“Anyway, I saw her first.”
Dentist in the Chair is an unremarkable vintage British comedy, and if you have any sort of dental phobia, this film is likely to make it worse. The action is set in King Alfred Hospital’s School of Dentistry, and concerns three dental students, David Cookson (Bob Monkhouse), Brian Dexter (Ronnie Stevens) and the Dean’s niece Peggy Travers (Peggy Cummins). The film’s other main character is incompetent, but lovable crook Sam Field (Kenneth Connor from Carry On fame) who robs a dentist’s office by mistake. When Sam, who thought he was robbing a jewelry shop, realizes that he’s stuck with a load of dental instruments, he decides to go to the dental college and sell the hot equipment at rock bottom prices.
Although Dentist in the Chair is a comedy film, it never really rises beyond being mildly amusing. There’s one overly long scene that involves balloons and laughing gas, and quite a bit of the film is devoted to the comedy aspect of watching members of the unsuspecting public volunteer for dental work courtesy of the dental students. If you have a dental phobia, these scenes will make you cringe (“I’ve just pulled out a totally innocent tooth“). One of the biggest problems with the film seems to be with the script. Three of the four lead roles, those of the dental students, just aren’t funny. So we are left with Kenneth Connor carrying the film’s comedy. Bob Monkhouse, who had a later, long successful television career as a game-show host, just doesn’t seem comfortable in this role. He’s cast as a dental student who’s basically straight-laced and conventional, but then there are wolfish moments with the shapely Peggy Cummins. Directed by Don Chaffey, and based on the novel by Matthew Finch, this foray into the world of dental comedy is not successful, unlike the Doctor films that generated sequels for years.