Behave Yourself

Registered: 17th April 1962
Duration: 29 minutes
Feet: 2610 feet
Board of Trade Certificate number: ​​BR/E27325
Production Company: ​​Harold Baim Film Productions (London) Limited

More Film Stills: ​at baimfilms.com (opens in new window)
Stream Online: at vimeo (password required)

An amusing guide on how to act in public. Based on Emily Post's Book of Manners. It is the dos and don'ts of how to behave presented by Dennis Price and including a cast of well-known character actors. Directed by Michael Winner.

Title and Credits:
You are cordially invited to ... BEHAVE YOURSELF
"A Comedy of Manners in Three Acts"

With: ​Dennis Price, Jack Jackson, Pete Murray,  Glen Mason
Party Guests:​ Harold Berens, John Dunbar, Bernice Swanson, Douglas Muir, Verina Greenlaw, Primrose Austen, Jenny Lejueune, Michael Miller, Rosemary Anderson, Christine Rodgers, Marian Massey, Billy Whittaker, Ken Lewinston, Phillada Sewell
Director of Photography: Eric Owen
Edited by: Mark Kingston
Sound Recordist:​ Peter Birch
Assistant Director:​ Bert Marrotta
Camera Operator: Peter Shillingforth
Assistant Editor: John Gilbert
Music: ​ De Wolfe
Processed by:​ Rank Laboratories, Denham, England
Produced by: Harold Baim
Directed by: Michael Winner


“Mary, Mary. Where’s Mary?” 
“She's outside with her camera. I'm much more concerned about this party of ours. Now, we must ask your father because he was so good to ….”.    


"They say manners maketh man. I wonder, do they make you? I suppose you think you're well mannered, but are you fit to judge? Experts have written a lot of rules about everyday social behaviour, but I bet you don't even know some of them.”    

Take him over there… He should behave himself. His hat should be off and kept off until he leaves the lady, and he should not be smoking. He should throw the cigarette away if he intends to stop and talk. Yes, it is an expensive business. If you're in the habit of meeting so many girls each day. Nevertheless, that's good manners.   And when you raise your hat; raise it by the brim if it's a stiff hat; by the crown, if a soft one.     

“But there's more to it than you think, you know.”    

“Good morning, Mason. Oh, please, Mason, we are not at a football match. Have you been at the party this evening? No, I’m not at all surprised!” 

“I thought you were rather keen on the daughter. In fact, she said only the other day she was trying to get in touch with you. Why don't you phone her? I meant to tell him about those hats. Hadn’t the heart.”    

We all know you can wear your hat walking along the street, but what about in a department store? Should your hat be on or off? Off? Wrong! Because if you're in an elevator or any part of a department store or office building, you don't take your hat off. But in an apartment house, you do. I bet that's caught some of you gentlemen out and no arguments, please.    

How about manners on the telephone? What an annoying instrument that can be! We've all had that simple call that turns out to be far from simple. Like this one. Has this ever happened to you?    

"Is that Western 5-0-5-6?”
“Is that you, Mary?”
“Mary, this is Uncle Glen. I'd like to speak to Joan.”
“Mary. Is Joan there?”
“Are you sure?”
“Mary, will you get Joan for me?”
“Hello? Hello? Mary? Mary?"
“Mary. How many times have I told you not to take the phone off the hook? People may be trying to get me.” 

“At last. Glen, I've been trying to get you. What are you doing this evening?”

“This evening? Well, I..”     

Never ask. What are you doing this evening? If the answer is nothing, the person has to accept your invitation. If he says he's busy, he may miss something good. Say exactly what you're offering. These two got around to it in the end, anyway. 

“So you can get here in an hour? Think you'll make it?”
“Oh, easily. We're not like you girls. See ya.”
“Okay. Bye.”    

He's right, you know. We men can get ready in a flash. But the girls. I really can't understand what keeps them so long.
She takes a bath, and he takes a bath. She puts on Talcum, he puts on Talcum. She starts to make up while he shaves, of course, but with the very latest quickest shaving cream. She puts on lipstick, and he puts on aftershave lotion. But he'll beat her yet. She's only just starting on her hair and he's only starting on his.   And now it's Joan. Yes, it's Joan. Going across the room with a dress in her hand. Glenn, He's past the bedroom door now. His suit's going on to the bed. Joan's putting her stockings on, and all Glenn's got to do is his tie, And he's. He's decided he doesn't like that tie. Joan checking her looks in the mirror, whilst all Glenn has to do is to get that tie on.  At last, yes, he's now… No, he hasn't. He's decided he doesn't like that tie either. It's a close race. The young lady is putting on her jewellery and Glenn, it's just a matter of his tie. He's. He's. He's done it. He's chosen one!    

