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  • A captivating start and a wow of a finish book-end a mixed bag of reasonably amusing, rather middling and even tedious vaudeville turns from The Crazy Gang. Those who follow this particularly comedy team will be aware that the Gang has six members, made up of three partners: Flanagan and Allen, Nervo and Knox, Naughton and Gold.

    I love Flanagan and Allen. They can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned and I'm glad they take the lead in singing the delightful first number in this revue, "Free", with its fascinating echoes of Bud's own "Underneath the Arches." Contrast: "Free! No-one could be luckier than we. Nature never had a lock or key. Isn't that the way it ought to be?" with "Pavement is my pillow, no matter where I stray: Underneath the arches, I dream my dreams away."

    The most effective comedy teams, in my opinion, are those in which the partners are not only definitively distinct, clearly contrasted characters but those in which both the comic and the straight man are extremely likable. With these attributes in mind, Flanagan and Allen emerge as by far the most successful team ever. What I particularly like about them is that Allen, the genteel straight man, never tries to bully his East End partner or get the better of him or play snide tricks. The two are firm friends, true companions not warring adversaries. Usually, they exude comradeship in adversity, mingled with a yearning hope of better times ahead: "We're always on the outside; on the outside, always looking in. We never know how fortunes are made, but we'll keep on trying till we win."

    Nervo and Knox are lesser comedians, though I always enjoy Nervo's girl-chasing Cecil. But as for Naughton and Gold, they come across to me as lesser still. I find most of their humor rather wearisome.

    Unfortunately, there are few scenes like the brilliant outfitting store episode in which all six of the Gang interact with each other at the same time. Thus we are presented with a whole series of twosome sketches, most of which lengthily out-stay their brief welcome. It's notable that the rousing, three-cheers finale is provided not by any of the comedians but by their real-life friend, Peter Dawson. (Despite his celebrity status as a recording artist and concert singer, Dawson spent most of his career in vaudeville).

    The mildly amusing string which loosely ties everything together is provided by Fred Duprez's impersonation of an impecunious movie producer. True, he does have a few lively introductory scenes, but his thunder is quickly usurped by Enid Stamp-Taylor, of all people, who spends most of the film losing her skirt, of all things! Production values leave nothing to be desired, but I do wish the film editor had taken his scissors to Knox, Naughton and Gold.
  • This film is basically a transfer of the best bits from the Gantgs hit show at the London Palladium.This is probably as near a representation of the earthy music hall humour of the era as you are ever likely to get.One can only wonder how they managed to get past the censor the sketch towards the end when the main object seemed to say the name of one of the characters in the sketch,Farquahar,as often as they could.I had the good fortune to be present at a lecture given by Val Guest,one of the writers at the National Film Theatre some years ago.They had to have a spread sheet so they could work out the how frequently each of the Gang was being featured as the idea was to give them equal screen time and ensure that there was not to long between each line.He also mentioned that they were quite a handful as they were well renown for playing practical jokes.As a fan of the Gang i can say that this is a fitting tribute.
  • Perhaps it would help if I was British, but I've seen several old films featuring the group called 'The Crazy Gang' and I haven't enjoyed them. It isn't that I don't like silly old comedies--but I find the characters a bit annoying and a greater number of their gags fall flat than you'd find in similar films like those of the Marx Brothers or Olson and Johnson in "Hellzapoppin" (a film quite similar to "O-Kay for Sound").

    When the film begins, you learn that the Goldberger movie studio is just about bankrupt. Mr. Goldberger is desperate when he learns that the bankers refuse to extend him any more credit and in desperation he tries to get a rich industrialist and his friends to back the studio. However, although this ploy DOES temporarily get the bankers off his back, there is a mix-up and instead of the rich industrialists, the studio limo delivers the Crazy Gang to meet with Goldberger. He is somehow convinced that these obnoxious morons are rich and he falls all over himself trying to impress them. Now considering that the Crazies are out of work and hungry, they are VERY impressed and soon make themselves at home at the studio. Ultimately, however, the mix-up is discovered and the Gang work quickly to complete a film that MIGHT just be able to save the studio.

    As I mentioned above, a lot of gags fall flat in this film. However, a few do and the various odd acts they assembled for this film do sometimes work. So, while some of the musical numbers are god-awful and go on far too long, a few (such as the couple who fight as they dance as well as the musical number 'Free') are quite nice. While much of the film lacks sense or decent writing, there is enough to make you laugh and keep your attention. This is not exactly a glowing endorsement, but compared to other films these folks made, it's a huge success!
  • boblipton12 April 2017
    This is the first movie of the Crazy Gang -- six music-hall comics in a skeleton of a plot who compete for screen time with gags, sketches and songs. It's actually an excuse for a revue and was enough of a success to result in several sequels and a career for director Marcel Varnel -- who would better be called a referee -- supervising cut-glass farces for Will Hay, Arthur Askey and George Formby.

    It starts out with failing studio head Fred Duprez simultaneously rooking bankers into thinking he has a big financial backer and sending page boy Graham Moffat out to cast six "City" types for a movie. Naturally he picks up six buskers and brings them back, where they are instantly mistaken for Duprez' backers, Duprez included. They proceed to run riot at the studio, ruining movies with their travesties and frequently tearing the skirt off Enid Stamp-Taylor, interrupted occasionally by musical interludes.

    As a story, it's trivial, but for cut-glass farce, it provides enough of a framework for the comedians to do their bits: such popular acts as Flanagan & Chesney, Jimmy Nervo, Teddy Knox and Jimmy Gold. Its high-speed nonsense suggests the Crazy Comedy which had already peaked in the United States, and to the modern viewer, appears more frantic than funny, but times have clearly changed.