Comedy Genius

Celebrating side-splitting film and TV, from slapstick legends to today's anarchic voices.

Fooling about became a fine art through the early decades of cinema, but comedy genius is too often under-recognised.

It’s the gift of perfect timing, an expertly executed sight-gag, a zinging wise-crack, a giddy rush of manic energy. Whether perfectly choreographed, brutally raw, or conjured out of improvisation and collaboration, the best comedy is ultimately disruptive.

It punctures pomposity, and blows a raspberry at social convention: the proto-feminist whiplash of screwball wit, the rambunctious working-class revolt of Carry On, the purposeful anarchy of alternative comedy.

Our three online collections (Rentals, Subscription, Free) celebrate the changing face of what – and who – we find funny.

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The Perfect WomanThe Perfect Woman

Comedy194987 mins

In a bid to improve on nature, a scientist creates a robot female. But the experiment doesn't quite turn out as planned...

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Le PetomaneLe Petomane

Comedy197933 mins

The immortal Leonard Rossiter makes flatulence a fine art in this short, poignant comedy-drama from Hancock writers Galton and Simpson

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Tilly and the Fire EnginesTilly and the Fire Engines

Comedy19112 minsSilent

Mischievous sisters Tilly and Sally borrow a fire engine and take it for a joy ride in this spirited film comedy.

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Something Completely DifferentSomething Completely Different

19744 minsSilent Location: Doune

Join John Cleese and the cast of Monty Python and the Holy Grail on location in Scotland

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Arthur? Arthur!Arthur? Arthur!

Comedy1969101 mins Location: Camden

A hen-pecked inventor plots murder while he leads a bizarre double life as a bewigged playboy who runs a dating agency

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Comedy194880 mins

A man goes fishing and comes home with a most unusual catch in this comedy feature.

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Is This a Record?Is This a Record?

Comedy197322 mins

Pythons join Frank Muir, Connie Booth and Willie Rushton celebrating the Guinness Book of Records.

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Shooting StarsShooting Stars

Comedy193732 mins

Black music hall stars Scott and Whaley perform stereotypical minstrel routines in blackface in this 1937 touring revue.

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Morecambe and Wise - Be Wise Don't Drink and Drive Morecambe and Wise - Be Wise Don't Drink and Drive

Public Information Filler19631 mins

Ernie tells Eric to ‘be wise’ and not drive home after their Christmas party

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A Couple of BeautiesA Couple of Beauties

Comedy197229 mins

Innuendo-laden crime caper, a star vehicle for Manchester-based drag queen Bunny Lewis

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It All Goes to ShowIt All Goes to Show

Comedy197027 mins Location: Margate

Arthur Lowe is hilarious as a hen-pecked husband in this cheeky seaside-set comedy, shot in Margate.

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Comedy201510 mins

After Martin Stevens is killed in a car accident he finds himself in a waiting room, pending judgement.

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The Happy FamilyThe Happy Family

Comedy195282 mins

A defiant London family fights valiantly to retain their South Bank home in this cheerful comedy set around 1951's Festival of Britain.

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Britannia of BillingsgateBritannia of Billingsgate

Comedy193378 mins Location: Southwark Park

A star is born in this effervescent musical comedy that moves between Billingsgate Fish Market and the glamour of the film world.

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No Monkey BusinessNo Monkey Business

Comedy193678 mins

A man goes ape when his boss' performing monkey is impounded by creditors.

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Charlie Drake tees offCharlie Drake tees off

Comedy19621 minsSilent Location: Devon

Drake muses on why he carries two pairs of trousers - just in case he has a hole in one.

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Roy Hudd in TorquayRoy Hudd in Torquay

Comedy19664 mins Location: Torquay

Roy Hudd plays to a sell-out Princess Theatre.

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Terry-Thomas returns to the stageTerry-Thomas returns to the stage

Comedy19724 mins Location: Torquay

Terry-Thomas talks effusively in this interview about his return to the stage. 

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Arthur Askey on How to Become a Dentist Lesson 1. How to PullArthur Askey on How to Become a Dentist Lesson 1. How to Pull

Advert19472 mins

Big-hearted Arthur Askey gets to grips with dentistry in this silly little advert for Gibbs SR toothpaste.

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Billy Burden Local YokelBilly Burden Local Yokel

Comedy197912 mins Location: Torquay

Local yokel comedian who delivered dialect and dialogue wherever he went.

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Bob Hope in PlymouthBob Hope in Plymouth

Comedy19621 mins Location: Plymouth

Bob Hope disembarks the Queen Elizabeth II in Plymouth.

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Turn-Up for TonyTurn-Up for Tony

Comedy196829 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

A Tyne Tees Television comedy romance is a forgotten gem from a 1960s decade of radical urban change in Newcastle.

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The Over-amorous ArtistThe Over-amorous Artist

Sex comedy197445 mins Location: Walton on the Hill

Sample smutty suburban hijinks of an ultra-low budget kind in this shamelessly seedy 1970s sex comedy

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The Inn Way OutThe Inn Way Out

196730 mins

A man encounters all sorts of strange places and people when he goes out for cigarettes

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The BoatThe Boat

Comedy197522 mins Location: Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve

Scots comedian Chic Murray stars in this gentle comedy short about a man who inherits his uncle’s boat

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Comedy199811 mins Location: Belfast

Black comedy about a teenage idealist who builds a bomb, hijacks a lorry and sets off on a most peculiar mission.

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Amateur film19653 minsSilent

An experience many of us will be able to relate to, though there wouldn’t have been someone around to film the comic consequences.

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Bless 'em AllBless 'em All

Comedy194871 mins

AWOL for more than half a century, but now back on parade, this cheery army comedy is a showcase for variety star Hal Monty and a young Max Bygraves.

