16 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.


Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

In Victorian England, an American showman uses a wealthy Frenchman's finances to build a German explosives expert's giant cannon designed to fire a people-filled projectile to the Moon but spies and saboteurs endanger the project.

Director: Don Sharp
Stars: Burl Ives, Jimmy Clitheroe, Terry-Thomas
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

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.

Director: Jeremy Summers
Stars: Tony Hancock, Sylvia Syms, Ronald Fraser
Hancock's Half Hour (1956–1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

TV version of the popular BBC radio show of the same name, with Tony Hancock as the modern man of the world (in his own eyes). Sid James is there to bring him back to earth.

Stars: Tony Hancock, Sidney James, Johnny Vyvyan
Hancock (TV Series 1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Comedian Tony Hancock stars, in this BBC situation comedy TV series, as Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock, a down-at-heel comedian living in East Cheam.

Stars: Tony Hancock, Hugh Lloyd, June Whitfield
Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond looks after the British outpost near the Khybar pass. Protected by the kilted Third Foot and Mouth regiment, you would think they were safe. But the Khazi of Kalabar... See full summary »

Director: Gerald Thomas
Stars: Sidney James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey
The Two Ronnies (1971–1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Long running BBC comedy show consisting of sketches and humourous musical routines involving the large Ronnie Barker and the small Ronnie Corbett. Most sketches involved both men, but ... See full summary »

Stars: Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett, The Fred Tomlinson Singers
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When a young girl is found dead an inspector is sent to investigate a prosperous Yorkshire household. It emerges that each member of the family has a guilty secret - each one is partly responsible for her death.

Director: Guy Hamilton
Stars: Alastair Sim, Arthur Young, Olga Lindo
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

George lives with her lover, Childie and plays a cheerful district nurse in a BBC soap opera. However, her character is to be killed off, and George realises that the only other job she can... See full summary »

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Beryl Reid, Susannah York, Coral Browne
Never Let Go (1960)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A cosmetic salesman sets out to prove to himself and his wife that he is not a failure.

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: Richard Todd, Peter Sellers, Elizabeth Sellars
The Rebel (1959–1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

After the end of the Civil War, a former Confederate Army private roams the Wild West, and, as a rogue drifter, gets involved in helping out various settlers threatened by various bad guys.

Stars: Nick Adams, Chuck Hamilton, Sid Troy
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A noblewoman doomed to a loveless marriage falls into a scandalous affair with the dashing Lord Byron.

Director: Robert Bolt
Stars: Sarah Miles, Jon Finch, Richard Chamberlain
The 39 Steps (1959)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In London, a diplomat accidentally becomes involved in the death of a British agent who's after a spy ring that covets British military secrets.

Director: Ralph Thomas
Stars: Kenneth More, Taina Elg, Brenda de Banzie


Cast overview, first billed only:
... Anthony Hancock
... Sir Charles Brewer
Paul Massie ... Paul Ashby
... Margot Carreras
... Aristotle Carreras
... Jim Smith
... Mrs. Crevatte
... Office Manager
... Waitress
... Manager of Art Gallery, London
... Manager of Art Gallery, Paris
... Josey
... Madame Laurent
Bernard Rebel ... Art Dealer
... Artist


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


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







Release Date:

26 December 1962 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Call Me Genius  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


See  »

Did You Know?


Mrs Crevatte is also the name of the unseen landlady of a murdered artist in Endeavour episode Arcadia [10/1/16] 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"The Art of Making Money"
29 November 2002 | by See all my reviews

Tony Hancock was the biggest British comedian of the late 50s and early 60s. Viewing his two (not entirely representative) films and watching (and listening) to his "Half-Hour" comedy shows (running separately, if concurrently, on BBC television and radio), young people (those under 35 or so) will probably find this fact baffling unless they are extraordinarily well-informed about social conditions in immediately postwar Britain. There also seems to be a kind of gender barrier. Women of my acquaintance, even those that satisfy the fairly stringent criteria I detail in my previous sentence, seem to have found Hancock uniformly unfunny.

Hancock's humour, it must be said, was unconventional. It is entirely driven by the dialectic, if you will, between character and situation. Hancock loathed gags, and forbade his scriptwriters (usually the brilliant duo of Ray Galton and Alan Simpson) to indulge in them. It is also exceptionally restricted in time (late 50s), social class ("shabby-genteel" lower-middle) and place (the south-east of England). Yet Hancock, who bestrode Britain like a colossus in his heyday, nurtured the powerful delusion that he could succeed in America.

It would take an amazing act of empathy on the part of an American to penetrate Hancock's humour as displayed in his radio and TV shows. As a technician he was flawless, possessing a sense of comic timing unequalled by anybody in Britain except the probably equally unexportable Kenneth Williams (perhaps best known outside the UK because of his strong involvement in the "Carry-On" series of films). Needless to say, Hancock and Williams, the two greatest British comedians of all time, loathed and vilified each other.

"The Rebel" (pointedly re-christened "Call Me Genius" in the America Hancock was desperate to impress) was released to great disappointment in 1961. In hindsight it has gained in favour, its initial cool reception a matter of some puzzlement.

Hancock, in the film, is an office drudge who harbours artistic ambitions way beyond his hopelessly limited technical skills. However, he jettisons his boring day-job to share an artistic garret in Paris (only 200 or so miles from London) with a frustrated, but genuinely talented, young artist (Paul Massie). Hancock's infantile daubs are hailed as works of genius in the pretentious circles he inhabits. Galton and Simpson's screenplay wastes no opportunity to satirise the credulity of the modern-art world, and its unfailing capacity to court lucrative charlatans.

Can those outside the British Isles understand this film? I hope so. The office environment and lodgings Hancock occupies are stultifying, but the artistic world of Paris is shown to be as corrupt and foolish in its own way (NB. the identically uniformed "Existentialists", indistinguishable, in a sense, from their bowler-hatted counterparts with whom Hancock works in central London). Art does get a slightly better press in this film than commerce, since the possibility of genuine artistic talent (i.e. Paul's (Hancock's young flatmate and protégé)) is acknowledged. Nevertheless, the presence of trend-hungry buffoons within the artistic world (e.g. George Sanders' art dealer) indicates the interpenetration of the commercial and artistic worlds. Is art-dealing George Sanders any less a despicable entrepreneur than Hancock's erstwhile manager in his City of London counting-house, John le Mesurier?

Although we speak essentially the same language (I think the differences are often over-stated), cultural barriers remain between the UK and the US. However, Americans would do well to look closely at Tony Hancock, partly for his intrinsic value, and partly for the huge influence, conscious and unconscious, he has wielded over the British psyche (here I controversially include Ireland, which remains culturally close to the UK). His second feature-film ("The Punch And Judy Man"), while telling in its own way, is less valuable overall, both inside the UK (and its satellites) and beyond.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 16 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page