February 28, 2017


Very Important Person – 1961 | 98mins | War, Comedy | Colour


Plot Synopsis

Very Important Person

1960s wartime comedy satirising many of the stereotypical prisoner-of-war pictures that had become popular during the post-war period. The Ken Annakin directed film was one of the best vehicles for James Robertson Justice and includes a cast encompassing some of the biggest names in homegrown cinema at the time, Stanley Baxter, Leslie Phillips and Eric Sykes.

Beginning with the broadcast of a ‘This is Your Life’ style television show, the film goes into flashback as the host recalls eminent British scientist Sir Ernest Pease’s (James Robertson Justice) wartime exploits.

The irascible Pease goes on a World War II reconnaissance mission with the Navy, due to the RAF demanding he shave his beard, to observe his special radar in operation. When his bomber is shot down over Germany he is forced to parachute into the captivity of a POW camp. Before entering the POW camp, Pease, now using his alias of Naval Lieutenant Farrow, is sent to German intelligence for interrogation, where me meets fun-loving Jimmy Cooper (Leslie Phillips) and Grassy Green – a German stooge posing as a British offer. Farrow and Jimmy Cooper are classed as low-ranking personnel and sent on to a Stalag. When Farrow, joined by Jimmy, arrives at a camp he is suspected to be an informer by the prisoners and sent to Coventry as a result.

Before events get out of hand the British camp adjutant makes clear Farrow is a VIP and must be returned home as quickly as possible. His fellow prisoners become infinitely more helpful when they discover that he is in fact a very important person but Farrow dismisses their escape plans as worthless and vows to engineer his own escape. A fly in the ointment comes in the shape of old acquaintance Grassy Green….

Production Team

Ken Annakin: Director
Harry Pottle: Art Direction
Ernest Steward: Cinematography
Morris Angel: Costume Department
Vi Murray: Costume Department
Ralph Sheldon: Editing
Reg Owen: Original Music
Julian Wintle: Producer
Leslie Parkyn: Producer
Henry Blyth: Script
Jack Davies: Script


James Robertson Justice: Sir Ernest Pease KBE FRS/Lt Farrow RN
Leslie Phillips: Jimmy Cooper
Eric Sykes: Willoughby
Richard Wattis: Woodcock
Colin Gordon: Briggs
John Le Mesurier: Piggott
Norman Bird: Travers
Godfrey Winn: Himself

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