The Sandwich Man (1966 film)

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The Sandwich Man
"The Sandwich Man" (1966).jpg
Film Poster
Directed by Robert Hartford-Davis
Written by Michael Bentine
Robert Hartford-Davis
Produced by Peter Newbrook
StarringMichael Bentine
Dora Bryan
Harry H. Corbett
CinematographyPeter Newbrook
Edited by Peter Taylor
Music by Mike Vickers
Titan International Pictures
Distributed by Rank Film Distributors
Release date
July 1966
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£214,452 [1]

The Sandwich Man is a 1966 British comedy film directed by Robert Hartford-Davis and written by Hartford-Davis and Michael Bentine. The film also stars Bentine, with support from Dora Bryan, Harry H. Corbett, Bernard Cribbins, Diana Dors, Norman Wisdom, Terry-Thomas, Ian Hendry, and numerous other British character actors.


Plot synopsis

Bentine plays the lead role, that of Horace Quilby, a mild-mannered widower living in the London Docklands. His job as a sandwich-board man requires him to wander around London wearing immaculate morning dress (top hat and tails) and carrying advertisements. He is also secretary of the Sandwichmen's Brotherhood. However, his real interest in life is pigeon racing – especially his bird 'Esmerelda', which is racing from Bordeaux to London – so he keeps calling at places on his route to see if there is any news. [2]

The action takes place on the streets of London. There is plenty of local colour: red London Transport RT buses are often in view, together with all manner of cars (from saloons and hansom cab taxis to chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royces) and vans. [2]

During the course of one day, Quilby encounters a host of eccentric characters, who are played by an ensemble cast of Britain's best known comedy and character actors. The film is deliberately extremely episodic: one mildly amusing sequence follows another, with stars fleetingly appearing in a cameo role and sometimes just appearing in a background. [2]

Quilby becomes involved in a series of capers:-

Quilby's homing pigeon Esmerelda wins the race, and the whole of his neighbourhood joins in the celebrations.



The film was the second in a short-lived series of co-productions between the NFFC and Rank. [3] Diana Dors had recently moved back to London after several years in the USA. [4]


The film was poorly received at the time of its release, critically and commercially, [5] but has since achieved some attention, especially for its backdrop of London in the Swinging Sixties.

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  1. Petrie, p. 10
  2. 1 2 3 Best Of British magazine, September 2022, p. 65
  3. Petrie, p. 7–8
  4. Vagg, Stephen (7 September 2020). "A Tale of Two Blondes: Diana Dors and Belinda Lee". Filmink.
  5. Petrie, p. 13–14