The Plank

Housing estate underway, the middle floorboard absent, trip to the timber yard and back again. The man carrying shoeboxes, door-paddled and taken on an ithyphallic ride through London town inadvertently, observed by a constable.

But then the plank is lost, for a time. Yank couple round the drinking trough with a home movie camera, y’know, the plank lands her in it. The classic Chaplin problem, how to get across the road. What Keaton used to do all day, in color with a soundtrack. The direction is typically “under the sign of three”, two points of interest or argument and a third entering or in evidence, up and down or sideways.

Will Hay’s Bishops Wallop fire pole (Where’s that fire?, dir. Marcel Varnel). “It’s gone again? The plank?The police officer trying vainly to mount his bicycle in motion like the little dog mournfully trying to piddle against a moving target in the last thousand frames or so of Flicker’s The Troublemaker gets some assistance after all is said and done with. Edgar Allan Poe concludes it with “The Black Cat”, vd. Ken Russell.

Tom Hutchinson (Radio Times), “the fun is in the effective sound effects, and the spotting of comedy icons”. Britmovie, “replete with inventive visual jokes”. Sandra Brennan (All Movie Guide), “mayhem ensues.The Age, “a gem.”



The ineluctable original on the raggedy rector and the vilest of policemen, an everlasting contest over 18 holes.

Cf. Hamilton’s Goldfinger. The wiles of the devil... the whole armour of God. A Pisgah view.


The Plank

A very close remake with certain refinements, the couple at the water trough are now strictly from Antonioni (Blowup), still with a home movie camera, however.

At the Buñuelian moment (Viridiana), H.R.H. drives through the scene with a wave.


Rhubarb Rhubarb

The arse-shielding p’lice h’inspector and the strictly vicarious vicar off for a round at The Royal Rhubarb Golf Club, eh what? Ha-ha!

A looker on the golf course given the Vigo treatment by halves (À propos de Nice).

It is all rhubarb.


It’s Your Move

Bumsteads Removals Ltd., “we move anything”.

The wedded couple and their suburban domicile and their parrot, “I’m sorry, darling!Up the stairs she rises, for privacy.

She who can’t be bothered after landing a roadsweeper in his own dustbin, the lady in a car with feathers and a Chihuahua.


Mr H Is Late

A stiff one in the bed, arduously achieved at Thirlmere House (a tall building that has seen better days) against the odds of rabblement and inclement weather by way of a coffink and its h’undertakers, a companion piece to The Plank.

The traffic warden and the spinet, by way of Laurel and Hardy (The Music Box, dir. James Parrott), to begin with. No parking, the bewildered bagpiper, the windscreen wiper “quenched as tow” and flung out on the sidewalk like the guitar neck of Antonioni’s Blowup. A burnt-out caravan, a dance-impromptu, a shower of gold.

Ascent of the spinet player, followed by his faithful dog. A sunbather on the roof (cf. Fellini’s La dolce vita), question of descending a staircase... the player dismissed, the other dog’s dinner. The measure of an undertaker (cf. Twist’s All Over The Town, Sykes remembers the lady trombonist in The Big Freeze).

The expectant vicar. The coffink and the pantechnicon.


The Big Freeze

Plumbing mishaps at the Old Actors Home.

Blick & Sons called out in the bleak midwinter. Fancy dress Napoleon, Der Führer at his games, “what about the blind buff, then?