|Spare a Copper|
|Directed by||John Paddy Carstairs|
|Produced by|| Michael Balcon |
|Written by|| Basil Dearden |
|Starring|| George Formby |
|Music by||Louis Levy|
|Edited by||Ray Pitt|
|December 1940 (London, UK)|
14 April 1941 (UK general release)
Spare a Copper is a 1940 British black-and-white musical comedy war film directed by John Paddy Carstairs and starring George Formby, Dorothy Hyson and Bernard Lee. It was produced by Associated Talking Pictures. It is also known as Call a Cop. The film features the songs, "I'm the Ukulele Man", "On the Beat", "I Wish I Was Back on the Farm" and "I'm Shy".Beryl Reid makes her film debut in an uncredited role, while Ronald Shiner appears similarly uncredited, in the role of the Piano Mover and Tuner.
Working on the film as associate producer and writer, this production was an early assignment for director Basil Dearden: "it was relatively easy to fit the Formby films into the new demands thrown up by the war: whereas George had typically had to overcome rogues and villains in his 1930s films, these were now simply replaced by spies and saboteurs". [ page needed ]
The film title is a pun, using the colloquial term "copper" meaning a policeman, with the longer phrase "spare a copper" used by beggars - meaning can you spare a penny (which I might have).
Formby plays a bumbling War Reserve police officer called George Carter who aspires to become a member of the flying squad. The film is set in Merseyside where the battleship HMS Hercules is being built. A group of saboteurs are planning to blow it up. George manages to foil them. One of the saboteurs, called "Jake", is played by Bernard Lee. The saboteurs include fellow police officers who plan to shoot Formby in a remote area but he escapes in a motorised toy car. A crazy chase ensues ending in Formby going round and round a wall of death before foiling the plot.
The Goose Steps Out is a British film released in 1942, starring Will Hay, who also co-directed with Basil Dearden. It is a comedy of mistaken identity, with Hay acting as a German spy and also an Englishman who is his double. It was the film debut of Peter Ustinov.
Ralph Douglas Vladimir Slocombe OBE, BSC, ASC, GBCT was a British cinematographer, particularly known for his work at Ealing Studios in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as the first three Indiana Jones films. He won BAFTA Awards in 1964, 1975, and 1979, and was nominated for an Academy Award on three occasions.
Dorothy Hyson, Lady Quayle was a successful American film and stage actress who worked largely in England. During World War II, she worked as a cryptographer at Bletchley Park.
Basil Dearden was an English film director.
The Black Sheep of Whitehall is a 1942 British black-and-white comedy war film, directed by Will Hay and Basil Dearden, starring Will Hay, John Mills, Basil Sydney and Thora Hird in her screen debut. It was produced by Michael Balcon and Ealing Studios.
Trouble Brewing is a 1939 British comedy film directed by Anthony Kimmins and starring George Formby, Googie Withers and Gus McNaughton. It was made by Associated Talking Pictures, and includes the songs "Fanlight Fanny" and "Hitting the Highspots Now". The film is based on a novel by Joan Butler, and the sets were designed by art director Wilfred Shingleton.
Let George Do It! is a 1940 British black-and-white comedy musical war film directed by Marcel Varnel and starring George Formby. It was produced by Michael Balcon for Associated Talking Pictures and its successor, Ealing Studios, and distributed in the UK by ABFD. This was the first comedy from this studio to deal directly with the Second World War.
The Ship That Died of Shame, released in the United States as PT Raiders, is a black-and-white 1955 Ealing Studios crime film directed by Basil Dearden and starring George Baker, Richard Attenborough and Bill Owen.
Saraband for Dead Lovers is a 1948 British historical drama film directed by Basil Dearden and starring Stewart Granger and Joan Greenwood. It is based on the novel by Helen Simpson. Set in seventeenth-century Hanover, it depicts the doomed romance between Philip Christoph von Königsmarck and Sophia Dorothea of Celle, the wife of the Elector of Hanover. The saraband mentioned in the title is a type of Spanish dance.
Ronald Alfred Shiner was a British stand-up comedian and comedy actor whose career encompassed film, West End theatre and music hall.
Who Done It? is a 1956 British comedy film directed by Basil Dearden and starring Benny Hill, Belinda Lee, David Kossoff, Garry Marsh, and George Margo. One of the last Ealing comedies, it was Benny Hill's film debut.
Out of the Clouds is a 1955 British drama film directed by Basil Dearden and starring Anthony Steel, Robert Beatty and James Robertson Justice. An Ealing Studios production, the film is composed of small stories dealing with the passengers and crew on a day at London Airport.
Cage of Gold is a 1950 British drama film directed by Basil Dearden, and starring Jean Simmons, David Farrar, and James Donald.
The Mind Benders is a 1963 British thriller film produced by Michael Relph, directed by Basil Dearden and starring Dirk Bogarde, Mary Ure, John Clements, Michael Bryant and Wendy Craig. Screenwriter James Kennaway turned his screenplay into his 1963 novel of the same name.
I See Ice is a 1938 British comedy film directed by Anthony Kimmins and starring George Formby, Kay Walsh and Betty Stockfeld. The film depicts the adventures of a photographer working for a London newspaper. It features the songs "In My Little Snapshot Album", "Noughts And Crosses" and "Mother What'll I Do Now".
Come On George! is a 1939 British comedy film directed by Anthony Kimmins which stars George Formby, with Pat Kirkwood and Joss Ambler in support. It was made by Associated Talking Pictures. Hal Erickson wrote in Allmovie, "Come on George! was a product of George Formby's peak movie years." It concerns the world of horse racing, and Formby, who had once been a stable apprentice, did his own riding in the film. Songs featured are "I'm Making Headway Now", "I Couldn't Let The Stable Down", "Pardon Me", and "Goodnight Little Fellow, Goodnight".
Feather Your Nest is a 1937 British musical comedy film directed by William Beaudine and starring George Formby, Polly Ward and Enid Stamp-Taylor.
Bell-Bottom George is a 1943 black and white British comedy musical film, directed by Marcel Varnel, starring George Formby and Anne Firth. A wartime morale buster, it features the songs, "Swim Little Fish", "It Serves You Right", "If I Had A Girl Like You" and "Bell Bottom George." Future Carry On star Charles Hawtrey appears in a small role.
Ray Pitt was a British film editor who spent much of his career at Ealing Studios working on films such as the George Formby comedy vehicles Come On George! (1939) and Spare a Copper (1940) as well as on more serious productions such as the Second World War film Convoy (1940). He later worked at Hammer Films.
British comedy films are comedy films produced in the United Kingdom. In the early 1930s, film adaptations of stage farces were popular. British comedy films are numerous, but among the most notable are the Ealing comedies, the 1950s work of the Boulting Brothers, and innumerable popular comedy series including the St Trinian's films, the Doctor series, and the long-running Carry On films. Some of the best known British film comedy stars include Will Hay, George Formby, Norman Wisdom, Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and the Monty Python team. Other actors associated with British comedy films include Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, Margaret Rutherford, Irene Handl and Leslie Phillips. Most British comedy films of the early 1970s were spin-offs of television series.