This film is part of Free

Captain Busby The Even Tenour of Her Ways

Quentin Crisp made his acting debut in this surreal short based on a poem by Philip O'Connor.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1967 16 mins


Based on a surreal poem by Philip O'Connor, Captain Busby is truly a curate's egg. The first half of Ann Wolff's BFI-funded short sees the eponymous captain (played by O'Connor) enacting the bizarre actions of the verse, chewing his beard, bouncing through a window and "frowning at a passing ceiling". In the second half, a curious interplay involving a carrot unfolds at a railway station.

What does it all mean? Even if you can't make head nor tail of it, enjoy the pleasingly peculiar rhymes and rhythms, the arresting visuals and, above all, a rare acting role for Quentin Crisp as the stationmaster. O'Connor and Crisp, two very British eccentrics, were to become close friends until the former’s death in 1998.