HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mourning Forest, The
Orloff Against the Invisible Man
Power Rangers
Loving
Squid and the Whale, The
Hangar 18
Flashback
Goose Steps Out, The
Ghost in the Shell
Anatahan
Elle
Cynic, the Rat and the Fist, The
No Holds Barred
Laughing Dead, The
Other Side of Hope, The
J'accuse!
Handmaiden, The
P'tit Quinquin
Sense of an Ending, The
Rift, The
Frantz
Nocturnal Animals
Get Out
My Life as a Dog
Mooch Goes to Hollywood
Free Fire
Moonlight
Kung Fu Yoga
Wolf Guy
Dunkirk
   
 
Newest Articles
Computer Love: WarGames vs Electric Dreams
Dream Big: Elm Street vs Dreamscape
Whicker's Slicker: Whicker's World Vols 3&4 on DVD
Ladies First: Girls on Film 2 on DVD
Rock Back: 3 Cult Millennium Music Movies
Possession Obsession: Exorcist vs Amityville
The Italian Jobs: Eurocrime! on DVD
And Then? 6 Hollywood Films That Should Have Had Sequels But Didn't
Approaching Menace: The Frighteners on DVD
Oz Factor: Strange Australia on the Cusp of the 80s
   
 
  Running Jumping & Standing Still Film, The Funny PeopleBuy this film here.
Year: 1959
Director: Richard Lester, Peter Sellers
Stars: Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Richard Lester, Mario Fabrizi, David Lodge, Leo McKern, Graham Stark, Bruce Lacey, Norman Rossington
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: A man with a telescope (Leo McKern) is out standing in his field when he spots a washerwoman hard at work cleaning the grass. When she's finished with that region a camper (Spike Milligan) appears and wipes his feet on a welcome mat then sets about pitching his tent, but he won't get the peace and quiet he wanted: this location is a magnet for mayhem, including a method of proving man can fly... a kite.

It might look like a fluffy little item of ephemera now, but The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film does have a history behind it, and in its way proved one of the more influential examples of British nonsense comedy to emerge from the long shadow of the Goons. That legendary team were not simply radio stars, although that is where they were most celebrated, but they did make forays into the small screen as well as the big, and this was a result of a spare Sunday which saw Goons Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan experimenting with their humour in visual terms rather than the aural they had made their mark with.

On television, their handful of series episodes there had been directed by Richard Lester, an American who had big plans and was making his start in British TV, mostly in the humour side of things. He was recruited in 1959, just as Sellers' film career was taking off, to assist with direction on this, basically a series of silly sketches which in theory paid tribute to the silent classics of old, the sort of comedian like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton who were much admired by these talents. The results still have the power to raise a laugh, and some of it is quite inspired in its unadorned fashion: Bruce Lacey playing a record by running round it with a needle attached to a funnel being one of the more famous images.

Yet for some reason this essentially amateur footage, which would be a glorified home movie if it had not featured these well known faces - it was shot on Sellers' personal 16mm camera with sound and music added later by Lester - went on to be one of the more enduring works associated with the comedy of its nation. Maybe it was because it offered a handy way to fill a ten minute gap for television schedulers, or for cinemas to make up a short subject by way of introduction to the main feature, usually on a similar tack, but a surprising number of people have seen this and found it staying in the memory for its peculiar atmosphere. Monty Python's Flying Circus is a name which gets mentioned seemingly every time this arises (the beckoning hand and its punchline is very Pythonesque), but taken on its own terms it was both oddly innocent and singlemindedly lunatic, nothing hugely ambitious but with a purity about it conjured up from that English field in the late nineteen-fifties where by amusing themselves this bunch amused millions.

[This is available in The Lacey Rituals, the BFI's double disc collection of short films connected to Bruce Lacey, whether as performer, designer, director or otherwise.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1138 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Richard Lester  (1932 - )

American director, from television, in Britain whose initially zany style could give way to genuine suspense and emotion. After making his film debut with short The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film, which featured Goons Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, he went on to throwaway projects like It's Trad, Dad and Mouse on the Moon. His next, however, was a smash hit all over the world: A Hard Day's Night, not least because it had The Beatles as stars.

Lester was at his most successful in the sixties and early seventies, with notable movies like The Knack, Beatles follow up Help!, stage adaptation A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, satire How I Won the War, romance Petulia, weird comedy The Bed Sitting Room, The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers and very British disaster movie Juggernaut.

Efforts like Royal Flash, Robin and Marian, gay bathhouse comedy The Ritz and Cuba made less impact, but in the eighties Lester was called in to salvage the Superman series after Richard Donner walked off Superman II; Lester also directed Superman III. Finders Keepers was a flop comedy, and Return of the Musketeers had a tragic development when one of his regular cast, Roy Kinnear, died while filming. Lester then decided to give up directing, with Paul McCartney concert Get Back his last film.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Bernard Cribbins
Tom Cruise
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Vikki Sanderson
Darren Jones
Tom Le Surf-hall
Mark Le Surf-hall
  Michael Joy
Andrew Pragasam
   

 

Last Updated: