Want to escape our troubled times? Immerse yourself in the emotional, life-enhancing pleasures of the musical.

Our Free collection highlights the history of the British musical, which took on assorted early manifestations under the guise of adverts, filmed performances, revue shows and star vehicles. But there are some some real ground-breaking delights to be sampled here, including Britain's first colour widescreen musical (Five Guineas a Week), the first feature shot on location in Ulster (Devil's Rock) and the extraordinary The Rise and Fall of Nellie Brown, a rare surviving 60s TV musical with a female black lead.

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Five Guineas a WeekFive Guineas a Week

Musical195633 mins

1950s song and dance revue set in a colourful world of boarding houses and coffee bars

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Devil's RockDevil's Rock

Musical193851 mins Location: Bangor

Will new open-air microphone technology give Richard Hayward the chance to silence his critics? Watch as Cushendun and Bangor steal the show.

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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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The Rise and Fall of Nellie BrownThe Rise and Fall of Nellie Brown

Musical196470 mins Location: Liverpool

An incredibly joyous TV musical about a young woman's search for her long-lost cousin.

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Twinkling FingersTwinkling Fingers

Musical194011 mins

Pianists Charlie Kunz and Mark Hambourg tickle the ivories for our entertainment in this jolly musical short.

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Song of ToledoSong of Toledo

Musical195331 mins

This merrily musical short film takes a jovial trip across picturesque 1950s Spain aboard the Talgo Express

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Musical Motorcycles - Cachito cha cha cha (Coursée)Musical Motorcycles - Cachito cha cha cha (Coursée)

Performance19613 mins

The musical motorcycles hit Paris to a Cuban vibe.

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There's Reason in RhumbaThere's Reason in Rhumba

Musical193912 mins

Rhythm and romanticism rules over realism in this recreation of the origins of the rhumba dance

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Advert193815 mins

See silly slapstick, music, mayhem and a daffy dance-off between a carrot and an onion in this lively colour film advertising Co-op stores.

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Musical194317 mins

Short revue film starring female performers Renara, Irene Cutter and Shirley Lenner, plus Harry Parry and his Band.

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Happy in the Morning: A Film FantasyHappy in the Morning: A Film Fantasy

Advert193812 minsSilent

Musical performers Henry Hall and his Orchestra hog the limelight in this promotional film, ostensibly for Ascot gas water heaters.

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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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Bob in the PoundBob in the Pound

Advert19432 minsSilent

Fun-filled singalong savings ad with a dangerously catchy theme tune.

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Comedy194068 mins Location: Highbury

This morale-boosting variety extravaganza – filled with radio personality Carroll Levis' discoveries - is like a wartime Britain's Got Talent.

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Miss Norah BlaneyMiss Norah Blaney

Musical19329 mins

A risqué music hall ditty uncovers the pioneering gender-bending ways of 1930s young things

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Musical194510 mins

Set during rehearsals for a cabaret show, this short film features singer Rosalind Melville.

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Hot Water and VegetabuelHot Water and Vegetabuel

Comedy19289 mins

"Don't be cruel to a vegetabuel": delightful pair of music hall numbers from the eccentric writer of Jollity Farm.

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Sweethearts ForeverSweethearts Forever

Musical194534 mins

Feast your eyes on a bewildering barrage of forgotten British variety turns in this strange low-budget novelty short from 1945.

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Gorno's Italian MarionettesGorno's Italian Marionettes

Musical19286 mins

Early sound film of a popular stage puppet show that reveals the unpleasant stereotypes of its age.

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Comedy193083 mins

Great songs and great legs in this all-male revue make for an evocative early talkie.

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Let's Ask the LadiesLet's Ask the Ladies

Musical193723 mins

A Co-op window dresser dreams of his mannequins coming to life in this musical fashion fantasy.

More from Musicals! in our Rentals collection.

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Song of the BuilderSong of the Builder

Musical19362 mins

A mystery musical short - gorgeous footage of steelworkers with a lively calypso soundtrack

More from Musicals! in our Subscription collection.