Only Two Can Play (1962)

June 4th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Sydney Gilliatt | Cast: Peter Sellers, Mai Zetterling, David Attenborough, John Le Mesurier | UK drama

Kingsley Amis only agreed to allow Launder & Gilliatt to film his novel on condition that if Bryan Forbes’ adaptation took too many liberties he had the right to have his name taken off the credits; evidently he was satisfied with the results since his name is prominently displayed for all to see.

Peter Sellers strongly disliked making this film and was convinced it would be a flop, which probably accounts for his subdued performance which the film is all the better for.

The basic situation is eternal, but a couple of topical references (newspapers & posters precisely locate the action in April-May 1961) include the inevitable reference to Lady Chatterley and Sellers’ young daughter’s imaginary friend’s concern about The Bomb. The supporting cast inevitably includes Kenneth Griffith and Meredith Edwards, while there’s a ingenious cameo from John Le Mesurier and a memorable turn from Richard Attenborough as a bearded literary pseud who declares that he’s been “toying with the idea of translating Kafka into Welsh”. @RichardChatten


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