STIR CRAZY (1980) AND SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL (1989). A DOUBLE REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

STIR CRAZY (1980) AND SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL (1989). A DOUBLE REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
STIR CRAZY. (1980) DIRECTED BY SIDNEY POITIER. STARRING GENE WILDER, RICHARD PRYOR, GEORG STANFORD BROWN, CRAIG T. NELSON AND BARRY CORBIN.
SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL. (1989) DIRECTED BY ARTHUR HILLER. STARRING GENE WILDER, RICHARD PRYOR, JOAN SEVERANCE, KEVIN SPACEY AND ANTHONY ZERBE.

I love both of these American comedies and frequently watch them together at Christmas. I don’t mind admitting, though, that both films start out really strong, with terrific comedy performances from the two leads, and then they kind of lose their way and become a wee bit confusing and tiresome. The performances of the two leads, however, are most likely what you’ll remember about the films so it’s all good.

STIR CRAZY sees Wilder and Pryor take on the roles of two best friends, a down on their luck scriptwriter and aspiring actor, who get sentenced to 125 years in prison after being mistaken for two violent bank robbers dressed as chickens. (It’ll make sense when you watch the film, lol.) The prison is the kind of one with chain gangs doing hard labour in the blazing sun and guards whose truncheons seem to be permanently set to whuppin’…

While inmates of this particularly tough prison, they make friends with other convicts and impress the warden greatly with Gene Wilder’s prowess on the mechanical bull. When said warden arranges for Wilder’s character to take part in the annual prison rodeo, a small select group of prisoners, Wilder and Pryor included, arrange to use the rodeo as a chance to break out…

Despite being a convicted criminal, Gene Wilder still manages to have a romance with JoBeth Williams, the mom from POLTERGEIST, who’s playing his lawyer’s assistant. The two lads together also make firm friends with Grossberger, the most feared inmate in the prison, and they find that he’s surprisingly loyal and blessed with a beautiful singing voice. Seemingly, all he needed was for someone to just reach out to him…

My favourite part of the film is probably when Gene Wilder takes a list of his prison grievances to the warden, with the honest expectation that the warden will be only too delighted to discuss the ways in which he can help to enhance and improve the prison experience of the men in his care. Set that night-stick to whoppin’, boys… I also love Craig T. Nelson, aka COACH and the dad from POLTERGEIST, as the warden’s bullying second-in-command.

In SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, the two lads play a blind man (Pryor) and a deaf man (Wilder) who accidentally get mixed up with a trio of murderous thieves and have to go on a mission to clear their own names (yep, they’ve been wrongly accused again!) and, hopefully, catch the thieving real killers as well.

Kevin Spacey is quite good as one of the villains, with the gorgeous leggy Joan Severance on duty as the eye-candy. The scene where Gene Wilder threatens to ‘shoot’ a nudie Joan Severance with his erection is very funny.

It’s also the film in which are uttered the immortal words, ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy was a woman,’ and the scene in which Gene Wilder freaks out at the thought that he’s somehow contracted the ‘mens rea’ always makes me laugh out loud.

I don’t much care for Anthony Zerbe as the mysterious Mr. Sutherland, the villains’ boss, as I’m all worn out by the chase at this point. (Don’t get me wrong, watching a blind man and a deaf man attempt to drive a getaway car through downtown New York is pretty hilarious.)

And I was completely underwhelmed at the moment it’s revealed that the gold coin everyone’s been chasing is a ‘room temperature superconductor.’ Are we supposed to be impressed? Talk about meh.

Wilder and Pryor are always funny, though, and lovable and cuddly and, in the case of Gene Wilder in particular, surprisingly sexually attractive. I’ve always wanted to just give him a big hug, gaze deep into his brilliant blue eyes while gently touching his curly hair and then take it from there, lol.

Both men are great comedic partners, and the way they vibe off each other more than makes up for any deficiencies in plot. The scene where they meet at Wilder’s news kiosk is so funny, and ditto the one where Richard Pryor is masquerading as a Swedish sex therapist for geriatrics. The bit where he says, in authentic Swedish Chef from THE MUPPET SHOW pidgin English, ‘Mostly, they just like fucking…!’ is just a priceless moment in the film.

