’ maid
Leslie Dwyer as Police station sergeant
Colin Gordon as Police station constable
Ronald Adam as Wagstaffe, the bank manager
Michael Pertwee as Stewart
Mary Germaine as Susan Heath
Audrey Hepburn as Frieda, a cigarette girl. This was Hepburn’s first professional appearance on film (save for a brief role in a 1948 Dutch film entitled Dutch in Seven Lessons). The filming of the scene in which Hepburn appears (somewhat against her later “type”) was later recreated in the 2000 biopic The Audrey Hepburn Story starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Noel Howlett as Clerk of the Court
Martin Boddey as Store detective
Arthur Howard as passenger in train with Herbert (uncredited)