GIVE US THE MOON (1944)
Article 4144 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Val Guest
Featuring Margaret Lockwood, Vic Oliver, Peter Graves
What it is: British comedy
The wastrel son of a hotel magnate joins a ground of idlers known as The White Elephants, where he agrees to never work for a living. However, he is in danger of losing his membership when his father forces him to take over management of the Hotel Eisenhower.
Let’s get the fantastic content out of the way first. This movie takes place in 1947, three years after the European part of World War II as well as three years after the movie was made. Why? I’m guessing it’s because the central conceit of a likable batch of idlers and wastrels would probably not go over well as a wartime phenomenon, where the idea of someone not pulling his weight for the war effort would go over like a lead balloon; therefore, setting it during peacetime would be more acceptable. It certainly doesn’t use the future setting for any futuristic touches, so I’m saying that the fantastic touches here are more of a matter of convenience than anything else.
As for the movie itself, this isn’t the first time I’ve dipped into the comedy oeuvre of Val Guest, who directed the first two Quatermass movies as well as directing and writing this one. This movie is cute and whimsical, and some of the humorous situations do work well enough. However, the cuteness and whimsicality do get rather overbearing at times, and there are times where it becomes a little too much to bear. In short, the movie is a little too aggressively comic, and the laughs don’t come quite as freely as they should. By the way, the Peter Graves in the cast is not the American actor of the same name.