6.6/10
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15 user 3 critic

The Punch and Judy Man (1963)

Dark comedy about a seaside Punch and Judy man driven to distraction by his social climbing wife and his hatred for the snobbery of local government. He is persuaded to go to the Mayor's gala evening but it's all too much for him.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
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Lady Jane
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Sandman
Hugh Lloyd ...
Edward
Mario Fabrizi ...
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...
Committee Man
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John Dunbar ...
Committee Man
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Clergyman
...
1st. Escort
Peter Myers ...
2nd. Escort
...
Ice Cream Man
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Storyline

Dark comedy about a seaside Punch and Judy man driven to distraction by his social climbing wife and his hatred for the snobbery of local government. He is persuaded to go to the Mayor's gala evening but it's all too much for him.

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Plot Keywords:

independent film | See All (1) »

Taglines:

Hancock rebels again!

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Comedy

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Release Date:

8 April 1963 (UK)  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Takes place in a fictional seaside town called Piltdown, not related to the real town of that name. See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

H.M.S. Pinafore
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Arranged by Derek Scott
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User Reviews

 
Lacking in punch
29 August 2004 | by See all my reviews

I first saw this film many years ago and was struck by the fact that for a "comedy" I found it not just utterly unfunny but couldn't actually see much attempt at humour at all. The tone just seemed very bleak and depressing.

Unfortunately I don't see any need on review to be more generous. This is not to say that all comedy must be "laugh-a-minute" but this is very limp. I suppose the humour is supposed to be gently satirical, poking fun at the attempts at social climbing of Hancock's screen wife and the snobbery of the local dignitaries. However if this is so it really likes bite. Some of the more obvious attempts at comedy such as the scene in the ice cream parlour I find very irritating.

Possibly the film might be taken as an early attempt at comedy-drama. However as drama it also fails to hit the mark - it really is hard going. The contrast with Hancock's excellent previous film "The Rebel" is all too stark, and not just in the switch from vibrant colour to black and white. Maybe the often outlandish world of modern art made comedy easier in the earlier film but the problem is much deeper than that. In his TV shows Hancock had shown he could make great comedy out of mundane circumstances. The absence of Galton and Simpson as writers would appear to be the key problem. Hancock never made much impression without them.

This film will strike most viewers as evidence of Hancock's sad decline in the 1960's, although other comments suggest it does work for some. However there is much still to delight in his earlier work - a great legacy - and it is best to stick with that.


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