Call Me Genius (1961)

  |  Comedy

Call Me Genius (1961) Poster

Tony Hancock gives up his day job to become an artist. He's a lot of enthusiasm, but little talent, and critics dislike his work. Nevertheless, he impresses a talented artist.


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16 March 2002 | bob the moo
Tony Hancock misfiring is still a funny film
Tony is trapped in the drudgery of a 9-5:30 office job. But at night he is an artist who has great talent and vision (he believes). When he decides to quit his job and move to France he falls in with a group of artists who admire the `childlike' quality to his work. However when he passes another artists work off as his own and gets signed by a major agent he begins to get over his head in trouble.

For fans of Hancock's Half Hour on the BBC this film will represent strange new ground – an extension of the short concise stories with depression being the overriding source of Hancock's comedy. Here the story sees him less put down and more of a winner – this removes a lot of what made him funny.

However the story still has wit as Hancock makes fun of the pretentious art crowd and makes fun of his own inability to paint. However the running time is perhaps too long to sustain and much of the comedy is such that it could easily have been done by anyone – rarely is Hancock's unique style allowed material to work with.

Hancock is still good though, and him misfiring is still funny. George Sanders has an interesting role and it's always good to see John Le Mesurier in anything. However at times you can't help feeling that Sid James could have been added somewhere. In fact the whole film would have been better modelled around the format of the TV and radio shows.

Overall this is the film failing – it is stretched and, for most of the second half, it's comedy is not the usual Hancock fare that so many loved. It's funny but it'll make you seek out tapes and videos of his classic shows.

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