I am 57 now and was weaned when I was a lad on the various BBC tv series of "Hancock's Half Hour in the 1950's.I became an addict there and then.In later life I carefully recorded the repeats on my vcr (not invented when I was a lad), and purchased cassettes of Tony's earlier radio shows whenever a new volume was available for sale.I have read his biography (1924 - his suicide in Australia in 1968), so he was only 44 when he died.Forget he had a drink problem and could be violent. Yes, he considered he had outgrown his tv series with Sid James (and Kenneth Williams earlier) and even his later solo "Hancock" tv series from 1959 onwards.As a previous literate reviewer has rightly remarked, he hankered after a wider international audience for his comic abilities and appeared in later films like "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines" even trying his hand in Hollywood with Walt Disney but I consider "The Rebel" from 1961 as his funniest film.It incorporates many characters like the existentialist lady on the big screen who have been heard before, e.g. Fenella Fielding in the radio show "The East Cheam Poetry Festival" from 1954.John le Mesurier often played "establishment" figures in his half hour shows and was a personal friend and here he plays Hancock's authoritarian boss in the dreary office where we first see him in an almost synchronised early scene where the clerks all do a similar computation function simultaneously.How we office workers with aspirations of individual creativity empathise with him in his rebellious behaviour!! A new "Mrs Cravatte" in the shape of Irene Handle (not Patricia Hayes who was merely a char lady in the tv series), provides a female comic foil as Tony's landlady.It is interesting he retains his real name in this feature film, presumably he considered he could effectivly develop his bohemian character from the tv onto the broader canvas.I revisited this film after 20 years or so and laughed out loud in several places.The point already made that American/overseas viewers may be perplexed with his humour is easy to understand and our current UK generation may be left cold by it.My generation however which was reared on a diet of post war food rationing, spivs, watching wealthy Americans in the media, the McMillan type establishment figures in politics and industry, trends in fashion, pop music etc; can so empathise with his humour.I gave it 7/10.
Call Me Genius
Call Me Genius
Anthony Hancock gives up his office job to become an abstract artist. He has a lot of enthusiasm, but little talent, and critics scorn his work. Nevertheless, he impresses an emerging very talented artist.
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November 2, 2019