The Comedy Man (1964)

  |  Drama

The Comedy Man (1964) Poster

Charles Byrd, known as "Chick", has spent his adult life acting in small repertory companies all over the UK, and he's never had much luck. All too aware that he's no longer young, Chick makes one last stab at finding success in London.

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25 February 2002 | F Gwynplaine MacIntyre
Fascinating show-biz drama
"The Comedy Man" is a drama (with some comedy) about a struggling actor named Chick Byrd in swinging London. This is one of the most accurate depictions of the grotty underside of showbiz. The film is very realistic, sometimes depressingly so. Byrd dreams of stardom, but he lives in a cheap bedsit and collects dole cheques. He can't get a "real" job because he's always making the rounds of casting calls. Byrd is played by Kenneth More, a dramatic actor with comedy experience, who gives an excellent performance here. Billie Whitelaw is excellent too. I won't divulge the movie's ending, except to say that it's unexpected yet very plausible. Watch for a very large man in a very small role: the gigantic union steward wearing a Red Indian war bonnet is played by Freddie Mills. He was Britain's heavyweight champion who tried to parlay his boxing fame into an acting career, but his large size typecast him in Richard Kiel-type roles. I recommend this film.

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