John Cleese, Penny Leatherbarrow, Stephen Moore
Directed by Christopher Morahan
Originally released 1986
Anchor Bay Entertainment
96 minutes

Monty Python alum John Cleese plays Headmaster Brian Stimpson in Clockwise, a quirky and decent British comedy. Stephen Moore –the original Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’s Marvin the Paranoid Android-has a fairly minor role as one of the professors. Penny Leatherbarrow plays a student Cleese takes on a complicated escapade to Norwich in his quest to be head of all British headmasters and the first from a public high school.

Headmaster Stimpson (Cleese) is a most punctual and punctilious headmaster. He rules his school, students as well as staff, with an iron clock, hence the title Clockwise. This obsession with being on time hides a past where it seems Stimpson was nothing but. The movie opens on Stimpson’s big day when he is to go to Norwich to give an important speech and get an important post. This is where Stimpson’s past catches up with him. He misses his train and then all hell breaks loose in this decent British comedy.

Stimpson basically forces one of his students to drive him to Norwich, unaware at first she has taken her parents’ car and does not have a permit. Stimpson’s wife sees him with the student and gives chase. The cops are called by the girl’s parents and give chase. Cleese meets an old flame, somehow gets her to go along for the ride, and more police give chase when they think he destroyed a series of phone booths. More police give chase when Cleese / Stimpson steal a man’s car and clothes after the former ended up in a monastery.

Clockwise is a fun little comedy. Do not expect to laugh out loud but the many bizarre characters and happenings will definitely keep a smile on your face.


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