Over the years death has struck all but two of the members and the lump sum has now swelled to one hundred and eleven thousand, to be paid to the sole survivor. The remaining two survivors are Ralph Richardson and John Mills' elderly…. The cast is absolutely amazing. The elderly brothers are John Mills and Ralph Richardson. Mills' pathetic, naive, grandson is Michael Caine in a rare posh English role ; while Richardson's nephews are the diabolical and grasping Peter Cook and sex-obsessed Dudley Moore.
Throw in Peter Sellers as a disgraced venal Northern doctor, Wilfrid Lawson's butler and Tony Hancock as a confused, exasperated Detective, and you have one of the great English comedic casts. Two now very elderly brothers - Mills and Richardson - are vying to be the last one alive to claim the pot and their families are doing their damndest to make sure the other brother is the first one to pop his clogs.
The Wrong Box has a rather unique comedic setup. Starting 63 years in the past, it introduces the formation of a tontine. Parents and guardians of 20 young boys have signed them up for this tontine, each putting 1, pounds into the tontine. In the end, it functions as a lottery with the winner determined by fate as whomever lives the longest gets the money in the tontine.
Until then, the money will increase whenever someone dies and continue to accrue. Now, in the present, the pot is sitting at , pounds. On the train trip to London, Joseph escapes from his minders, entering a compartment and boring the sole occupant with a litany of trivial facts something he does with everyone he encounters.
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His traveling companion later turns out to be the "Bournemouth Strangler. The train then collides with another one coming in the other direction. In the wreckage, Morris and John find the strangler's mangled body and mistakenly believe it is that of their uncle.
The Wrong Box () - IMDb
Morris decides to try to hide the body long enough for Masterman to pass away, then claim Joseph died of a heart attack upon hearing the news. Morris and John plot to ship the body to their London home. John, left behind to attend to this task, sends the body in a barrel. However, it is delivered to Masterman's house by mistake.
The "wrong" box of the title is concurrently shipped to Masterman's house; it is a crate containing a statue that has the house number partially obscured. Joseph makes his way to London on his own and visits his brother; Masterman attempts to kill his brother a number of times, with Joseph oblivious to the attempts; they separate after quarreling.
The containers are mistakenly delivered to the wrong houses. Morris, arriving at Joseph's house in John's absence, sees a delivery wagon just leaving and assumes that his uncle's body has just been delivered. Things become complicated when Michael discovers the contents of the barrel and, after learning of the "altercation" between Masterman and Joseph from family butler Peacock Wilfrid Lawson , assumes that his grandfather has killed his brother.
Michael hides the body in a piano when Julia brings Masterman some broth.
That night Michael hires unscrupulous "undertakers" to remove the strangler's body from the piano and dump it into the Thames, but Masterman falls down the staircase and they assume his is the body. Joseph is still active. He is the guardian of his nephews Morris and John, and of the daughter of a friend, Julia Hazeltine.
Unfortunately, Joseph took the combined fortunes of Morris, John and Julia and invested it in the leather business. The business floundered, and although he made the house over to his wards, he is still in deficit to them. Morris vows to regain his money through the tontine.
Indeed, his chances are good since of all of the participants, only the Finsbury brothers are left alive.
Morris approaches Michael, hoping to make a deal to share the tontine payment, regardless of which brother dies first. Morris hurries John and Joseph from where they have been staying in Bournemouth back to London, sending Julia ahead. On the train, Morris and Joseph argue about a cheque, which Joseph has taken for himself. Significantly, they do not notice an elderly man board the train dressed identically to Joseph. The train then crashes with many fatalities.
They pack it inside a barrel and send it to their home in London.
Morris will travel immediately to collect it and try to find a way to keep the tontine. Meanwhile, John will stay behind and pretend that Joseph is staying with him. Meanwhile, Joseph, who had long wished to escape the company of his nephews, awakes from the train crash unharmed. He manages to gain first class passage to London.