No Kidding, or Beware of Children as it’s also known, is a 1960 British comedy adapted from the book Beware of Children by Verily Anderson. The film is directed by Gerald Thomas, who is best known for directing the “Carry On” series of British comedies.
The plot centers around the Robinson family, who after failing at running a chicken farm and night club get the bright idea that there might be “a fortune” in running a summer holiday home for rich kids in a rundown estate in the country David Robinson (Leslie Phillips) inherits from his aunt. The home (or summer camp as it would be called in the U.S.) attracts a mixed bag of kids, some spoiled and bossy, some wild and rebellious, others polite and helpful and a motley crew of a staff that includes a lush for a cook (Joan Hickson), a caretaker who is also fond of the bottle, a clumsy maintenance man and a bossy house mom.
While the Robinsons try to figure out how to actually run their holiday home – Catherine Robinson seems content in letting the children run wild while David demands structure and order – a local town official noses around in hopes of shutting Chartham Place down and using the property for underprivileged children.
Chaos ensues as the children run wild, chopping down trees on the property because they feel like it, digging a tunnel under the lake that almost drowns a small boy, scaring people with illusions and ghost costumes and stealing the car in the middle of the night to go to a local cafe. As things teeter out of control, Chartham Place is destined to be shut down until the children hatch a plan to help save the place (sound familiar?) before joining forces to get back at their absentee parents at summer’s end.