Happy New Year, anyway. Let’s welcome 2022 with open arms and open minds. I won’t challenge the Universe to fisticuffs by saying that things can’t get any worse, so instead I’ll just say that we all sincerely hope that they’ll get a little easier.

  AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
 
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s 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:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
https://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Stops-Sandra-Harris-ebook/dp/B089DJMH64
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
 https://www.amazon.com/dp/1781994234

CARRY ON ENGLAND. (1976) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

CARRY ON ENGLAND. (1976) DIRECTED BY GERALD THOMAS.
STARRING KENNETH CONNOR, WINDSOR DAVIES, PATRICK MOWER, JUDY GEESON, JOAN SIMS, PETER BUTTERWORTH, JACK DOUGLAS, MELVYN HAYES AND DIANE LANGTON.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Sergeant Major, some of those men are wearing skirts!’

‘They is not men, sir. They is… women…!’

This is the 28th film in the original 30 CARRY ON films, and there are people who say it’s not very good and even a bit silly to boot. Okay, so it’s by no means perfect and it’s missing some of our favourite CARRY ON stars, like Sid James, Hattie Jacques, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Williams, Bernard Bresslaw, Barbara Windsor and Jim Dale, but it’s still worth a watch as part of the canon, even if you only watch it once.

The action takes places in an army barracks in the English countryside during the part of World War Two when Hitler was bombing the bejeesus out of poor old Blighty. It’s kind of an experimental barracks which accommodates both male and female soldiers, and that’s the main reason the regiment stationed there is an absolute shambles.

The recruits there are lazy, slipshod, slapdash, haphazard and hopeless. They report sick whenever there’s work to be done. They like a nice lie-in of a morning, and they clearly hope to just sit out the rest of the war in their nice cosy little country barracks without having to lift a finger or squeeze so much as a single trigger. That shouldn’t be too hard, as they appear to be a barracks without any weaponry or ammunition whatsoever…

Of course, the main source of distraction for every soldier in the platoon is the close proximity of the opposite sex. The males and females are all over each other like a bad case of poison ivy.

There’s nookie going on morning, noon and night, in the barracks, on parade and in the air raid shelter known as ‘the snoggery.’ The name says it all. The sex-obsessed soldiers just can’t stop fondling their privates. And their corporals, and their sergeants, and their bombardiers…

Then, Captain S. Melly (yeah, yeah, we get it, lol), played by a diminutive and moustached Kenneth Connor, is appointed to this barracks as the new head honcho. He seems completely thrown by the presence of women in the barracks.

It’s obvious he’s never had to handle a platoon of feisty females before, females with, erm, protruding front things and knickers and, ah, what do they keep under their knickers again, Sergeant Major…?! You get the point...

With the help of Sergeant Major ‘Tiger’ Bloomer, played by the wonderful Windsor Davies in pretty much the exact same role he was playing at the time in long-running British-Army-in-India sitcom IT AIN’T HALF HOT, MUM, Captain Smelly sets about trying to be the new broom that sweeps clean. It’s not an easy job…

Poor Captain Smelly. He’s thwarted at every turn by the idle, shiftless soldiers, who would make great army personnel if they put even half the same effort into their work as they do into their schemes to avoid work.

Even Sgt. Major Bloomer, a true army hard-ass, doesn’t like to push his men- and women!- into working too hard, as it just makes them cranky and harder to deal with…! Call this an army, lol.

Led by Patrick Mower (THE DEVIL RIDES OUT, Rodney from EMMERDALE) as Sergeant Len Able, the recruits are much more interested in working out how to get into each other’s quarters at night, after Captain Smelly bans the sexes from ‘mingling,’ than they are in fighting Hitler.

There’s a Sergeant Tilly Willing and a Bombardier Ready as well, by the way, in addition to a Private Alice Easy, a sort of bargain basement Barbara Windsor-type character…!

