Brothers in Law
"Brothers in Law" (1957).jpg
Directed byRoy Boulting
Screenplay byRoy Boulting
Jeffrey Dell
Frank Harvey Jr.
Based onBrothers in Law
by Henry Cecil
Produced byJohn Boulting
StarringRichard Attenborough
Ian Carmichael
Jill Adams
Miles Malleson
CinematographyMutz Greenbaum
Edited byAnthony Harvey
Music byBenjamin Frankel
Distributed byBritish Lion Films
Release date
  • 5 March 1957 (1957-03-05)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Brothers in Law is a 1957 British comedy film directed by Roy Boulting and starring Richard Attenborough, Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas and Jill Adams.[1] The film is one of the Boulting brothers successful series of institutional satires begun with Private's Progress in 1956.[2] It is an adaptation of the 1955 novel Brothers in Law by Henry Cecil, a comedy set in the legal profession.[3]

Plot summary

Roger Thursby has just completed his barrister's examinations and has been called to the bar. He commences his pupillage in the London chambers of Kendall Grimes, but finds he learns more from Henry, his fellow pupil, and Alec, the chambers clerk. Although only supposed to 'shadow' Grimes, he finds himself on his feet before unsympathetic judges almost immediately.

Roger and Henry vie for the affections of Sally, a fellow lodger. She obtains his first brief for him from her father, a solicitor. It is an undefended divorce case, which Roger manages to lose, to the lady's fury.

Roger slowly gains more confidence. He is given a 'dock brief', a case of fraud. Despite the odd behaviour of his client, Alfred Green, Roger gets him off. He also becomes the toast of his home town, when he appears in the local assizes court, and wins a case of slander, with his proud parents and their friends in the gallery.

Sally marries Charles, a stockbroker friend, but Roger and Henry perk up with the arrival of two attractive girls as fellow lodgers.

Main cast

Critical reception

Bosley Crowther in The New York Times compared the film unfavourably to Private's Progress, commenting that it was "blessed with little spark";[4] whereas more recently, Tony Sloman in the Radio Times wrote, "Carmichael is surrounded here by a cast of accomplished character actors, including the splendid Terry-Thomas and the redoubtable Richard Attenborough as a smarmy fellow barrister. This is still very funny and relevant today."[5]


  1. ^ "Brothers in Law (1956)". BFI. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012.
  2. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Boulting Brothers".
  3. ^ Hal Erickson. "The Brothers in Law (1957) - Roy Boulting - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  4. ^ "The Screen: Case Study of Lawyers; Brothers in Law' Opens at Guild British Comedy Stars Ian Carmichael".
  5. ^ Tony Sloman. "Brothers in Law". RadioTimes.