9 October 2010 | hitchcockthelegend
Oh. You was at Dunkirk, weren't you Mr Grimsdale? I wonder what would have happened if you'd given up then.
The Early Bird is directed by Robert Asher and stars Norman Wisdom, Edward Chapman, Jerry Desmonde & Paddie O'Neil. Grimsdale's Dairy, an old fashioned company who still deliver milk by horse and cart, are under threat of closure by the modern conglomerate that is Consolidated Dairies. But milkman Norman Pitkin (Wisdom) will not take it lying down; chaos ensues.
Norman Wisdom was an acquired taste, he was very much in the vein of Jerry Lewis from across the pond. His comedy staple was pratfalling and playing a lovable but hapless guy who constantly causes mayhem where ever he goes. Much like Lewis, the debates have always raged about if the comedy on offer was borderline genius or just standard buffoonery. The answer to which is naturally up to the individual observer to decide. What isn't up for debate is that Wisdom's film's, mostly, are perfect family fare that are agreeably watchable at any time of year.
The Early Bird is Wisdom's first feature film in colour, the title is derived from the saying "the early bird catches the worm". It sees Wisdom re-teamed with Chapman, Asher & Desmonde who all feature prominently in Wisdom's big screen output. As it is, The Early Bird is one of the most fondly remembered film's that Wisdom did. And rightly so because it contains some comedy gold moments to enjoy. Opening with a delightful 10 minute sequence that contains no dialogue, the film then pitches Wisdom into a number of truly great comedy scenes. A rampaging petrol lawnmower, a golf match interruption, Norman leading his horse up the stairs to bed; and the pièce de résistance that is the finale as a fire is believed to have broken out at the towering Consolidated Dairies building. All acted with comedic gusto by Wisdom and the cast thrust into the ensuing chaos. Lest we forget, also, the moral at the core of the writing too, this may be comedy unbound but it's also a sharp observation on the changing of the times and the sad disappearance of the little businesses. While the painted sets showcase a talent that's sometimes forgotten in this day and age of CGI enhancement.
A delightful comedy from a delightful and much respected entertainer. The kind of which is now impossible to replace. 8/10