The pill was to blame for everything

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German title The pill was to blame for everything
Original title Prudence and the Pill
Country of production Great Britain
original language English
Publishing year 1968
length 92 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Fielder Cook later Ronald Neame
script Hugh Mills
production Kenneth Harper ,
Ronald Kahn
music Bernard Ebbinghouse
camera Ted Moore
cut Norman Savage

The pill was to blame for everything (Prudence and the Pill) is the title of a British comedy film from the year 1968 .


Gerald Hardcastle, president of one of London's largest banks, has been married to Prudence for twelve years. They have a big house with a park, a maid - Rose - and a chauffeur - Ted. They have a modern marriage with separate interests, separate rooms, and nothing has worked for them for a long time.

Gerald also has a brother, Henry. He and his wife Grace are still very old-fashioned, they love each other and have a daughter, Geraldine. One evening they catch their daughter in bed with a man. Papa takes the young man to his chest; Tony comes from a good family, and an orphan and aunt Roberta is his guardian. Mama also cross-examines her daughter, mainly because of a possible pregnancy . Geraldine takes Thenol , the pill . Grace wants to know where she got it from. Well, stop from Mommy's bedside drawer, and so that she doesn't notice anything, she has repeatedly replaced the removed ones with aspirin tablets. Immediately mama alternates between hot and cold, and her husband is immediately introduced to the expansion of the family.

Henry tells the story of the pill swap to his brother. Gerald has already read the name "Thenol" somewhere, but where? Correct! He finds the pills with his wife. And immediately he suspects: she has a lover! But who is it? He really needs to discuss this with someone, Elizabeth, his secret lover. She suggests that he imitate his niece Geraldine. That's what he does and swaps Prudence's pills for aspirin.

Ted and Rose also have a secret affair. Without her knowledge, he got the pill, put it in a vitamin pill bottle and strongly recommended it for daily intake. Rose doesn't want vitamins, she wants the pill. As a result, she exchanges the vitamins for the supposed pills from her mistress' bedside table.

Spring is here and Rose is pregnant. She howls and moans, and the pill swap thing comes out. Only when the Hardcastles want to help her and Ted shape a future together does she calm down again.

One day Tony and Geraldine run into Gerald and Elizabeth at a horse race. Gerald is extremely embarrassed, but his niece thinks it's cool. She promises to keep quiet. Elizabeth is now enough with Gerald's secret fuss, she separates from him. A farewell letter and that's it. Gerald puts her letter in his suit jacket.

But there are also arguments at home. The two Hardcastle brothers actually wanted to go to Cornwall with their wives including Geraldine, Tony and his aunt to get to know each other better. But Prudence pretends to be sick so that he cannot ride. But her husband doesn't trust her.

By chance he discovers the real reason. She wants to travel with her lover, a Dr. Hewitt, who always prescribes her the pill. Gerald confronts Prudence, but she has counter-arguments: Elizabeth's letter was found when the suit was due for cleaning. They throw their mutual contempt at each other and talk of divorce, but he refuses to give her his consent. Prudence moves out anyway, and Gerald goes to Cornwall with the others without her.

When Gerald returns to London, Prudence asks him to meet. She now lives with her lover and wants to marry him. She wants a divorce again. Gerald is not in such a hurry, but Prudence is, because she is pregnant. Unexpectedly, Gerald sees Elizabeth again on the street. She is pregnant too, from him. Now he can and wants to marry her immediately. When Dr. Hewitt hesitantly tries again because of the divorce, he runs into open doors. And since Geraldine has also long been pregnant, they, Grace, Elizabeth, Prudence and Rose give birth to their children, Rose being particularly successful with her twins.


  • The critics found that too much was packed into the film, too many actors and too many subplots. The film suffered from that.
  • "Prudence and the Pill, the first comedy film to deal with the new birth control pill, gained notoriety in 1968. How did such celebrities as Niven, Kerr, Robert Coote and Dame Edith Evans get into this glossy nonsense? Not only was Prudence and the Pill pointless, it also became anachronistic within a year of its release. " ( Hal Erickson , All Movie Guide)
  • "At least David Niven cuts a fine figure in the comedy, which - after differences with the producer - was directed from J. Fielder Cook to Ronald Neame." (Lexicon of International Films)
  • "In these circumstances, it's understandable that the actors all look a bit rushed. Indeed, the only survivor of this disaster is director Fielder Cook, who managed to escape before the film was over - which was him provides an unjustified plus point for the audience. " (Time)
  • Roger Ebert said on September 10, 1968 that the film was a lousy idea from the start, and the best that can be said about it is that it was made incompetent.


  • Hugh Mills: Prudentia and the Pill. Bertelsmann, Gütersloh 1968

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Hal Erickson : Prudence and the Pill (1968). In: AllMovie. Retrieved June 18, 2017 (English).
  2. The pill was to blame for everything. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed June 18, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  3. ^ Roger Ebert : Prudence and the Pill. In: Retrieved June 18, 2017 (English).