“I want to dress for the party!”
“Where is that other girl? Joan? Aren't you coming down, Joan?”
“It takes so long to dress, you know.”
“I don't know who she takes after.”
“I'll get it. I'll get it. Glenn. I'm so pleased you could come.”
“You must come and meet my brother, dear. He'll love you.”   

There is a right way and a wrong way to enter a room full of people. You've seen people do this. They come to the door, rush straight into the middle of the room, then stand around not knowing where to go from there. That's the wrong way.    

This is wrong again.    

“…I seen your bother last week. I've just come in, you know. Ha, ha. Alice? Hello, love. See you later. I've got lots to tell you. Ha ha ha. I say, mate, Marian Massey? I say, what are you doing here? You're getting a bit fat, but it suits you.  Well run by..ooh sorry, its the bishop!” Ee, I’m going to have a drink and a bit of a good time tonight!”    

Don't ignore everyone and go straight to one person you know, and stay with them. It is a party. And even if you don't like all the other people, you owe it to your host to mix with them. This is the way to come in: Pause and take everything in. See where your hostess is. Go over to her. You should find someone you know or someone to whom you've been introduced. And there you are.    

Here things aren't happening quite like that because our hostess doesn't seem to know you must not take guests on a tour of the room. It leaves other guests unattended. and this can happen.   

“May I introduce….”
“Darling, I must ask your advice. Now, this. this….”  

If you never embarrass anyone, then you are considered, in our society at any rate, well-mannered. But what about when you can't remember someone's name? We've all been the victim of this:    

“You, erm, you don't remember me, do you?”
“I'm afraid I don't.”
“Well, I'll give you a clue. (hums Can-Can) How about that?”
“Victor Silvester dance?”
No, no, I'll. I'll give you another clue.” (shoots imaginary guns)
"My mother in law?”
“No, no. I'll give you another clue.” (plays imaginary guitar and sings)
“People 'ave got no manners at all these days”. 
“Yeah, of course, you come from that Welsh place….goch, goch, goch”     

When you think someone has forgotten you, don't leave them guessing. Help them out by reminding them where you met. Say something like..    

“We met at the Jones's last Christmas”
“The Joneses?”
“Yes, you remember old Jones?”
“Oh, the little man with the limp. With the little short, fat, wife and the two very tall daughters.”
“That's it”
“Never heard of him.”
“I'm Pete Murray.”
“Are you taking anything for it?”
“Terrible sort of weather we're having.”

“Extraordinary people about today. Hello, Mason. Ah, you made it. Look, Mason, a limp handshake like that is no way to shake hands. The handshake shows a man's personality, his character. I'll show you what I mean.”
“Wonderful party. See you later.”
“Yes, we'll see what I mean. He's a side to side shaker. Now, that one over there, he's a pumper.” 
“Why, Price! Fancy seeing you. I haven't seen you for years. You remember my daughter, don't you?
"Mr. Price?”
"Yes. Well, we'll see you. You always did over him. He's not the type for you.”
“See what I mean? Now, when you shake hands, you shake firmly, briefly looking people straight in the eye. Let's practice. Well, I think you'll improve.” 

This type of guest is always around, You know, the mystic, the palm reader who always makes any party go.    

“Now my dear,what's your Zodiac sign?” 
“Ask a silly question, you’ll get a silly answer.”    

Introductions have rules all of their own. Is this the right way or the wrong way to introduce these two people?    

“Oh, Mr. Harold Berens, may I introduce Miss Verina Greenlaw?”    

Polite?  Maybe, but quite wrong. You must always introduce the man to the woman, no matter how young the woman is or how important the man. Like this..    

“Mrs. Appleby, may I present Mr. Mason?”    

That's better. How about this?    

“Glen, this is Mr. Dunbar.”    

It was wrong. The younger man should always be introduced to the older man. Let's try a game.    

“Mrs. Massey, this is Bishop Leacock.”
“How do you do?”    

Yes. She presented the man to the woman that time. But this is the exception to the rule. You must always present the woman to royalty or a dignitary of the church. So now you know!    

What's wrong with this group? The man sitting down. You just cannot sit down when anyone, yes anyone, is standing nearby. But even this display of bad manners is better than the one we've all seen at one time or another. If the hostess has been so unthinking as not to put out enough ashtrays, then you still have no right to do this sort of thing.    

“I couldn't agree more, but the weather is very good for this time of year. Ah!”
“I'm dreadfully sorry old boy.”
“Why don't you people use the ashtrays?”   

There's a lesson here for both the host and the guest. A lesson which will be well learned. Or should I say, well, burned. 

