7.4/10
766
17 user 6 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.

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Sir Charles Brewer
Paul Massie ...
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Margot Carreras
...
Aristotle Carreras
...
...
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Office Manager
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Waitress
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Manager of Art Gallery, London
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Manager of Art Gallery, Paris
...
Josey
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Madame Laurent
Bernard Rebel ...
Art Dealer
...
Artist
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Watch Out Picasso... Here Comes Tony Hancock! (US release: Call Me Genius) See more »

Genres:

Comedy

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

26 December 1962 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Call Me Genius  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Sanders had a clause in his contract allowing him to purchase all of Sir Charles Brewer's Savile Row suits for half price. Equally cannily, the character's car was the actor's own, which he leased out to the production for a fee. See more »

Quotes

Hancock: Ladies and gentlemen, I shall now bid you all good day. I'm off! I know what I was cut out to do and I should have done it long ago. 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!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in London: The Modern Babylon (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

At Last! At Last!
(uncredited)
Written by Charles Trenet
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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."


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