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ALIVE AND KICKING

Director: CYRIL FRANKEL

UK • BLACK AND WHITE • 1958 • 94 MIN


DAME SYBIL THORNDIKE, KATHLEEN HARRISON AND ESTELLE WINWOOD ARE TOP-BILLED IN THIS CHARMING COMEDY, WHICH ALSO STARS RICHARD HARRIS IN HIS FIRST FILM ROLE. THE WOMEN PLAY ELDERLY RESIDENTS OF THE SUNSHINE OLD FOLKS’ HOME, WHO, ON LEARNING THAT IT IS TO CLOSE, TAKE MATTERS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS.
Escaping from their drab surroundings, evading the police and hitching a lift on a Russian trawler, the feisty trio wind up on the island of Inishfada. Here they promptly commandeer three empty cottages and establish a successful knitting industry. Stanley Holloway plays the island’s owner, a likeable old Irishman who has made his fortune in America and to whom the ladies pretend to be related as part of the subterfuge. Alive and Kicking manages to combine the themes of old age and eccentricity without patronizing its leading characters—or the mature audience to whom it is aimed—and the result is a warm, whimsical piece of fun. The film was directed by Cyril Frankel the year after he made She Didn’t Say No (which was restored and screened by the Irish Film Archive in 2004).

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