Terry-Thomas and Leslie Phillips
‘A tale of two cads’
in Idols of the Odeons
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The chapter offers a description of the form and function of the cad in British popular culture and his post-war incarnation as the former ‘temporary gentleman’. The diverse approaches to Terry-Thomas and Leslie Phillips are discussed, together with their rise to stardom. With the former, Major Hitchcock of the Boulting brothers’ Private’s Progress was a one-man deconstruction of the narrative of Second World War heroism. Phillips achieved film stardom courtesy of Peter Rogers/Gerald Thomas comedies and, subsequently, the Betty Box/Ralph Thomas Doctor series. As memoires of the Second World War began to rescind, the chapter ends with a discussion of how Phillips made the conscious decision to change his screen image and how illness prevented Thomas from accepting the role of Prospero in Derek Jarman’s version of The Tempest.

Idols of the Odeons

Post-war British film stardom

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