Release date31 October 1956 (1956-10-31) WriterJohn T. Chapman (play), John T. Chapman (screenplay) Initial releaseOctober 31, 1956 (United Kingdom) CastRonald Shiner, Brian Rix, Peggy Mount, Lee Patterson Similar moviesRelated Maurice Elvey movies
Dry Rot is a 1956 British comedy film directed by Maurice Elvey and starring Ronald Shiner, Brian Rix, Peggy Mount and Sid James.
The story is an adaptation of a 1954 Whitehall farce by John Chapman who also wrote the screenplay, in which the sketchy story plays second fiddle to the quick-paced action and unlikely situations. The plot concerns the practice of illicit gambling which was illegal in the United Kingdom at the time.
Three dodgy bookies, Alf Tubbe (Ronald Shiner), Flash Harry (Sidney James) and Fred Phipps (Brian Rix), plan to rig a horse race by kidnapping the fancied horse and its French jockey. They stay at a country house hotel near the racecourse, run by Colonel and Mrs Wagstaff, where they conceal the horse Sweet Lavender (and later the jockey) in a hidden cellar.
A subplot sees the dimwitted Fred fall in love with the hotel chambermaid Beth (Joan Sims).
The title Dry Rot refers to the rotten wood on the hotel stairs, which regularly catches every character unawares.
The horse-racing sequences was filmed at Kempton Park Racecourse, Sunbury-on-Thames.
The Radio Times critic wrote, "this tale of crooked bookies plods along more slowly than a doped horse, but there is the compensation of the polished performances of expert farceurs Ronald Shiner, Brian Rix and Sid James."
Sky Movies wrote, "Heather Sears makes her screen debut, Joan Sims giggles infectiously and the charms of Shirley Ann Field can be very briefly glimpsed as a waitress at the Three Frogs Cafe. But Peggy Mount sweeps all else before her in a relatively short, but devastating appearance as the indomitable Sergeant Fire."