With Chinese spies on his trail, debonair adventurer Lord Southmere hides the secret microfilm formula for the mysterious Lotus X in the bones of a Brontosaurus at the National History Museum. When he is captured by the evil Hnup, it is up to his old nanny Hettie and her nanny buddies to find the formula. They proceed to steal the entire dinosaur skeleton.
An enthrallingly silly comedy-thriller from the Disney stable when kids movies didn’t have to try too hard, and hence ended up all the better for their easy charm and lightness of touch. Here the, certainly, highly original concept is that a pair of gung-ho nannies (a formidable duo) get their hands on a Brontosaurus skeleton perched on the back of a lorry (it’s a long story) and hurtle about the London streets with a typically exuberant Peter Ustinov as the rather dubiously stereotyped Chinese villain Hnup giving chase. The clue is that there is a microfilm with valuable secrets sequestered somewhere in the bones.
The central joke, in fact, is not that a dinosaur is stalking the streets of a spurious 1950s London, but that some genteel English dears (the magnificently dotty Helen Hayes and Carry On stalwart Joan Sims) are taking on dastardly Chinese agents. A delightful set-up leaning toward the canny mismatch of Ealing’s The Ladykillers. It’s all as slight as a breeze, somewhere shy of fellow nanny-epics The Sound Of Music and Bedknobs And Broomsticks, but for what it lacks in ambition it makes up for in hearty spirit and unassuming wit.
Sweet and light as a feather comedy from the Ealing studios.