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Green Grow the RushesGreen Grow the Rushes

Comedy195178 mins Location: New Romney

Brandy-smuggling locals resist government interference in this Ealing-esque comedy, filmed on Romney Marsh

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Animation & Artists Moving Image199141 mins Location: Limehouse

Deliciously dark psychodrama about a Docklands bus driver who turns his family home into a second Noah's ark.

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The Missing LinkThe Missing Link

Comedy19172 minsSilent

British comic Lupino Lane stars in this surviving fragment from one of his earliest films, a slapstick school romp

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The DummyThe Dummy

Comedy191619 minsSilent

Lupino Lane comedy filmed in London before he became a Hollywood legend

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A La CarteA La Carte

Amateur film19659 mins Location: Colchester

Messy slapstick comedy featuring an ineptitude waiter, presented by Colchester Cine Club and starring an ensemble cast of club members.

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Kate Plus TenKate Plus Ten

Crime193880 mins

Laughs and thrills come thick and fast in this Edgar Wallace comedy-thriller with a hair-raising car versus train chase.

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Comedy19678 mins

Surreal comedy for a post-apocalyptic landscape.

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The Ghost TrainThe Ghost Train

Comedy193139 mins

Surviving footage of the first sound version of Arnold Ridley's famous railway station comedy thriller

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Hobson's ChoiceHobson's Choice

Comedy192080 minsSilent

The first film adaptation of Harold Brighouse's Salford-set play, humorously depicting the travails of a dipsomaniac cobbler.

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Sharps and FlatsSharps and Flats

Comedy191511 minsSilent

The Bamforth Company translate their saucy seaside postcard humour into film comedy.

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Scottie and the FrogsScottie and the Frogs

Comedy19157 minsSilent

A mischievous youth causes havoc with his amphibian-assisted antics.

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Pimple in the WhipPimple in the Whip

Comedy191722 minsSilent

Hilariously shambolic parody of an equestrian stage smash, by the prolific entertainer Pimple

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Pimple Has OnePimple Has One

Comedy19156 minsSilent

The mischievous Pimple takes to the bottle in this entertaining comedy

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Pimple's UnclePimple's Uncle

Comedy191514 minsSilent

This daft comedy stars funny-duo Fred and Joe Evans in a battle to secure an inheritance from an insane uncle.

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Wife the Weaker VesselWife the Weaker Vessel

Comedy191510 minsSilent

A henpecked husband plots revenge on his boastful bachelor friend by marrying him to a seemingly meek girl who turns out to be anything but.

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A Seaside IntroductionA Seaside Introduction

Comedy19114 minsSilent Location: Brighton

A beach flirtation gets complicated when a thief makes off with a woman's shoes in this fun comedy

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I Do Like to Be Where the Girls AreI Do Like to Be Where the Girls Are

19123 mins

A jaunty song with a pantomime air is matched to its original audio recording in this Vivaphone film from Cecil Hepworth.

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Tilly's PartyTilly's Party

Comedy19117 minsSilent

Irrepressible sister act Tilly and Sally throw a party - of sorts - in this chaotic comedy caper.

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Tilly the Tomboy Visits the PoorTilly the Tomboy Visits the Poor

Comedy19106 minsSilent

Tilly and her sister Sally cause chaos when they visit an elderly, bedridden neighbour

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A Seaside GirlA Seaside Girl

Comedy19075 minsSilent Location: Bognor Regis

At the seaside, a young Edwardian lady is pursued by three suitors, but which one will win her hand?

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Mike Murphy As Picture ActorMike Murphy As Picture Actor

Comedy19146 minsSilent

Cut! An aspiring thespian runs amok on a film set in this slapstick silent comedy.

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Tubby's Rest CureTubby's Rest Cure

Comedy191615 minsSilent

WWI conscription has whisked away all the young men, leaving the girls so man-hungry that even Tubby looks attractive!

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Tubby's TypewriterTubby's Typewriter

Comedy191611 minsSilent

Newlywed Tubby fancies another man's typewriter and ends up in hot water with his new wife

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Old Maid's ValentineOld Maid's Valentine

Comedy19001 minsSilent

Early comedy in which a cruel joke is played on an old maid

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The Kiss in the TunnelThe Kiss in the Tunnel

Comedy18992 minsSilent

A snatched kiss in a railway tunnel, played by real-life married couple GA Smith and Laura Bayley

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Two ClownsTwo Clowns

Interest film19062 minsSilent

A showcase for GA Smith’s patented Kinemacolor process, based around a suitably colourful subject

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The Magic GlassThe Magic Glass

Comedy191412 minsSilent

An inventor develops a magnifying glass that can see though solid objects, but when he uses it on his family it proves more curse than boon...

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The Mystic GloveThe Mystic Glove

Comedy19145 minsSilent

Bizarre comedy in which an overfed diner has a peculiar dream involving a spectre and magical gloves.

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The Man Who Never Made GoodThe Man Who Never Made Good

Comedy19148 minsSilent Location: Croydon

A bungling bumpkin fails at a number of jobs in this slapstick comedy - before he finds his true calling.

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Are We Down-hearted?Are We Down-hearted?

Musical19113 mins

Cecil Hepworth’s Vivaphone film features Hay Plumb singing George Robins’ optimistic 1906 ditty.

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An Engagement of ConvenienceAn Engagement of Convenience

Comedy191416 minsSilent

Silent British star Alma Taylor finds love in this dramatic short, which packs forgery, blackmail and romance into its 15-minute running time.

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Cinemagazine19222 minsSilent

Will Hay and M’lita Dolores play a pair of spoiled brats squabbling over a menagerie of mechanical toys.

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