DVD Review: Go To Blazes

You know you’re watching a quintessentially British comedy when the bank robber wears a three-piece suit, bowler hat and a red carnation. And that’s exactly the main selling point of this Go To Blazes rerelease, it’s a nostalgic trip back to the days of the Ealing and Carry On Comedies. 

The film originally released in 1962 follows three hopeless crooks that decide their perfect getaway vehicle after a robbery would be a fire engine, on the basis that nobody would ever stop a fire engine. However, things are never that simple, as their plan begins to show various flaws.

Go To Blazes is billed as a lost gem of British comedy and whether I’m not sure it lives up to that, it’s a reasonably entertaining way to spend a short eighty minutes. The main laughs come from the dynamic between the three crooks and the bizarre situations they find themselves in – from being mistaken as real firemen roped into putting out a tree-house fires or to ending up as models at an all-female fashion show. 

The three leads are entertainingly played by Norman Rossington, Daniel Massey and Dave King, who establish an entertaining and fairly amusing dynamic. Unfortunately, the jokes don’t work often, feeling generally predictable and lazy.

The rerelease also seems to be focussing on Maggie Smith’s appearance in the film, which is little more than a minor supporting role. A young Maggie plays Channelle (before the name was hijacked by the chavs), an assistant in a high-end clothing shore, who begins to date one of the crooks. The character is quite entertaining but is never fully utilised, serving no real purpose in the film. However, those left disappointed by the lack of Maggie, may be entertained by another British thesp, Robert Morley. Morley brings his traditional theatrical camp to the role of ‘The Arsonist’ – a scientist obsessed with starting fires and steals the vast majority of scenes in which he appears.
If you’re looking for cheeky nostalgic British comedy then you could do far worse than spending 80 minutes watching On The Blazes. However, there are far more entertaining comedies from the same period out there. 

Rating: 2/5

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