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musicalnovelty

George Formby

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I have a feeling Formby's style is not everyone's cup of tea. I think his comedy is dated but his music is timeless.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

I have a feeling Formby's style is not everyone's cup of tea. I think his comedy is dated but his music is timeless.

Yes, some might find his comedy a bit too silly (and too British). But I've been a big fan for many years and was very pleasantly surprised when I saw that TCM had scheduled four of his movies (even just one would have been great!) for Nov. 16. This was the first time I've seen a George Formby movie on American TV since a local channel ran his 1937 comedy "Keep Fit" way back in 1980.

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1 hour ago, musicalnovelty said:

Yes, some might find his comedy a bit too silly (and too British). But I've been a big fan for many years and was very pleasantly surprised when I saw that TCM had scheduled four of his movies (even just one would have been great!) for Nov. 16. This was the first time I've seen a George Formby movie on American TV since a local channel ran his 1937 comedy "Keep Fit" way back in 1980.

It's not that it's British, but many of the scenarios depicted in the films aren't very sophisticated and betray the era's brand of simplistic humor. Compare his gags to Chaplin and one's clearly steak, the other is hamburger. Most of the comedy scenes in Formby's movies are contrived like the writers are trying too hard for a laugh. His performances are okay but I feel he's often let down by the material. Some American humor from that period is also just as contrived and dated. When he plays the ukulele or strums the banjo, he's sublime. 

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 5.11.52 AM.jpg

It's good TCM aired the films-- firstly to provide variety in programming and secondly to give viewers a glimpse into a specific time and place.

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Anyone else notice the picture for No Limit was very jittery? Like it was run at a slower frame per second than it should have?

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TCM had two nights in a row of performers I'd never heard of before in Mary Carlisle and George Formby. I love that after about 17 years of watching TCM, there is still so much I have to learn. I watched all of Trouble Brewing and then only about the first 10 minutes of Let George Do It before I was too sleepy to continue. I wanted to stay up for the scene Ben M. promised of George punching Hitler in the face, but I couldn't make it. 

I thought Trouble Brewing was a pretty fun romp. There weren't a ton of moments that produced a genuine laugh in me. A lot of it seemed to pale in comparison to Formby's American counterparts from the same era. A lot of it, like the extended scene where Formby is forced unwillingly to be a waiter at a ritzy party while he tries to retrieve a piece of paper tucked in a woman's stocking, reminded me of The Three Stooges. I did give a pretty hearty guffaw in the scene where he's forced into a wrestling match, and the floaties he's just tucked under his shirt because he thinks he's going swimming make him look like he has breasts. No way anything like that could ever have remotely flown with American censors in 1939.

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I cracked a few smiles and a few outright laughs. Even viewing the fare with closed-captioning. I could easily find it an evening of fascinating viewing except that it was a Friday night and I was just seeking something a little more accessible. If I had been laid up sick and bedridden at home watching Formby I'd have had no complaints. Would've been tickled pink.

 

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