The shit hits the fan- most of it ends up on Captain Smelly, sadly- when a visiting Brigadier and Major find the barracks sorely lacking in order and fighting spirit. Suddenly, an air attack from Goering’s Luftwaffe threatens the very existence of the barracks.

Will Smelly’s men- and women- step up to the plate and fight bravely for Merrie Olde Englande, for King and Country? Will old Smelly be proud of his privates at long last…? Will he want to toast his privates in the mess with a magnum of champers? Will he be overcome with an urge to pat his privates lovingly on their person and tell them he’s inordinately proud of them? (I should probably stop this now…!) It remains to be seen, people.

I love that Melvyn Hayes from IT AIN’T HALF HOT, MUM plays a similar role here as Gunner ‘short-arse’ Shorthouse. A curvaceous Joan Sims has the hots for Sgt. Major Bloomer, who’s not quite sure he’s man enough for her, and Johnny Briggs, aka Mike Baldwin from long-running soap, CORONATION STREET, turns up in the beginning of the film to drive Captain Smelly to his new camp.

My son, incidentally, loves Jack Douglas, whom he calls ‘the Tourettes Man’ because of his hilarious twitching and random-word-saying. I love the scene where Joan Sims’s Jennifer Ffoukes-Sharpe makes short work of Peter Butterworth’s Major Carstairs with a few slick manoeuvres, and the one in which Captain Smelly accidentally morphs into Adolf Hitler. Deutschland uber alles, eh what…?

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s 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:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

AIRPLANE! (1980) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

AIRPLANE! (1980) DIRECTED BY JIM ABRAHAMS, DAVID ZUCKER AND JERRY ZUCKER. BASED ON ZERO HOUR! BY ARTHUR HAILEY, HALL BARTLETT AND JOHN CHAMPION.

STARRING ROBERT HAYS AND JULIE HAGERTY.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘This is Captain Oveur, over.’

‘And don’t call me Shirley…’

‘Excuse me, Miss, I speak jive.’

‘That’s strange. Jim never vomits at home.’

‘Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?’

‘Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?’

This is an excellent ‘spoof’ comedy film, which parodies some of the great disaster epics of the ‘Seventies and lets the air out of ‘em a little bit. Some of the jokes, punchlines and visual gags will be as familiar to you as your own name by now.

Certainly, when I re-watched it last night after a gap of about ten years, I was able to recite a lot of the lines without much difficulty. While it may never again be as funny to you on subsequent watches as it would have been on your first, it’s still pretty damned funny and well worth a second or third or even fourth look.

The plot is two-fold. There’s an airline disaster, first and foremost. A plane takes off from Los Angeles to go to Chicago. During the flight, however, numerous passengers as well as the pilot and his co-pilots all become desperately ill with food poisoning after eating the fish course for dinner.

The ‘automatic pilot,’ a blow-up dummy called Otto, is deployed to fly the plane for the moment, but someone human is going to have to land that baby in Chicago or there’s gonna be a major accident in the air. Added to which, the sick passengers need urgent, on-the-ground medical attention or they could die.

Leslie Nielsen as the hilariously deadpan Dr. Rumack and Julie Hegarty playing the beautiful stewardess Elaine Dickinson scour the plane to see if they can find someone- anyone- qualified to bring this big bird down safely.

Dr. Rumack: ‘We need to get these people to a hospital or they could die.’

Elaine: ‘Oh my God, a hospital! What is it?’

Dr. Rumack: ‘It’s a big building with doctors and nurses in it, but that’s not important right now…’

Very funny. They do one or two other gags using this one as a template, and it makes me laugh every single time. Anyway, Elaine knows perfectly well, however, that there’s only one man on board who can do this job, and this is where the second plot, the romantic one, kicks in with a vengeance.

