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Down Among the Z Men (1952)

 -  Comedy  -  October 1952 (UK)
4.8
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Ratings: 4.8/10 from 216 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 3 critic

The cast of the popular radio program "The Goon Show" perform some of their favourite routines.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Secombe ...
Harry Jones
Michael Bentine ...
Prof. Osrick Purehart
...
...
Carole Carr ...
Carole Gayley
Twelve Toppers ...
Dancers (as Leslie Roberts' Twelve Toppers)
Clifford Stanton ...
Stanton
Robert Cawdron ...
Sergeant Bullshine
Andrew Timothy ...
Captain Evans
Graham Stark ...
Spider
Russ Allen
Elizabeth Kearns ...
Girl in Shop
Miriam Karlin ...
Woman in Shop
Sidney Vivian ...
Landlord
Howell Evans
Edit

Storyline

Professor Pure Heart absentmindedly loses the top secret formula in Harry Jones' Grocery Shop. "Bats of the Yard", as Harry calls himself, finds it and proudly attempts to return it to the Professor. Written by ICMagent

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

goon show | lingerie slip | See All (2) »

Genres:

Comedy

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1952 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Stand Easy  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It is unclear why Peter Sellers character is credited as Colonel Bloodnok, when he was always a Major in "The Goons" radio show. See more »

Crazy Credits

(opening credit) E. J. Fancey has the misfortune to inflict ... See more »

Soundtracks

Down Among the Z Men
(uncredited)
Music by Jack Jordan
Lyrics by James Douglas (i.e. Jimmy Grafton)
Performed by Carole Carr, Peter Sellers, Michael Bentine, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Down Among The B-Movie Men!
7 May 2007 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

Imagine if, in the early '70's, the 'Monty Python' gang had been hired to make a movie, but then the producer entrusted the writing duties to others, brought in an attractive female lead, dancers and unrelated novelty acts? The resulting film would have been a disaster.

Yet, in 1952, producer E.J. Fancey did just that with what was then the hottest new comedy team in Britain - 'The Goons'.

I got into 'The Goon Show' in the summer of 1982, when classic episodes were being repeated on Radio 4 as part of the 'Smash Of The Day' series. I knew a little about 'Goon' humour, but nothing prepared me for for my first experience of it. The episode was 'Rommel's Treasure' and, by the end of it, I was in pain from laughter. I went out and bought the cassettes, a book of scripts from a second-hand shop, and even had a go at writing my own. I was hooked.

'Down' represents the first - and sadly, last - time all four of the original 'Goons' were simultaneously captured on film, and the result is a bit of a mess. For one thing, the script was written neither by Spike Milligan or Larry Stephens, but by Jimmy Grafton and Francis Charles.

The plot - such as it is - revolves around a couple of spies after a top secret formula invented by the eccentric scientist Professor Osrick Pureheart ( Bentine ). Harry Secombe plays 'Harry Jones' ( not 'Neddie Seagoon', you'll notice ), a grocer's assistant who fancies himself as a private eye. Peter Sellers reprises his role as 'Bloodnok' ( now a Colonel, not a Major ) and Spike Milligan is 'Private Eccles'. With the exception of the latter, the characters are unrecognisable from their radio counterparts. How could they have left out 'Bluebottle'? Carole Carr wafts around as 'Carole Gayley', and The Television Toppers do their usual high-kicking dance stuff.

Maclean Rogers' other credits include one of the 'Old Mother Riley' pictures, and that's where he should have stayed. The irrelevant musical numbers would have been acceptable had the comedy scenes been strong enough to balance them out, but they're not. Apart from a couple of moments, there's little genuine 'Goon' humour on display here. One such moment is when Private Eccles turns up for parade wearing a chestful of medals. "Do you know how I got these medals?", he asks Jones. "Ten bob the lot!".

The cast are required to do little more than mug. Even Peter Sellers displays little of the talent which, only a few years later, made him one of the biggest movie-stars in the world.

Given a director of the calibre of Leo McCarey, as well as a better script, 'The Goons' could conceivably have made a comedy to rival those Marx Brothers classics such as 'Duck Soup'. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. If you want to know what made 'The Goon Show' great, listen to the radio show instead.


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