I just read up on Chance of a Lifetime, to get more of a sense of its plot. The review said it was excellent, one of the best British films of its type, and a triumph for Miles. The basic plot description I got was that factory owner Radford, fed up with labor difficulties, turns the plant over to the employees, who, led by Miles and More, learn just how difficult it is to run a business. Accurate? I must keep a lookout for this film, on the off-chance it ever shows up here. (There was also a 1943 film called Chance of a Lifetime, but that was a "Boston Blackie" detective B movie notable only for its being the first film directed by the great William Castle!)
Anyway, the UK COAL -- an apt acronym -- sounds great, and clearly reminiscent of the other film you cite, I'm All Right, Jack. I always thought that film -- which I have in my collection and is often shown over here -- featured one of Peter Sellers's finest, most nuanced performances, as the dictatorial (in the name of democracy) labor leader, whose accent, mannerisms, look, Sellers caught perfectly. (I have a small conceit that I have a better grasp of many aspects of British life -- not an expert understanding, just a bit more awareness -- than most Americans, which is probably fairly delusional...though I am marrying an English girl, so that must mean something!) But at least I understood the expression "I'm all right, Jack", completely unknown in America. My only quibble is that certain aspects of the bracketing story -- nudism, etc. -- were pretty lame, and Ian Carmichael (R.I.P.) was rather less than interesting as a character. But otherwise, excellent.
The protests you cited surrounding Chance in 1950 were appalling, though probably not surprising. Typical that they'd "solve" the problem by releasing the film, but burying it quickly. Corporate cowardice. Weren't there similar protests concerning Jack? And I wonder about other class-oriented films such as The Man in the White Suit as well.
Many Americans in that era thought they had labor or management troubles, but ours were nothing compared to Britain's, or most other European countries'. Different society, different takes on wealth, different realities of social mobility, different political interests, different history, etc. Ah, the good old days.
I'm so glad you bought a copy of NWF -- I would have thought you'd had it long ago. (I also saw the UK edition in HMV three months ago.) It just came out on DVD here last year, but as I've written around this site, I ran it for my summer movie group and they went wild over it -- really loved it, one of my biggest successes ever. Even I was surprised. I was invited to see Lauren Bacall, who was the guest at a film revival in New York City last November, where they screened Designing Woman, and would have liked to tell her that I had run not one, but two, of her films, to general acclaim, that year (the other was Written on the Wind). But alas, the promised Q&A period never materialized, so the opportunity to do so never presented itself.
Guess you could say I'd lost the chance of a lifetime.
I have always thought that NORTH WEST FRONTIER was a little corker, hob, but it played so often on the telly that I didn't even consider buying a copy, but because of our conversations about Herbert Lom on the SOTI boards I finally succumbed to its exotic lure.
Congratulations to you on your upcoming wedding to that occassional SOTI poster. She has only written two posts on the SOTI boards but I know that she is both intelligent and witty. You two are well matched, so my best wishes to you both.
Thank you very much, James. Actually, I think those are the only two posts she's written anywhere! We are well-matched, not least because she leaves the IMDb duties largely to me. (She thinks I'm "brilliant", which I took as a compliment until one day she referred to a new ticket vending machine at a train station in England as "brilliant". Since then, everything has, sooner or later, been "brilliant". Sigh.)
NWF doesn't play much here, as I think I noted in a conversation on another thread, so it didn't suffer from familiarity when it came out on DVD here. But it's turned into one of those films I can watch repeatedly with no diminution of enjoyment.
As Catherine (a.k.a., "akapansy") would say, "Brilliant!"