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Encyclopedia > The Punch and Judy Man

Made in 1962, The Punch and Judy Man was Tony Hancock's attempt at becoming 'International'.

Based on his childhood memories of Bournemouth, where he grew up, the film is set in the early 1950's in the sleepy seaside town of Piltdown. Hancock plays Wally Pinner, the dilapidated Punch and Judy Man. Wally and the other beach entertainers (The Sandman, who makes sand sculptures (played by John Le Mesurier, and Neville the photographer, played by Mario Fabrizi) are socially unacceptable to the towns snobbish elite. Bournemouth is a seaside resort in the county of Dorset on the south coast of England. ... A stained glass illustration of Mr. ...

Wallys wife, Delia, played by Sylvia Syms, runs an antique shop below thier flat, and is socially ambitious, and wants to be accepted into town society. To achieve this she needs to have Wally invited to entertain at the official reception for Lady Jane Caterham (Barbara Murray), who is to switch on the towns illuminations, and at the Mayoress's suggestion the Reception Committee invite Wally to entertain. One of Britains most well-known actresses. ...

The Dinner degenerates into a food fight when one of the drunken guests heckles Punch, and when Lady Jane rounds on Wally, Delia floors her with a punch. Her dreams of social acceptance gone forever, Wally and Delia retire, wiser and closer.

The film has some considereable insight into Tony himself. In one scene, at the beginning, Wally and Delia have breakfast in almost total science, and the scene demonstrates that Wally adn Delia are married from habit, and they have nothing in common, and is in fact a sharp observation by writer Phillp Oakes about Hancock's marriage of the time.

There is a another scene where Wally retreats from the rain into an ice cream parlour with a small boy, played by Sylvia Syms nephew, Nicholas Webb. The scene was done in several takes and in between in take Hancock would rinse his mouth with vodka to remove the taste of the ice cream.

It is a gentle comedy, and as a showcase of underrated British talent is a goldmine. John Le Mesurier gives a gem of a performance as a gentleman sculptor, who has found a shabby-gentile niche in life, and the cast includes several other brilliant british comedy players, including Ronald Fraser, Barbara Murray, Hattie Jacques, Mario Fabrizi, Hugh Lloyd, Norman Bird, Peter Vaughan, and Michael Ripper. The pace of the film is accidental, but superbly understated, due to Director Jeremy Summers imperfect sense of comedy timing. John Le Mesurier (April 5, 1912 – November 15, 1983), born John Elton Halliley, was a British actor. ... Josephine Edwina Jacques (February 7, 1922 - October 6, 1980), better known by the stage name Hattie Jacques, was a comedy actress. ...

Michael Palin created a film thirty years later called 'A Private Function', with a similar theme of social acceptance in a small seaside town. Visually, The Punch and Judy Man is reminiscent of Jacques Tati's film 'Monsieur Hulot's Holiday' as they are both shot in monochrome and show a sleepy seaside town in the early 1950's. Both have a unique style of visual humour, and both are an historians delight in being comments on the society of the time. Michael Palin as Pilate in Monty Pythons Life of Brian Michael Edward Palin (born May 5, 1943) is a British comedian who was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire. ... Jacques Tati (October 9, 1908 - November 5, 1982) was a French film-maker. ...

The film itself was shot on location in Bognor Regis, and when the producers asked for some local people to take parts as extras, over 2000 people turned up. Many parts of the town are immortalised in the film, from the Pier and the Town Hall, alongside other areas such as Spencer Street, Belmont Street, and York Road, beside the Esplanade and Royal Hotel, where in fact the film crew stayed. Tony Hancock himself resided at the Royal Norfolk Hotel during filming. Bognor Regis is a seaside resort town in West Sussex, England, and has a permanent population of about 20,000. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Punch and Judy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (942 words)
Punch flees for his life; being arrested by an officer of the Inquisition, he is shut up in prison, from which he escapes by means of a golden key.
Punch, for that was the first time the diarist Samuel Pepys observed a Punch and Judy show near St. Paul's Church in London's Covent Garden.
Punch and Judy was the title of a 1967 opera by Harrison Birtwistle.
  More results at FactBites »



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