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Something Funny

Looking for a different class of comedy? Take in these mirthly pleasures; left-field laughs from outside the comedy canon.

Humour is subjective, so they say, and the films here might not top your typical rib-ticklers’ league tables. But for our money these are amusements supreme; comedy at its most subtle, sophisticated and surreal.

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Something Funny
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Unrelated 2007 15

On a Tuscan break a fortysomething woman finds herself drawn to the company of a group of partying teens, including a young Tom Hiddleston (in one of his earliest roles).

96 mins United Kingdom Director. Joanna Hogg

Long before Loki, Tom Hiddlestone charmed as the teenage boy tempting forty-something Anna (Kathryn Worth) during a sun-kissed Tuscan holiday.

Its subtle dissection of bourgeois embarrassment brought comparison with Eric Rohmer; Derek Malcolm called it "one of the best, and most original, British films of the year."

View The Gigolos
The Gigolos

The Gigolos 2006 12

A highly original comedy following a pair of professional male escorts and their interactions with their lonely, over-50s 'regulars'.

95 mins United Kingdom Director. Richard Bracewell

Richard Bracewell’s self-funded film about the male professional escort scene is understated, yet intricately formed.

With delicious performances from Susannah York and Anna Massey as the gigolos’ clients, this is a film that “concentrates on the small grace-notes of human encounters.” (Variety)

View The Falls
The Falls

The Falls 1980 PG

Peter Greenaway's epic first feature, constructed as an excerpt from an imagined, filmic directory listing everyone affected by VUE – the Violent Unknown Event

185 mins United Kingdom Director. Peter Greenaway

A three-hour experimental film from Peter Greenaway might not seem an obvious mine for comic gold, but there is much hilarity here.

A bizarre anthology of mock biographies, it delivers its absurdist dialogue in a deadpan solemnity that foreshadows the style of Chris Morris. ("Her body reabsorbed her breasts.")

View Penny Points to Paradise
Penny Points to Paradise

Penny Points to Paradise 1951 U

The first screen outing for Goons Show stars Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe is a cheerful comic escapade set in Brighton.

72 mins United Kingdom Director. Tony Young

These two films shot just before The Goons’ began broadcasting capture the zany genesis of Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe, on the cusp of comedy greatness.

View Let's Go Crazy
Let's Go Crazy

Let's Go Crazy 1951 U

Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan shine in a series of sketches and multiple roles, in this madcap mixture of music-hall and anarchic comedy.

33 mins United Kingdom Director. Alan J. Cullimore

View Fun at St. Fanny's
Fun at St. Fanny's

Fun at St. Fanny's 1955 U

Ronnie Corbett features in this quick-fire vintage classroom caper, featuring enough old jokes to fill a Christmas cracker factory.

77 mins United Kingdom Director. Maurice Elvey

School settings are a long-established staple of British comedy, from Carry on Teacher to St Trinian’s

St Fanny’s might not be so high up the league tables but the laughs come thick and fast in this tale of a gormless heir held back in class into his mid-twenties.

View La Règle du jeu
La Règle du jeu

La Règle du jeu 1939 PG

Renoir's depiction of an intransigent society teetering towards disaster was derided upon release and only later acclaimed as one of cinema’s most vital films.

84 mins France

Considered one of the greatest films ever, Renoir’s subversive comedy of manners masterfully punctures the pre-war pomposity of France’s gilded classes.

Renoir combines satiric bite with ingenious framing that captures multiple actions in the same shot, prefiguring the later work of Jacques Tati.

View The Slappiest Days of Our Lives
The Slappiest Days of Our Lives

The Slappiest Days of Our Lives 1953 PG

A young Peter Sellers voices this compilation film of silent slapstick footage, featuring Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Laurel & Hardy.

76 mins United Kingdom

Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Laurel & Hardy and many more of the greatest stars of silent comedy feature in this 1950s slapstick compilation.

While it’s inferior to the original works and fairly crudely compiled at times, it’s an enjoyable introduction to early film comedy, enlivened by Peter Sellers’ dextrous voice-work.

View The Master of the House
The Master of the House

The Master of the House 1925 U

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s richly detailed tragicomedy of domestic manners is by turns funny, intensely emotional and deeply affecting.

107 mins Denmark Director. Carl Th. Dreyer

The austere reputation of Danish master Carl Th. Dreyer isn't usually associated with laughs, but this early satire of patriarchy remains delightful.

Today it seems surprisingly modern for both its focus on women’s rights and its sophisticated, compassionate humour.

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