‘Rediscover the magic of ‘The Ukelele Man’ himself- George Formby- with seven of his very finest films!

George Formby was Britain’s biggest box-office star when he moved to Columbia Studios to make these seven fabulous comedy musicals- full of hit songs and packed with daft and inspired comedy in the true Formby style!

Finally released from the film vaults and digitally remastered for optimum sound and picture quality, these seven films are now available to own for the very first time in one very special DVD boxset!’


‘Eeeeeeeeh, it’s turned out nice again, ha’nt it…?’

My teenage son and I went out specifically to look for George Formby films after hearing him singing his wonderful comic song ‘I’m leaning on a lamp-post on the corner of the street in case a certain little lady passes by’ on a gorgeous CD called WARTIME MEMORIES, which I’ve been listening to since Christmas.

And why was I listening to a CD called WARTIME MEMORIES, you might ask me? Well, I watched CASABLANCA on Christmas Eve on Irish television, all by myself in the deepening gloom, and ever since then I’ve craved as much ‘Forties music as I can get my hands on. Anything ‘Forties, really. Music, films, memorabilia and whatever else is out there.

We found this seven-film boxset in one of our favourite places to buy movies and music, and set about watching ’em with the diligence and enthusiasm of a mouse who finds himself unexpectedly alone with a wheel of Brie.

It’s as good an introduction to the films of this special little funny man as ever you’re likely to find, so if you’re thinking of getting to know the movies of George Formby yourself, you could do a lot worse. Eeeeeeeeeh…!

George Formby (1904-1961) is the undisputed star of all seven films. With his gormless, pleasantly toothsome face and the trademark wide grin, he sings and jokes his way through the scripts in much the same way each time.

He’s never a rich posh toff, he’s always a working-class stiff (usually called George!) trying to make ends meet, but it doesn’t bother our George at all that he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Whatever the weather, George is always in a good mood and as nice as a cake made of pie (Ned Flanders, THE SIMPSONS) to everyone he meets.

If he gets bullied by bigger, tougher men, he might get knocked about but he’ll always get back up. He’s got an unerring sense of justice and fair play, he loves his country dearly and would punch any traitor on the nose for daring to say a bad word against his beloved England.

As these particular films were mostly made during the Second World War, you’ll find George preparing to fight the Nazis in a few of them. There are jokes against Hitler, Goering and Goebbels in them specifically and the patriotism in them would do your heart good. Eeeeh, they would at that…!

There’s a certain kind of England conjured up in each film that’s mostly gone now, an England of cheeky little scamps shouting the news of the day on street corners as they sell their papers, sailors home on shore-leave with the words ‘loose lips sink ships’ ringing in their ears and war savings bonds on sale everywhere you look to aid the war effort.

Bobbies still had chin-straps and said ‘Now you just come alonger me’ to suspicious characters or rum-looking coves, going to the pictures cost next to nothing (you need to take out a bank loan these days for a night out at the flicks!) and it was common practice to hide behind the sofa when the landlord came calling for the rent.

And don’t forget the blackout curtains and the little evacuees and the air-raid sirens and the nights in the bunkers while Hitler’s Luftwaffe droned relentlessly overhead. Women drew stocking seams down the backs of their legs because real nylons were rare. Oh, happy days…!

There aren’t many folks alive today who remember this tumultuous era first-hand but we know that, as straitened as circumstances often were back then, people always had their lovely memories of the time. Maybe some of your Great-Grannies and Great-Grandads even went to see George Formby at the pictures and have good memories of so doing. Eeeeeeh, i’n’t life grand…!

George sings three, four or even five songs in each of the films, often accompanying himself on his beloved ukelele, and here’s something else about the films. You wouldn’t take George for a ladies’ man, would you, but in every single movie he gets the girl of his dreams with only a modicum of effort, and you know what little belters those ‘Forties dames were.

Of course, he was the star and the star always gets the girl. Or does it just go to show you that nice guys don’t, in fact, necessarily always finish last? George hasn’t a bad bone in his body, he’s a tad goofy-looking and if a woman came onto him he’d be just as likely to run off shrieking ‘Mother!,’ but the nice girlies all love our Georgie. ‘Well, I’ll go to our ‘ouse…!’