Elaine’s boyfriend Ted Striker, played by the handsome Robert Starman Hays, is a passenger on the doomed plane, but Elaine has just broken up with him because he just can’t get over the trauma he endured as a fighter pilot in the war- it doesn’t say which war- when he was the cause of several of his fellow officers meeting their fiery deaths in the air. Ted’s on the plane to try to convince a reluctant Elaine to take him back, despite his flaws, but he’s steered cleared of planes generally since the war.

Dr. Rumack and Elaine manage to convince the nervous Ted, now working as a taxi driver- a nice safe earthbound job- to fly/land the plane. He’ll have the telephone help and guidance of Lloyd Bridges’ character Steve McCroskey in the air control tower, and also Robert Stack’s Capt. Rex Kramer, an old nemesis of Ted’s. Can Ted step up to the plate and be the man that both Elaine and the passengers and crew need him to be? Well, we’ll see, won’t we? There’s a helluva lot riding on this one safe landing…

There are some terrific visual gags that you’d need to see to properly appreciate, such as the two stewardesses dragging the bodies of the sick pilot and his two sick co-pilots down the aisle of the plane while the passengers’ attention is momentarily diverted elsewhere; Elaine giving Otto a ‘blow-job’ in the cockpit after which they both need a cigarette, and the queue of heavily armed passengers lining up to each ‘help’ this one hysterical woman to calm down and get a hold of herself. It’s pretty funny stuff.

I like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a real-life basketball player, as co-pilot Roger Murdoch (‘Roger that, Roger!’), and also Lorna Private Benjamin Patterson as the singing air stewardess who doesn’t want to die an old maid. (‘Well, at least I have a husband,’ says Mrs. Hammen smugly. What a bitch!)

The flashbacks to Ted and Elaine getting together are really funny; Elaine aping the movements of the stabbed man on the dance floor, thinking he’s just grooving to the beat like her, and also Ted’s John Travolta bit to the disco music of the Bee Gees, are both brilliant. Ditto the way the whole bar gets up en masse and starts disco-dancing when the music changes. The film is a-gag-a-minute solid gold comedy classic. Don’t y’all miss out on seeing it…!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s 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:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

CARRY ON GIRLS and CARRY ON LOVING: A DOUBLE BILL OF CARRY ON NAUGHTINESS REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

CARRY ON GIRLS (1973) AND CARRY ON LOVING (1970): A DELIGHTFULLY SAUCY DOUBLE BILL OF CARRY ON NAUGHTINESS REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

My kids and I were discussing lately the indisputable fact that you probably couldn’t make films like these nowadays, crammed as they are with sexism, racism, gay-ism and probably a few more ‘isms’ you could care to name as well.

Then, as we always do, we ended the discussion by thanking our lucky stars that these outrageously funny films were made, and by being utterly convinced that the ‘isms’ they contain are all just good clean harmless fun, the kind that’s sadly in short supply nowadays. The kind where we laugh at ourselves and don’t take ourselves too seriously.

Moral lecture over for now, lol. CARRY ON GIRLS and CARRY ON LOVING both star the inimitable Sid James, the star of the whole series, really, in the roles he seems to play in every film: the cheeky chappie, the wide boy, the sex-mad ringleader of something or other, with the mucky laugh and an inability to ignore a good opportunity to make a few quick and easy bucks, whether it’s from a horse, a dog or a beauty queen contest down at the seaside. In fact, Sid’s persona can be summed up in one succinct sentence: he’s always on the make, and his targets are usually women or money.

Imagine his delight when he discovers that he can combine his two loves in one event: the aforementioned beauty queen contest in the rather kippy little seaside town of Fircombe, where it rains more often than not and the tourists flock away from the place in their droves.

This film, of course, is CARRY ON GIRLS, in which the aptly-named Sid Fiddler, as a local councillor, comes up with the rather genius idea of holding a beauty contest in the town hall as a way of bringing the crowds (and their open wallets) to Fircombe.

