19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A Very British Homage to the Silent Greats.,
This review is from: The Plank [DVD] (DVD)
It has taken me a long time to get around to watching this little masterpiece, but the wait has been amply rewarded. I have long thought Eric Sykes to be a hugely gifted comedian, and here he showcases his talents as both writer and director. He has assembled a who's who of British comic talent of the period. Jimmy Edwards is memorable as a policeman with an eye for the girls, and Jim Dale adds a carry on flavour to proceedings. John Junkin is hilarious as a one eyed van driver. The late great Roy Castle perhaps steals the honours as a long haired youngster who falls in a refuse lorry much to everyone elses consternation.
The film does not really have a story as such, you merely follow the adventures of two workmen, played by Eric Sykes and the brilliant Tommy Cooper as they collect a plank to finish off the floor of a new house they are working on. The plank becomes involved in many hilarious adventures. The film is extremely innovative and unique in style. It is a very British silent film comedy, although you can hear some brief vocals and other background noises. The film is Sykes own tribute to the great silent comedians of the past, who were obviously an influence on him. Those comedians were forced to be highly innovative without the assistance of sound, and they found many ways to do just that. Look at Keaton in "The General" and Chaplin in "The Gold Rush" to evidence the myriad routes to originality. The film also reminded me much of the epic travails of Laurel and Hardy in "The Music Box", where they battled with a piano up a never ending flight of now immortalized Hollywood steps. These two greats had also honed their comedic skills in the silent cinema and also demonstrated how to get laughs out of inanimate objects like planks. Sykes follows in that great tradition and who could imagine that one plank of wood could garner such a harvest of laughs. Watch out for the window cleaner and the beer, my own favourite.
If you have a love of slapstick humour and loved those old silent comedy greats then this is the film for you. In a uniquely British way this film pays a fitting homage to those giants of the silent era. Those who yearn for a bit of nostalgia will love to see all the sights of sixties London brought briefly back to life. The film was remade for TV in 1979, again starring Eric Sykes. But why remake a classic? Highly entertaining.