BEST PAIR OF LEGS IN THE BUSINESS - (1972) - TV

A Sunny Production
Produced by: Andrew Mitchell and Johnny Goodman
Directed by: Christopher Hodson

/ Original story and screenplay written by: Kevin Laffan
Original music composed and conducted by: Harry Robinson

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Credited Cast:

Reg Varney .... Sherry Sheridan
Diana Coupland .... Mary
Lee Montague .... Charlie Green
Jean Harvey .... Emma Cooper
David Lincoln .... Ron
George Sweeney .... Dai
Clare Sutcliffe .... Gladys
Penny Spencer .... Eunice
Michael Hadley .... Alan
Bill Dean .... Bert
Reginald Marsh .... Fred
Karen Kessey .... May
Johnny Briggs .... Millet
Geoffrey Chater .... Rev. Thorn
Clare Kelly .... Mrs. Thorn
Jane Seymour .... Kim Thorn
Jenny Thompson .... Edna Pilbeam
Claire Davenport .... Eating lady
Clare Shenstone .... 1st Chemist
Jane Cardew .... 2nd Chemist
Preston Lockwood .... 3rd Chemist

Plot Summary:

The story of fading music hall star Sherry Sheridan, a Compere come drag artist spending the twilight of his show biz career working in a Holiday Caravan Park. It's about an entertainer who cannot accept that it's time to step down from the spotlight.

Holiday camp entertainer 'Sherry' Sheridan is holding on to a place in show business by the skin of his teeth by working as a comedian and female impersonator at a rundown caravan park. It is getting to the end of the season and, with no further work on the cards, his wife Mary, who manages the bar, is urging him to give up on his unrealistic stage ambitions and go into the pub trade. Sherry won't hear of it. He is also unaware that his wife, in her misery at their situation, has begun having an affair with the boss of the caravan-site, Charlie Green, who is planning to pass the running of the park to someone else. Mary has received a letter from their son Alan who says that he might come down for the weekend.

Jane Seymour has a cameo appearance in a scene where Sherry comes to the home of the Reverend and Mrs. Thorn, the parents of his son's fiancee. Sherry makes a number of outrageous claims, and Jane's character, Kim Thorn, merely sits and reacts to the scene. She is heard talking to the others at the table, but has no dialogue.

In his denial to accept what everyone else knows is true, Sherry alienates everyone close to him and collapses what little career he had. After a minor attempt on his life by two men, Sherry confesses everything to his son, including his remorse that his life hasn't amounted to much. A shared moment and misunderstanding patched leave Sherry alone, staring at himself in the mirror, beginning to accept who he is and what he has in life. His last words to himself are: "You're a lucky old darling."

Commentary by Carolyn: The Best Pair of Legs in the Business was released in 1972 and looks very dated now. Upon first viewing, it seems rather down-beat, but it's not bad if you accept it for what it is: the story of an also-ran in show business who never made it to the top or succeeded in getting the performing bug out of his system either. It is a film about people and their failings and it is anchored in real life so not a film to approach if you're in the mood for escapist fantasy and high adventure.

One of the walk-on players is now a star on both sides of the Atlantic. Jane Seymour appears in just one scene of the film as Alan Sheridan's fiancee Kim Thorn. Although we hear her speaking in a quiet voice to the other people in the scene, we can't really hear what is said. She wears a pink flowered dress with her long hair loose and she has to look uncomfortable when 'Sherry' makes a scene, and that is about the extent of her role. It's ironic that in a film about one of show business's failures, we have a fleeting appearance of someone who was soon to become very successful indeed.

There is another actor who features in this film who turns up in another drama featuring Jane Seymour: George Sweeney who plays Dai also played the coachman John Netley in the mini-series Jack the Ripper (1988).

Reg Varney gives a very fine performance as Sherry, managing to make an exasperating character likeable. There is a basic dilemma at the heart of his performance - here is a very good comedy performer playing what is supposed to be a bad comedian. His impersonation of Queen Elizabeth would have been a joy to watch if it didn't come in a scene where Sherry is supposed to be so distressed. The performances of the other actors are good too, and at 95 minutes the film can't be accused of outstaying it's welcome. So I would say, please give this film a chance if it turns up on late night TV. You might be pleased you did.