Enter the girls: among others, the dynamic little pocket rocket that is Hope Springs, played by Barbara Windsor, the fluffy blonde who actually at times seems like the female version of Sid, they’re so well suited to each other, with matching dirty laughs and an ability to find the dirty double meaning in every sentence every uttered; the pneumatic Dawn Brakes (Margaret Nolan), with the most magnificent knockers in Christendom, whose half-nudie catfight with Hope Springs over a silver bikini is the highlight of the film; Wendy Richard (Pauline Fowler from EASTENDERS) as Ida Downes; the utterly sublime Valerie Leon (also a Hammer beauty) as the sultry Paula Perkins; and the luscious Bernard Bresslaw as, erm, the equally sultry Patricia Potter… Just don’t ask…! Jokes about ‘bristols’ abound in possibly the most booby-filled of the CARRY ON series.

Of course, the feminists of Fircombe, led by June Whitfield as the morally upright Mrs. Prodworthy, vow to do their utmost to sabotage the disgusting cattle market Sid calls a beauty contest, that’s if they can’t scupper it altogether.

Sid’s long-suffering girlfriend, Joan Sims as hotel-owner Connie Philpotts, is none too happy about the contest either. She knows that putting Sid at the centre of the beauty contest is like letting a fly loose on an open pot of jam. The stage is (literally) set for some thrills… and spills…!

In CARRY ON LOVING, everyone, it seems, is doing it; sex, that is. It’s the very early ‘Seventies, just after the swinging ‘Sixties have exited stage left, the permissive society has taken over the country and the air is positively throbbing with lust for one’s fellow man… and woman…!

Sid and Hattie Jacques play Sidney and Sophie Bliss, a married couple (except they’re not really married) who run a marriage bureau together. Sid uses the bureau as his own personal dating agency; he’s having a raging affair with Joan Sims as Esme Crowfoot which doesn’t at all escape Sophie’s notice.

Sophie only stays because Sid dangles marriage in front of her like a carrot to a donkey, but does he have any intention of ever coming good on his promises? Only time, and maybe Gripper Burke, Esme’s wrestler lover, will tell…

Terry Scott, one half of TERRY AND JUNE with June Whitfield, is initially peed off at being set up with Imogen Hassall as Jenny Grubb, until Jenny undergoes the most amazing transformation from drab, bespectabled spinster-of-this-parish to boobylicious model in a tiny buttercup-yellow dress. ‘Have you had it?’ ‘Chance’d be a fine thing…!’

Richard O’Callaghan as Bertram Muffet, the softy who makes model aeroplanes out of milk bottle tops, comes up trumps with Jacki Piper as stunning nudie model, Sally Martin, and Sophie Bliss, Sid’s much-put-upon girlfriend-slash-dogsbody, decides that she herself is the best choice of wife for Kenneth Williams’s Percival Snooper, the ‘sexually backward’ marriage guidance counsellor who comes to the agency looking for a soulmate.

Patsy Rowlands puts on a show-stopping performance here as Miss Dempsey, the faithful housekeeper who’s secretly desperately in love with Percival Snooper, her employer for years, and who intends to fight for his love. Dirty fighting, too, if necessary…

In CARRY ON GIRLS, she was terrific too as the downtrodden, toilet-needing wife of Fircombe’s leading citizen, Kenneth Connor as Mayor Frederick Bumble. Charles Hawtrey is brilliant here too as the private detective hired by Sophie Bliss to keep an eye on Sid. ‘Excuse me, but I am not spoking much English…!’

So there you go. It’s all boobs, butts, legs, cheeky double entendres, blatant sexism, slapstick comedy and some of Britain’s best-loved performers of all time acting their hearts out in some of Britain’s favourite ever films. Don’t say that the CARRY ON films are a menace to society. Take them and love them for what they are: a product of their time, and some of the best fun you can have sitting down. Over and out.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. 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, women’s 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: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

THE GEORGE FORMBY FILM COLLECTION. (1941- 1946) REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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THE GEORGE FORMBY FILM COLLECTION. (1941-1946) DIRECTED BY MARCEL VARNEL AND STARRING LANCASHIRE’S OWN GEORGE FORMBY.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘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!’

SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT.

‘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…!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
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:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

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