Let’s have a quick run-down of the seven films on the boxset before we finish. In SOUTH AMERICAN GEORGE (1941), George’s coincidental resemblance to an opera singer (without being able to sing a note of opera!) leads him into a situation where he can help a lovely lady out if he’ll just play the part of the absentee opera singer for a bit. That’s if he doesn’t get his head blown off by some rum coves first…!

MUCH TOO SHY (1942) is an hilarious romp and mine and my son’s favourite film in the boxset. George, a handyman and artist who designs the film posters for the local cinema, takes an art class to teach him to give the womens’ heads he draws fabulous bodies to go with their free-floating craniums. But when some scandalous nudie pictures of local ladies mysteriously turn up in the papers, bodies an’ all, guess who gets the blame…!

This one features comedian Jimmy Clitheroe as George’s wise-beyond-his-years little brother. ‘Show me a woman and I’ll show you trouble…!’ Fans of the CARRY-ON movies will be thrilled to see a ridiculously young-looking Charles Hawtrey in this one as a ‘brother brush’ of George’s, and our favourite comic song, ‘I’m Delivering The Morning Milk’ is in it too.

GET CRACKING (1943) is a full-on, all-out World War Two film that sees the hapless George joining the LDF or LOCAL DEFENCE VOLUNTEERS. While he cares for a little girl evacuee and builds his own honest-to-God tank in his spare time out of odds-and-ends, he has great fun also trying to get one over on a rival LDF platoon. The enemy is Hitler, George! Wouldn’t it be better if you rival LDF chaps joined forces? It’s just a thought…

BELL-BOTTOM GEORGE (1944) is another war film that sees George joining the Navy in a case of mistaken identity, while dating a pretty WREN and accidentally cracking a spy ring that the British government has been trying to track down themselves.

George has always wanted to be in the Navy though. Maybe his efforts in uncovering the spy ring and entertaining the troops with his little ukelele might be enough to gain him admission? We’ll see what the man whose uniform he’s wearing has got to say about that…! Charles Hawtrey is here too, plus the world’s oddest-sounding crickets.

HE SNOOPS TO CONQUER (1945) sees George working as a lowly tea-boy for the corrupt Tangleton local council. When he’s tasked with surveying the entire population of Tangleton as to their working and living conditions, George does a thorough job of it.

So thorough, in fact, that he accidentally unmasks the local councillors for the lying, pocket-lining rats they are and exposes the terrible disparity between rich and poor in post-war Tangleton. Eeeeeh, some of the films have a nice bit of social commentary in ’em an’ all, you know, lol.

George also gets entangled (in Tangleton) with a wacky toff inventor and his attractive daughter in this one, and the excellent comic song ‘If You Want To Get Your Picture In The Press, You Must Be Different, Some Kind Of Way’ is here too.

I DIDN’T DO IT (1945) sees George set off to the Big Smoke to pursue a career on the stage with his recitations and comic songs, only to find himself accused of the murder of a rich man in the same boarding-house.

The way George innocently lands himself in trouble with the police with his unfailing honesty is so funny here, and the back-story of the murder is really exciting, reminding me of old German silent movie star Emil Jannings in VARIETÉ.

GEORGE ON CIVVY STREET (1946) sees a hopeful George being debriefed and finally sent home from the war. He’s looking forward to running the old family pub again, in its charming rural location, and hooking up once more with the girl he more than likes.

But she owns a rival pub, you see, and now it’s run by scurrilous individuals who want to see George out of business. Will they succeed in their fiendish plan? This one includes a naughty, wholly unforeseen strip-a-gram that had myself and my son in stitches.

Most of the songs contain the sauciest of sexual innuendo that saw George in trouble with the BBC back in the day. I understand that crotchety old Auntie Beeb wasn’t at all impressed with ‘Me Little Stick Of Blackpool Rock,’ which unfortunately doesn’t feature on the boxset.

There’s still more innuendo here than you can shake a stick at, though, so enjoy a sly little giggle at these genius songs. George is probably looking down in approval, grinning his big toothy grin as he lovingly fingers his ukelele. Eeeeeeh, careful now, you cheeky fast cat…!

