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Penny Points to Paradise
The first screen outing for Goon Show stars Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe in a cheerful comic escapade set in Brighton.
Director: Tony Young
The long-lost first screen outing for stars of The Goon Show, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe, is a cheap and cheerful comic escapade climaxing in a Brighton waxworks. Secombe takes the lead role as Harry Flakers, winner of a big prize on the football pools. True to his roots he decides to continue with his planned summer holiday to Brighton, staying in his favourite shabby B&B. But his fellow guests are a shady bunch all with an eye on his winnings.
While Milligan is relatively subdued as Flakers’ best friend Spike, Sellers displays his famed dexterity of characterisation in a double-role as both a bluff con-man and a smarmy salesman. Filmed on the fly in just three weeks by family-run outfit Adelphi Films, Penny Points to Paradise aimed to capture the madcap energy of the Goons just before their ground-breaking radio comedy show first aired. Although the comedy here is more conservative than the Goons at their wildest harking back to the days of variety and silent cinema, there are still plenty of laughs to be had in this fascinating record of the ground-breaking troupe’s early exploits. Although Sellers dismissed the film later in his career, his recollections may well have been hazy: the film was long out of circulation, until its reconstruction by the BFI. The film’s initial 1951 release was short-lived, although a shorter cut was assembled in 1960 to capitalise on Sellers’ growing popularity; inserting sequences from another Adelphi comedy, Let’s Go Crazy. Following the discovery of a 16mm print in Adelphi’s archives in 2006, a restoration incorporating all known surviving sources was completed in 2008.