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Elstree Calling (1930)

 -  Comedy | Musical  -  February 1930 (UK)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 186 users  
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A series of 19 musical and comedy "vaudeville" sketches presented in the form of a live broadcast hosted by Tommy Handley (as himself). There are two "running gags" which connect the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Tommy Handley ...
Himself, Compere
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gordon Begg ...
Teddy Brown ...
Himself
Helen Burnell
Donald Calthrop ...
The Charlot Girls
Bobbie Comber
Cicely Courtneidge ...
Herself
Will Fyffe ...
Himself
Lawrence Green
Gordon Harker ...
George
Jack Hulbert ...
Himself
Hannah Jones ...
George's Wife
John Longden
Ivor McLaren
Edit

Storyline

A series of 19 musical and comedy "vaudeville" sketches presented in the form of a live broadcast hosted by Tommy Handley (as himself). There are two "running gags" which connect the sketches. In one, an actor wants to perform Shakespeare, but he is continually denied air-time. The other gag has an inventor trying to view the broadcast on television. Four of the sketches are in color (in shades of yellow and brown only). Written by Bruce W. Christopher <bwintonc@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

February 1930 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Hello Everybody  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Color:

| (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alfred Hitchcock is credited on screen with 'sketches and other interpolated items'. Adrian Brunel in his autobiography Nice Work describes how he originally shot The Taming of the Shrew spoof only to have John Maxwell, the producer, reject it for not being funny enough. Brunel states that Hitchcock was brought in to re-shoot the sketch. Hitchcock is believed to have directed the Gordon Harker sketch, The Taming of the Shrew, and the 'thriller' sketch with 'Jameson Thomas'. See more »

Connections

Featured in Shepperton Babylon (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

I Say to You, You Say to Me
Performed by Jack Hulbert quartet
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Vitality from another world
13 May 2004 | by (Derby, UK) – See all my reviews

I've probably seen this one over a dozen times now and I still love it, but mainly from the standpoint of the music. You have to forget you are a film buff (you are, aren't you?) and think of it as a collection of pop videos from 1930. And the pop ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous: My Heart Is Saying, in colour (?) nicely sung by Helen Burnell but danced atrociously, to Only A Working Man in b&w by the incomparable Lily Morris. Praise the Lord this film was made if only for her two turns, also the Will Fyffe bits and the Cicely Courtneidge end song, I'm Falling In Love. How that one passed the censor at the time I'll never know ... I suppose no one told him!

Helen Burnell must have been the dancing inspiration for Jessie Matthews, or did all Show People dance like hippos pretending to be trees in the 20's? I've always loved the work of Jack Hulbert, mainly for his innocent British enthusiasm (and songs), but I'm afraid that he looked like a manic bus conductor in his one dance scene. Rotund Teddy Brown was marvellous to listen to - until he started telling jokes; The 3 Eddies - ah! Can you just imagine them walking on stage and launching into their high powered act nowadays? Horrified silence would follow, but how times and tastes have changed. The song Ladies Maids Always In The Know sung and danced to by the Charlot Girls would likewise be incomprehensible to nearly everyone too.

The glue that 'holds' all this and more together is supplied by Gordon Harker trying to get a picture of it all on his TV and Tommy Handley as TV linkman, with some surprisingly flat gags for a change. A running gag is supplied by Donald Calthrop attempting to perform Shakespeare; Anna May Wong puts him in his place - have you ever seen 'Taming of the shrew' with a massive custard pie fight or with a circling riderless motorcycle being whipped?

If you're going to watch this for the Hitchcock bits and are unmusical you won't like it, but if you can open your ears and hearts to these fine personalities from a bygone age then like me you may get something like innocent merriment from Elstree Calling.


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