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

You can contact Sandra at:








As I’m writing this, poor dear Gene Wilder hasn’t even been dead a month. His sad demise at the end of August this year (2016) of Alzheimers-related complications left an empty space in the entertainment industry that can never be filled.

I always liked him in whatever I saw him in. I loved his wispy, flyaway hair, his grin that could be by turns gentle and devastatingly cutting and his huge expressive eyes.

His films WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971) and BLAZING SADDLES (1974) were two of the most important films of my childhood. I’ve loved them both from the first moment I saw them and I re-watch ’em every Christmas, come hell or high water.

Though I didn’t find comedy horror spoof YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN to be as laugh-out-loud funny as BLAZING SADDLES, I still thought it was brilliant. Gene Wilder does a top-notch job as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced ‘Fronk-en-steen…!’), the scientist who discovers he can’t escape his destiny as the grandson of the man who notoriously created a monster by reanimating the body parts of corpses.

After travelling to Transylvania (wasn’t that the home of Count Dracula as well…?) to take possession of the fabulous old castle in which his infamous relative made his ‘monster,’ Frederick feels an overwhelming urge to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.

The discovery of the auld fella’s private laboratory and, in particular, the book his Grandpops had penned entitled ‘HOW I DID IT,’ in other words how he created his monster, spurs Frederick on to emulate his relative’s achievements.

A monster is created, with the help of Frankenstein’s sex-kitten assistant Inga (Teri Garr from TOOTSIE and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS) and his servant Igor, a bug-eyed hunchback whose hump keeps switching from one side of his body to the other. Marty Feldman is brilliant as Igor. He, Gene Wilder and Teri Garr make a terrifically funny threesome together.

The rest of the film goes in roughly the same direction as the UNIVERSAL movies of the 1930s which they’re lovingly taking the mickey out of here. Frankenstein’s ungainly monster meets the little girl and the lonely old blind man, the townspeople get wind of the sinister doin’s that are a-transpirin’ up at the castle and an angry mob, complete with torches and pitchforks, etc., is formed to do the honours and march on the castle.

The scene where Gene Wilder and his monster, all tricked-out in top hats and tails, sing ‘Puttin’ On The Ritz’ for a bemused audience is probably the funniest one in the film. I also love the bit where Gene Wilder asks a young lad at the Transylvania train station for directions to the castle. He does it to the tune of the old ‘Forties song ‘Pardon me, boys, is that the Chattanooga choo-choo?’ and it’s just so funny.

Check out Madeline Kahn (Lili von Schtupp, the Germanic blonde bombshell/sex-pot in BLAZING SADDLES) as she’s objecting vociferously to being ravished by the monster, that is, until she discovers that his schlong is in perfect proportion to the rest of him, heh-heh-heh.

As the movie progresses  Madeline Kahn, playing Gene Wilder’s socialite fiancée Elizabeth, takes on the appearance of the stunningly vampish Elsa Lanchester, the Bride of Frankenstein from those wonderful old UNIVERSAL films, which is heartwarming to see. Ms. Kahn’s a great- and very attractive- comic actress and I enjoyed watching her in this.

Grandma Ida from ‘Noughties sitcom MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE, aka Cloris Leachman, has a small part in the film as the castle’s housekeeper and the former lover of Baron Victor Von Frankenstein. I used to love the way Grandma Ida, who was always such a bitch to her daughter Lois, perpetually rambled on about the tough old ways of her old Eastern European homeland. She herself was a tough old bird and no mistake.

Gene Wilder, of course, is the star of the show and he shines as brightly as you might expect. A Gene Wilder-Mel Brooks collaboration (just like BLAZING SADDLES was) was always going to be funny, and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN certainly is funny.

It’s always making it onto those list shows of BEST COMEDY FILMS EVER and, in 2003, it was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress National Film Registry, meaning that it’s been deemed by the United States National Film Preservation Board to be ‘culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.’ Well, I should bloody well think so an’ all…!

No-one can say that Gene Wilder didn’t leave an irreproachable body of work behind him. Rest in peace, dear Gene, and also rest assured that your marvellous films will always be watched as long as people need to laugh.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

You can contact Sandra at: