16 user 7 critic

Call Me Genius (1961)

The Rebel (original title)
Anthony Hancock gives up his office job to become an abstract artist. He has a lot of enthusiasm, but little talent, and critics scorn his work. Nevertheless, he impresses an emerging very talented artist.


Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sir Charles Brewer
Paul Massie ...
Margot Carreras
Aristotle Carreras
Office Manager
Liz Fraser ...
Mervyn Johns ...
Manager of Art Gallery, London
Manager of Art Gallery, Paris
Nanette Newman ...
Marie Burke ...
Madame Laurent
Bernard Rebel ...
Art Dealer
Sandor Elès ...


Anthony Hancock gives up his office job to become an abstract artist. He has a lot of enthusiasm, but little talent, and critics scorn his work. Nevertheless, he impresses an emerging very talented artist.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


From London's "Bowler-Hatted" Conformity to Paris' Left Bank Madness! (US release: Call Me Genius) See more »







Release Date:

26 December 1962 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Call Me Genius  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


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Did You Know?


The firm Hancock worked at for fourteen years is United International Transatlantic Consolidated Amalgamation Ltd. See more »


Jim Smith: English names are so mysterious, don't you think?
Hancock: Oh, yes. I knew an 'Arry Trubshawe and a Bert 'Iggins once. Dead mysterious they were.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The producers wish to acknowledge the fullest co-operation accorded - somewhat apprehensively - by BRITISH RAILWAYS. See more »


Featured in George & Mildred: The Last Straw (1979) See more »


At Last! At Last!
Written by Charles Trenet
See more »

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User Reviews

Surely the greatest movie ever made
9 March 2001 | by (Oxford England) – See all my reviews

Of course I am aware that huge numbers of people will see this movie as mildly diverting, an interesting off shoot of a TV character, or a strained attempt to translate a mythic television talent to a medium he wasn't suited to. I know some will find the plat slight. Some may enjoy it but simply feel it isn't all that impressive. Well, this is fine. But I believe that The Rebel is quite simply the finest movie ever made, and I've seen a lot of movies.

What is so great about it ? The colours. The lush score moving from the comic to the romantic with ease. The array of great comic performances. The script which ranges from the profoundly comic to the comically profound.

The struggle of the individual to express his individuality in a world that prefers conformity has been the subject of countless numbers of films. The Rebel is the only film I can think of to mock this tradition while also celebrating it. The character of Hancock drifts between lies and truth while carving out a reputation for himself among the Parisian avant garde. His never reflects on his complete lack of noticeable talent and inability to dedicate himself to the craft but instead creates something of a stir with his infantilism. His bluster is only ever a whisker away from the despair he shows on his opening train journey.

Comedies are often treated as somehow inferior to dramas. It's much more important to treat human suffering with a straight face than take life for the comedy it undoubtably is. Hancock's suffering may not on the face of it seem important or noble, but it is the despair of the insignificant man who wants to be outside of the machine, wants to be important and creative. But despite dealing with this theme the comedy never drifts into pathos. Hancock covers the sadnesses with a jaunty self involvement in which he can place himself securely among the great artists whose every brush stroke is torn from their body.

The satire on modern art may seem a bit obvious but it is never played on for serious effect.

The sideline characters are all magnificent from John Le Mesurier as Hancock's completely unimaginative boss, through Irene Handl on top form as Mrs Cravat who regards all Hancock's efforts as a load of miscellaneous rubbish, to Dennis Price's Jim Smith, eccentric French millionaire.

"Jim Smith ?"

"Oh. You're surprised. I always feel an English name sounds so much more mysterious."

"Oh yes. I knew a Bert Higgins and a Harry Trubshaw once. They were dead mysterious they were."

But it's not just the plotting, the comedy, the acting, and the dialogue that strike me as perfection. The design of the movie. The contrasting of Parisian styles with the bowler hat and umbrellas of Waterloo Bridge. The interior of Paul Ashby's room. The paintings themselves. All these elements compound the sense of joy that watching this film brings.

And for those who watch this film and think that I am talking nonsense. All I can do is to re-iterate Hancock's cry to the elite of the art scene "You're all raving mad. None of you know what you're looking at. You wait til I'm dead. You'll see I was right."

29 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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