DirectorJohn Boulting Music directorJohn Addison Duration LanguageEnglish
Release date17 September 1957 (1957-09-17) (UK) Based onLucky Jim
by Kingsley Amis WriterKingsley Amis (novel), Patrick Campbell (screenplay), Jeffrey Dell (additional scenes and dialogue) CastIan Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, Hugh Griffith, Sharon Acker, Jean Anderson, Maureen Connell Similar moviesHow High, Good Will Hunting, Ad Fundum, Boys and Girls, Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth, Dean Slater: Resident Advisor
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Lucky Jim is a 1957 British comedy film directed by John Boulting and starring Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas and Hugh Griffith. It is an adaptation of the 1954 novel Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis.
Jim Dixon is a young lecturer in history at a redbrick university, who manages to offend his head of department and create various disastrous incidents. When he eventually delivers a lecture drunk, he feels forced to resign. But just as his career seems over, he is offered a job in London, and when he learns that the girl of his dreams is on her way to the railway station, he chases after her in the professor's old car. The professor's whole family chases after, and arrives at the station just in time to see Jim and the girl disappear on the train to London.
The film critic writing for The Times, gave the film a mixed review after the UK premiere in September 1957, stating that the film, "carries over enough gusto from the original to be funnier than the usual run of British comedies, without managing to avoid lapses into incoherence through pressing the Joke too far."
When the film premiered in the USA a year later, Howard Thompson of The New York Times wasn't very impressed and called Ian Carmichael "an English answer to Jerry Lewis": "Let's fervently hope this stale attempt at mirth, furiously sliding back and forth from leaden coyness to plain custard-pie confusion, doesn't mean the end of all the sly, civilized fun we've come to expect from the British specialists."
In its 2010 obituary over Ian Carmichael, The Guardian wrote: "One of his most characteristic and memorable sorties... was his portrayal of Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim—the anti-hero James Dixon, who savaged the pretensions of academia, as Amis had himself sometimes clashed with academia when he was a lecturer at Swansea. Appearing in John and Roy Boulting's 1957 film, he was able to suggest an unruly but amiable spirit at the end of its tether, his great horsey teeth exposed in the strained grimace that often greeted disaster."
The film's end titles credit "the voice of Al Fernhead" with singing the distinctive repeated "O Lucky Jim" phrase,from the eponymous song whose composers are credited as Fred V Bowers and Charles Horwitz. The Bowers-Horwitz song "Ah, lucky Jim" inspired the book's title.