Not Now, Comrade

Not Now, Comrade is a 1976 British comedy film directed by Ray Cooney. It was a follow-up to the similarly named 1973 farce Not Now, Darling. It featured a number of British comedy actors including Leslie Phillips, Windsor Davies, Don Estelle and Ian Lavender.[1] The film was shot at Elstree studios, and was intended as the second in a series of ‘Not Now’ movies, with 'Not Now, Prime Minister' pencilled in as a follow-up, but box office returns for the film, unlike those of its predecessor, were disappointing.[2][3] Cooney also appears as the MI5 agent Mr Laver. The film was the first and only time that Harold Snoad directed a feature film.

Not Now, Comrade
"Not Now, Comrade" (1976).jpg
British quad poster
Directed byRay Cooney
Harold Snoad
Written byRay Cooney
Based on"Chase Me, Comrade" (play) by Ray Cooney
Produced byMartin C. Schute
StarringLeslie Phillips
Roy Kinnear
Windsor Davies
Don Estelle
Michelle Dotrice
Ray Cooney
June Whitfield
Carol Hawkins
Lewis Fiander
Ian Lavender
CinematographyJack Hildyard
Edited byPeter Thornton
Music byHarry Robinson
Not Now Films (Independent)
Distributed byEMI (UK)
Release date
  • 1976 (1976)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


Russian ballet dancer Rudi Petrovyan wants to defect. Unable to reach the British embassy and pursued by the KGB, he hides out with, and falls for, stripper Barbara Wilcox. But Rudi's planned escape in the boot of a Triumph backfires when he climbs into the wrong car, and he ends up in the country home of unsuspecting naval Commander Rimmington (Leslie Phillips).


Critical receptionEdit

Ray Cooney's 1964 play Chase Me, Comrade was based on the 1961 defection of Rudolf Nureyev. First appearing in 1964 at the Theatre Royal, Windsor Cooney himself played Gerry Buss.[4] The play became a Whitehall farce running for 765 performances between 1964 and 1966. It was televised by the BBC's Laughter from the Whitehall in August 1964 [5] and again in December 1967.[6] Cooney published a 1966 novelisation of the play. In 1981 Dutch television transmitted a version of the play called Een Kus van een Rus'.[7]

The British Comedy Guide called the film "a really delightful forgotten gem of British cinema comedy".[8] However, the Radio Times called it a "horrid comedy of errors," adding "for the sake of a hard-working cast, let's draw a discreet Iron Curtain over the whole charade";[9] while Time Out said it was "from the darkest days of British cinema, a farrago which began life as Cooney's Whitehall farce, Chase Me, Comrade."[10]

Coincidentally Dame Stella Rimington became Director General of MI5 from 1992 to 1996.


  • Not Now

Sung by Don Estelle
Lyric by Sammy Cahn
Composed by Walter Ridley


  1. ^ "Not Now, Comrade". BFI. Archived from the original on 28 January 2009.
  2. ^[bare URL]
  3. ^ "Networkonair > Features > Not Now Comrade".
  4. ^[bare URL]
  5. ^[bare URL]
  6. ^[bare URL]
  7. ^[bare URL]
  8. ^ "Not Now, Comrade".
  9. ^ David Parkinson. "Not Now, Comrade". RadioTimes.
  10. ^ "Not Now, Comrade". Time Out London.

External linksEdit