Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Make Mine Mink (1960)



Reviews and Comments

In the fifties and sixties (and in a different way, still today), the British showed time and again that they were masters of subtle, witty humor. British humor can be either, so understated that lazy viewers will miss the jokes completely, or outrageously weird, so that conventional viewers will shake their heads in wonder. Either way, their comedy remains dry, intelligent, classy, sophisticated, and deliciously sharp.

Make Mine Mink leans toward screwball comedy, shifting here and there toward slapstick, and peppered throughout with hilarious subtleties. It's not as clever as British humor can be (as in, say, some of the great Alec Guinness comedies like The Lavender Hill Mob and The Ladykillers). But it compensates with charisma, and it's just as unleashed.

Athene Seyler, as the elderly Dame Beatrice Appleby, heads the cast and holds it together. She's simply an adorable woman (like Katie Johnson in The Ladykillers, and almost everything she says is hysterical, punchline or not. The rest of the cast consists of a small gang of lunatic oddballs (most notably the greatly entertaining Terry-Thomas) and one "straight woman" Billie Burke who tries to keep things sane. Burke plays Lily, a woman who had done time in prison and, afterward, could only find employment with Dame Beatrice. The stigma of having "done time" has everyone else around the house keeping a nervous eye on her, and when she shows up with a fur coat, they assume it's stolen. With the best of intentions, Dame Beatrice and the others plot a "heist in reverse" -- a master plan to sneak the fur coat back to where they think it was stolen from. That's only where the lunacy starts.

Originally a stage play, ably adapted for the screen in this 1960 film, Make Mine Mink builds up an incredible comic energy and never loses steam. Be careful not to laugh too loudly, or you'll miss the next joke.