Release dateMarch 1962 (1962-03) WriterNicholas Phipps (screenplay), Kay Bannerman (play), Harold Brooke (play) Initial releaseMarch 1962 (United Kingdom) CastMichael Craig, Mary Peach, Brenda De Banzie, James Robertson Justice, Roland Culver, Liz Fraser Similar moviesRelated Ralph Thomas movies
A Pair of Briefs is a 1962 British legal comedy film directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Michael Craig, Mary Peach, Brenda De Banzie and James Robertson Justice. The screenplay concerns a new female barrister who bonds with a male rebel in chambers, and then tries to piece together a case with him.
The title is a double entendre, referring both to the documents setting out the case a barrister tries, and also to items of underwear. The film includes a scene of the female barrister in her underwear as she prepares for her court appearance, and the publicity poster reflects this.
The "Brief" of the title refers to the document which a solicitor in the UK court system writes to instruct a barrister who will plead the solicitor's case in court. Unfortunately barristers Tony Stevens and Frances Pilbright, as juniors, receive nothing but routine briefs concerning sewers. When a juicy brief concerning a writ for "restitution of conjugal rights" appears, they take opposite sides in the case. Pilbright works fiercely for her client, a woman whose marriage was disrupted by World War II. Stevens advocates for the other side, a man who denies that he was ever married to the plaintiff, although all records have been destroyed during bombing raids. For her part, the woman claims that her husband left her after she temporarily lost her memory. The two barristers squabble in court, inevitably becoming attracted to each other in the process.
Pilbright, about to lose the case, makes a furious declaration in which she declares "the Law is an Ass!". Stevens, by this time, has more sympathy for her and joins her in this. In their zeal, they offend the presiding judge, Justice Haddon. Taking them aside, he privately informs them that the suit is intended to fail, as the woman has married a millionaire and wants to remove any grounds for her previous husband to blackmail her, so their efforts were for nothing. By this time, however, the two barristers are in love.