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The Great McGonagall (1975)

William Topaz McGonagall, the world's greateset poet. Unfortunately the whole of the rest of the world disagreed. His talent made him a sort of Victorian Chris Evans but without the cash.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
William McGonagall
...
...
Mrs. McGonagall
...
Mr. Giles / MacDuff / Hercules Paint / British Soldier / Policeman / McLain / Sheriff / Judge
...
Mr. Stewart / Second-Lieutenant Rotlo / Supposed John Brown / Gentleman / Revolutionary / Cardinal / Policeman
...
Army Sergeant / Lord Tennyson / Doctor / Native Messenger / Policeman / Fop
Julian Chagrin ...
Prince Albert / Rev. Gilfillan / Publican / Balmoral Policeman / Stagehand / Ruffian / Mr Stewart's Assistant / British Soldier / Fop
...
King Theebaw / Policeman / Clerk of the Court / Mr Stewart's Assistant / Zulu Chief / Ruffian / Fop
Charlie Young Atom ...
Postman / Policeman / Sleeper in the Snow / Theatre Announcer / Drinker (as Charlie Atom)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Luie Caballero ...
Man with parrot
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Storyline

The tale of an unemployed Scotsman, William McGonagall whose ambition was to become England's Poet Laureate. One minor drawback is that his poetry is terrible. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 June 1978 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

El gran McGonagall  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title is a reference to the character played by W.C. Fields in The Old Fashioned Way (1934). See more »

Quotes

William McGonagall: Is anything worn under the kilt?
John Brown: No, everything is in working order.
See more »

Soundtracks

When the Saints Go Marching in
(uncredited)
Traditional
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User Reviews

 
Spike's tribute to the real-life William McGonagall
7 November 2004 | by (Brisbane, Australia) – See all my reviews

This is an update on my June 2003 comments which I had I posted based on my recollections of the videotape that I'd hired in the early 80's - but which I hadn't seen anywhere since.

So I was surprised to see the DVD listed for release in Australia in October (2004) and immediately ordered a copy. The text on the back of the DVD continues to mislead the viewer by referring to the film as "a high camp farce" and "cult British spoof". However it's clear after finding out more from the internet about McGonagall that the film is all based on the poet's autobiography - most of the circumstances are the same, they're just presented in a slightly absurd manner (but not much more absurd than the poetry itself). The poetry in the film is definitely the original McGonagall.

It's still a very funny film, and even before I found out that McGonagall was a real poet I appreciated the tragedy and pathos of the character. I think it was Spike Milligan who said that someone, or something, suffers in every joke that's ever been funny.

The DVD quality is very good considering the low price - so I'm hoping that Spike Milligan's "The Bed Sitting Room" can be made available too. Spike Milligan and William McGonagall had a lot in common in regard to their ability to make people laugh - but that was exactly the reaction Spike wanted, whereas William struggled to be taken seriously as a dramatic performance poet.


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