Don't strike a match away from you. If you do, the head may come off and burn someone. Always strike it towards you. You may well burn yourself instead of the other person. And that wouldn't matter at all, would it?

And when the long awaited announcement comes, you should take the arm of the lady you’re with and escort her to the table. All very elegant. Just watch...

“Quiet, everybody. Dinner is served.”
“About time. I'm starving”    

When seated at table. It is essential to talk to the persons on either side of you.    

“Mr. Glen Mason. Well, I've enjoyed watching you on television.”
“Well, how very nice of you to say so, Mrs… er, Madam Tiffany Tya..Pya... Hello.”    

It can happen you want to talk, but they just don't seem to be ready to talk to you. 

Let's have a look at some of the other guests. You may not think that cutlery is spotlessly clean, but what an insult it is to wipe it on your table napkin. It's unthinkable! And that roll should not be sliced buttered and then bitten into. That is not the right way to eat bread at all. Unless, of course, you happen to be alone. Then I suppose you can do what you darn well like. This is the correct way. Break the bread into small pieces. Butter each piece of bread separately before eating it. Then you will be considered well-bred.

Gentlemen, do you make sure your table napkin is secure? You should, you know, or you may end up finding it just isn't there. And that can be the start of a journey to the most unusual places. He may prefer to be down there, but I needn't tell you it isn't the recommended place for a dinner party.   

“Did you enjoy the midget cabaret down there?”  

Unless you like taking exercise under the table. This is the suggested way to keep that napkin where it should be. Quite permissible, very correct, rather clever, and saves a lot of trouble. 

When it comes to what to talk about. Well, there are certain things which are just not allowed. But invariably there's always someone who…    

“… and then they cut me open. You ought have seen the scar they left me with. Oh, I say, do. Excuse me. I know this isn't really the place to talk about these things. 18 stitches. I was on liquids for three weeks. Horrible!”     

What do you do if you take a boiling spoonful of soup? To be correct, you must swallow. The famous Englishman, Dr. Johnson, once found himself in this difficulty. He got around it this way…    

“A fool would have swallowed that!”
“Yeah, well, why didn't you?”    

If you need to blow your nose at table, there are do's and don'ts about that.    

“You'll have to excuse me. I have a slight cold. Sorry about that. It's the flu germ that's running around. Can't help catching a germ.”   

You shouldn't draw attention to yourself. Blow and get it over with as quickly as possible.    

When you eat, you should not put one arm on the table encircling the plate as if you're protecting it from somebody. Nor should you put your elbow on the table and rest your head in your hand. It may be comfortable, but how ill-mannered can you get?    

Here's a pretty girl. Pretty silly. In tilting her soup plate towards herself, she shows a lack of etiquette and good sense. If you do it the right way, that is tilting the plate away from you, in case of accident it is bad for the tablecloth, but a nice escape for you.     

You can divide spaghetti eaters into two categories. One group are the cutters, the others are the winders and suckers. Though winding and sucking doesn't look right. It is absolutely correct. The cutters, however, are sometimes quite fanatical about it and will defend their way to the very end.     

Though a host should be generous, he should never assume that any guest can eat enough for three people.     

“An extra portion? Give it to him.”
“Very good, sir”
 “Oh no, that's too much. Really, I can't eat all this.”
“You'll love it. Do you good.” 
“It's too much for me.” 
"Never! Make your hair curl!”    

You should strike a middle course, so to speak, with the size of the portions. It's just as bad to be too mean.     

“I must say, I have quite an appetite. I'm really looking forward to a really good st…” 
“Well, this man next to me had just had his appendix out. It came through the ward see, in a jar.”
“Ere, prissy. You remember when you had your appendix out? How yellow you went?” 

I must say, I do find the gentleman on my left a trifle wearying. I shall think of pickles. Did you know pickles are not meant to have meat smeared on them? Take one on your fork and a piece of meat. And that's the way it should be done.     

“Of course, we were all very sick after that. You all right? There was a man in the next bed to me who choked over a chicken bone, you know?”

Hot soup is one thing. A hot potato is another. Into his mouth it goes. And what does he do, call the fire brigade? No, he can't spit it back onto the plate. And no, he can't quietly drop it under the table. What on earth can he do? A sip of cold water as the answer. Gently does it. Then he can swallow it. Now. You see, if you do anything else with hot potatoes, it looks absolutely revolting. An easy way out, maybe, but not the most attractive sight.

“You know, I'm sure we've met somewhere before. Was it the dog show?”
“No, no, no, no. My parents stopped entering me when I was five.” 
“Oh, well, some of the older ones win sometimes.”    

