The irreverent Jim Dixon arrives for work at a small, provincial college in a state of confusion. A newly hired junior lecturer in Medieval History, he needs to locate his new boss, Neddy Welch, head of the department, acquaint himself with his co-workers, and settle in to his new living quarters, a rooming house with its own group of eccentrics. Navigating through this assortment of annoying coworkers and off-center neighbors, he encounters the aggressive Margaret Peel, who targets Jim for love.
Between amorous interludes, Margaret reminds Jim that he needs to impress Neddy to save his job, which is in constant danger. Since Jim is both unpublished and untenured, she suggests that Jim warm to Neddy's adoration of "madrigals." It isn't long before Jim finds himself in the midst of a weekend excursion at the Welches' -- full of singing and dramatic readings -- when all he wants to do is head off to the local pub for a pint or two. For enduring the weekend's numerous frustrations, Jim is rewarded with meeting the beautiful Christine Callahan, bookseller girlfriend of Neddy's pompous painter son, Bertrand.
Acerbic but endearing, Jim bumbles his way through his professional and personal life, pursuing stature and romance. He fends off Margaret's overtures, surreptitiously seeks out Christine, and, in the end, aims for a life lived honestly. The ultimate test is the success of his lecture on "Merrie England," anticipated with dread, to be delivered to his assembled academic colleagues and friends.
Kingsley Amis | Cast + Credits | Novel to Film | Russell Baker
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