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Demobbed U rating

Nat Jackley and Norman Evans offer marvellous music hall mayhem in this offbeat feature from the heyday of variety.

Comedy 1944 94 mins

Director: John E. Blakeley


Rubber-necked variety legend Nat Jackley, later described by The Guardian as Master of a Hundred Funny Walks, is at the peak of his powers in this slam-bang northern comedy bonanza. Made by low-budget producers Mancunian Films, the action is based around a group of demobbed soldiers looking for work towards the end of WWII. Providing silly slapstick support are Norman Evans, Betty Jumel and Dan Young.

Amidst a scattergun barrage of comic chaos, designed to appeal to provincial audiences, Jackley performs his 'At the Ball' dance with Betty Jumel and Norman Evans does his 'Over the Garden Wall' routine (which inspired television sketches featuring Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough). There's an exhilarating air of anarchy and subversion about the distinctly working-class-friendly attitudes and antics of Jackley and his cohorts. You may even get the impression that they're not taking the well-spoken middle class cast members entirely seriously.