I'm All Right Jack

I'm All Right Jack

Original British film poster
Directed by John Boulting
Produced by Roy Boulting
Screenplay by Frank Harvey
John Boulting
Based on Private Life
by Alan Hackney
Starring Ian Carmichael
Peter Sellers
Richard Attenborough
Margaret Rutherford
Music by Ken Hare
Ron Goodwin
Cinematography Mutz Greenbaum
Edited by Anthony Harvey
Distributed by British Lion Films (UK)
Release dates
  • 18 August 1959 (1959-08-18) (UK)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

I'm All Right Jack is a 1959 British comedy film directed and produced by John and Roy Boulting from a script by Frank Harvey, John Boulting and Alan Hackney based on the novel Private Life by Hackney.[1] The film is a sequel to the Boultings' 1956 film Private's Progress and Ian Carmichael, Dennis Price, Richard Attenborough, Terry-Thomas and Miles Malleson reprise their characters. Peter Sellers played one of his best-known roles, as the trades union shop steward Fred Kite and won a Bafta Best Actor Award.[2] The rest of the cast included many well-known British comedy actors of the time.[3]

The film is a satire on British industrial life in the 1950s. The trade unions, workers and bosses are all seen to be incompetent or corrupt to varying degrees. The film is one of a number of satires made by the Boulting Brothers between 1956 and 1963.[4]

The title is a well-known English expression indicating smug and complacent selfishness,[5] with an implied "fuck you!".[6]


After leaving the army and returning to university, newly graduated upper-class Stanley Windrush (Ian Carmichael) is looking for a job but fails miserably at interviews for various entry level management positions. Stanley's uncle, Bertram Tracepurcel (Dennis Price) and his old army comrade, Sidney DeVere Cox (Richard Attenborough), persuade him to take an unskilled blue-collar job at Uncle Bertram's missile factory, despite Aunt Dolly's (Margaret Rutherford) misgivings.

At first suspicious of the overeager newcomer, communist shop steward Fred Kite (Peter Sellers) takes Stanley under his wing and even offers to take him in as a lodger. When Kite's curvaceous daughter Cynthia (Liz Fraser) drops by, Stanley readily accepts.

Meanwhile, personnel manager Major Hitchcock (Terry-Thomas) is assigned a time and motion study expert, Waters (John Le Mesurier), to measure how efficient the employees are. The workers refuse to cooperate but Waters tricks Windrush into showing him how much more quickly he can do his job with his forklift truck, than other more experienced employees. When Kite is informed of the results, he calls a strike to protect the rates his union workers are being paid.

This is what Cox and Tracepurcel want; Cox owns a company that can take over a large new contract with a Middle Eastern country at an inflated cost. He, Tracepurcel and a Mr Mohammed (Marne Maitland), the country's representative, would each pocket a third of the £100,000 difference.

Things don't quite work out for either side. Cox arrives at his factory to find that his workers are walking out in sympathy for Kite and his strikers. The press reports that Kite is punishing Windrush for working hard. When Windrush decides to cross the picket line and go back to work (and reveals his connection with the company's owner), Kite asks him to leave his house. This provokes the adoring Cynthia and her mother (Irene Handl) to go on strike. More strikes spring up, bringing the country to a standstill.

Faced with these new developments, Tracepurcel has no choice but to send Hitchcock to negotiate with Kite. They reach an agreement but Windrush has made both sides look bad and has to go. Cox tries to bribe him with a bagful of money to resign quietly but Windrush turns him down. On a televised discussion programme moderated by Malcolm Muggeridge (playing himself), Windrush reveals to the nation the underhanded motivations of all concerned. When he throws Cox's bribe money into the air, the studio audience riots. In the end, Windrush is convicted of causing a disturbance and everyone else is exonerated. He is last seen with his father (Miles Malleson) relaxing at a nudist colony, only to have to flee from the female residents' attentions.


Cast notes


The film was a big hit, being the most popular film in Britain for the year ended 31 October 1959.[7]

See also


  1. "I'm All Right Jack (1959)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  2. "1960 Film British Actor". bafta.org.
  3. "I'm All Right Jack". aveleyman.com.
  4. "BFI Screenonline: I'm All Right Jack (1959)". screenonline.org.uk.
  5. Collins English Dictionary, I'm all right, Jack
  6. A Dictionary of Catch Phrases from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day, Eric Partridge, 2nd ed., Routledge 1985, ISBN 0-415-05916-X
  7. FOUR BRITISH FILMS IN 'TOP 6': BOULTING COMEDY HEADS BOX OFFICE LIST Our own Reporter. The Guardian (1959-2003) [London (UK)] 11 Dec 1959: 4.

External links

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