Red wine should be drunk with steaks and chops. White wine with fish and poultry. There can be difficulties here, too. There's always someone who doesn't finish his white wine in time and is left with both red and white wine for the main course. It's enough to make him turn blue.  And you know the guest who eats as if it's going to be his last meal. Or, as if there's a time limit. He thinks he's in one of those competitions where you get a prize for eating the most in the shortest time. I knew 1 or 2 people exactly like that, and they were not invited again.    

“Finished, eh?. Good. You want some more? Of course.”
“Oh, no, really? It was lovely.”
“Pass your plate, I can tell when a man's hungry.. Oh, never mind. Give him some more.” 

Is it right to sop gravy up like this? In fact, is it right to sop gravy up at all? You know, you can sop gravy up if you like, but not like this. Do it this way. Use small pieces of bread broken up. Put them on your plate, then sop the gravy up into them with your fork and eat it like that. 

When the meal is over, it is not polite to push your plate away from you and say something such as..    

“Ee, that’s that!”

Place your knife and fork down, facing away from you in the centre of your empty plate. Then, sit back without causing a disturbance.    

“Well, that was very nice chicken, wasn't it?”
“Ere, don't remind me of the animal from which our meat came. I can't bear to think of suffering.”    

Monkeys peel and eat bananas like this. Human beings are not supposed to copy their ancestors. We have presumably progressed. The way to eat a banana is to put it on your plate, peel it, cut it up and eat it with a knife and fork.   And the way to eat apples? Do you pick them up and take a bite? You don't, you know. That's better. You should peel an apple and eat the cut-up portions with your fingers. 

But, madam, you do not eat a pear like that. Any really juicy fruit should be peeled and eaten with a knife and fork.     

“Ah, you’ve finished. Good. Have some more.”
“Oh, no, no, I can't. I won't. Excuse me.”    

You need not look, but If you were at the table, it would be very difficult to avoid. 

The way to extract pips from your mouth is to cover up with your hand, making sure that no one at table can see anything being taken out.     

What happens when a silver bowl is placed before you filled with cold water and with a slice of lemon floating in it?     

“Very nice wine. A little weak, I thought.”    

You should dip your fingers in the bowl and wipe your hands on your napkin. This is to clean your fingers if they're sticky from eating fruit or anything else in the meal. It also saves the table linen in case you thought of wiping your hands quietly on the cloth. There's no other reason for the finger bowl except that. I did say wipe your fingers on your napkin after dipping them in the bowl. There's no need to overdo it.     

“Right. Who's the next patient?”

“Don't you think everyone here is wonderful?”
“Most select”    

In some countries it is a sign of appreciation. In others, it is not exactly courteous to turn after a meal and say……” (belch)    

“Now, now, sit up, Mason. You shouldn’t slouch in your chair, you know. Very bad form. Of course Ladies should be very careful how they sit, you know. Very ill bred to sit like that.”     

“Were you ever in Bolivia?”
”Never touch the stuff." 
“Yes, but I'm getting better.”    

Always leave an informal dinner party not later than a quarter to 11.    

“Ah, no 1045. I never stay later. Thank you."
“With a fork when they're sticky. You only eat cakes with your fingers when they're not too creamy.”

“You know, the trouble with youngsters today is they have too much money. It affects our entire economy. Don't you think so, Mr. Price?”
“A brilliant summary.”    

Though the correct time to leave a dinner party is a quarter to eleven, the circumstances do have some bearing on when you do go. You don't have to take it too literally.     

“Bye bye. Mr Price!”
“Goodbye. Well, I hope your fantastic performance hasn't stopped us being asked to Jones tomorrow. It'll be a great deal brighter than this. Younger people, you know.”
“You mean there's another party here tomorrow night? How will they ever get ready in time?”
“They move pretty quickly.”    

“I think we did that pretty well.”
“Looks nice, but I think there are too many masks on the mantelpiece.”
“I'll move them. There’s life in your old mother yet…….. The guests are coming. It's going to be a gay party tonight.”    

“Tell me, were you ever in Salford?” 
“1937?” "
Yeah, that's it.”
“The house, a little earlier than that, with the little green door?”
“With the geranium in the pots?”
“And the trips to Bournemouth?”
“And the water wings that burst?”
“I knew it."
“That's it.”

“She's lovely, isn't she?”
“Yes. I'm going to ask her to dance.”
“What you have to do is to go over, bow slightly and say, may I have the privilege of this dance?”
“This one's taken. May I have the pleasure of this dance?”
“Come on, honey. Let's make the scene”
“I’m floating man, floating”. 
“Come on, love. Let's have this dance.”
“Well, let's make the scene”
“I'm floating away”
“Behave yourself”
[End Credit]

All music should be cleared with 

De Wolfe Music 
Queen’s House 
180-182 Tottenham Court Road