The Brass Monkey (film)

Brass Monkey or The Brass Monkey (1948) is a British comedy thriller with musical asides, directed by Thornton Freeland. It stars Carroll Levis, a radio variety show host and talent scout (known as "Britains favorite Canadian") and American actress Carole Landis. This was Landis' last film. Also known as The Lucky Mascot, the film is noted for an early appearance by comic actor Terry-Thomas, playing himself.[1]

Brass Monkey
Directed byThornton Freeland
dialogue director
Denny Freeman
Produced byN.A. Bronsten
John R. Sloan
Written byAlec Coppel
additional dialogue
William Freshman
Vernon Sylvaine
Robert Buckland
Based onan original story by Alec Coppel
Thornton Freeland
StarringCarroll Levis
Carole Landis
Herbert Lom
Music byDr. Bernard Grun
CinematographyBasil Emmott
Edited byDavid Hawkins
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
1949 (UK)
Running time
100 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom

Though made in 1948, The Brass Monkey wasn't released in the US until 1951.[2][3]


Popular radio presenter Carroll Levis (playing himself), and Kay Sheldon (Carole Landis) find themselves entangled in a web of smuggling and murder. When a priceless "brass monkey" is stolen from a Japanese temple and smuggled into England, Levis encounters the eccentric Mr. Ryder-Harris (Ernest Thesiger), a Buddhist art connoisseur who's chasing the artefact, and will apparently stop at nothing to get it. The monkey is missing and there’s a suspicion murders are being committed in the hunt for its retrieval. With the help of the Discoveries radio talent, Levis attempts to avoid murderous henchman Herbert Lom, and foil Mr. Ryder-Harris's plans. Amongst all the mayhem, an array of musical and comedy performers audition for and appear on The Levis Hour, the hero's weekly radio program.[1][2][4][5]



Landis arrived in England to make the film in August 1947.[6] Landis says she encouraged English actors to speak slower so US audiences could understand them.[7]


  • "It's the Greatest Business in the world" by Gaby Rogers - staged by Buddy Bradley
  • "Home Sweet Home" by Sid Colin and Steve Race
  • "Somebody Blew My Bluebird's Egg" by Noel Langley and Pat Quin
  • "I Know Myself Too Well" by Ross Parker
  • "Tomorrow's Rainbow" by Colin Campbell

Critical reception

  • Time Out called the film a "ramshackle support feature," and concluded it was "a curio, but not really a collectible."[8]
  • In a contemporary review, The Geraldton Guardian called The Brass Monkey, a "well told story."[5]
  • Sky Movies wrote, "a rough (very rough) and tumble British comedy-thriller spun round the then popular shows featuring Carroll Levis. ... Not much as a film ... But of undoubted interest for its extraordinary cast."[9]


  1. "The Lucky Mascot Review". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  2. "Brass Monkey 1948 | Britmovie | Home of British Films". Britmovie. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  3. "Lucky Mascot | BFI | BFI". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  4. "Brass Monkey (The Lucky Mascot) (1947-England) [VHS]: Terry-Thomas, Ernest Thesiger, Herbert Lom, Carole Landis, Carroll Levis: Movies & TV". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  5. "29 Aug 1950 - Radio Theatre Talkies Current Attractions REVIEW". 29 August 1950. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  6. STUDIO TO REFILM SCENES IN PICTURE: Eagle Lion, in Agreement With Fox Will Retake Sequences in Completed Melodrama By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 20 Aug 1947: 24.
  7. "Sanders In Britain For Filming Of Maugham Book". Truth (3021). New South Wales, Australia. 14 December 1947. p. 55. Retrieved 30 April 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "The Brass Monkey | review, synopsis, book tickets, showtimes, movie release date | Time Out London". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  9. "The Brass Monkey - Sky Movies HD". 7 May 2003. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
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