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Brothers in Law

At the Exeter

By John D. Leonard

"If all the characters in this film were not fictitious--it would be alarming," states the epilogue to another Boulting Brothers British comedy currently on Exeter St., Brothers in Law. Perhaps, but the legal world would be more interesting, too.

Brothers in Law is the thin story of the mis-adventures of Roger Thursby, fresh from barrister school and afflicted with stage fright when he enters a court-room. Roger, played by Ian Carmichael, shares chambers with another fledgling barrister, named Henry Marshall (Richard Attenborough). Together they pursue not only their legal careers, but an upstairs professional model by the improbable name of Sally Smith.

John and Roy Boulting, producer and director respectively, have taken a satiric novel by Henry Cecil and the essential cast of Private's Progress to create an other socially insignificant, modest, light-hearted comedy which keeps the audience chuckling.

Roger, under the some-time guidance of employer Miles Maleson, first loses a cinch divorce suit, then wins dismissal of a confidence man on a technicality, and finally returns as a substitute counsel to his own village in a slander trial. He wins, and from the public gallery his father leads the home-town parish in applause.

Antics are light, with a minimum of slapstick. The two young lawyers have a bout with two judges on the golf course, flounder on the floor of Miss Smith's darkened room, and rejoice happily in their own lack of brilliance. The dialogue is rapid and restrained--a mild spoof on the pomp and powdered wigs which characterize the British legal fraternity.

Carmichael, Attenborough, and Maleson all turn in slick comic performances, and Jill Adams, as Sally Smith, is sweetly seductive. All in all, the Boulting Brothers have dealt another subtle blow to the humorless corpse of time and institution, and college audiences and old ladies alike chortle in appreciation.

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