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T.9753 (6 reel 9.5mm sound release by Pathéscope December 1954)
"DOWN AMONG THE Z MEN" GB Oct1952 Dir: Maclean Rogers ---------------------- E.J. Fancey Productions 71mins B/W Cert "U" Produced by: E.J. Fancey (Approx 50mins on 9.5) Distributed by: New Realm Pictures Ltd Produced at Kay Carlton Hill Studios, Maida Vale (UK) Story by: Jimmy Grafton and Francis Charles Associate Producer: Jimmy Grafton Photography: Geoffrey Faithfull Camera Operator: Oscar Burn Assistant Director: Jimmy Shingfield Art Direction: Don Russell Make-Up: Peter Armsten (actually Armston) Film Editing: Peter Mayhew Sound Recordist: Charles Parkhouse Music: Jack Jordan Lyrics: James Douglas (ie Jimmy Grafton) Choreographer: Leslie Roberts
Also known as "Stand Easy"; "The Goon Show Movie" and "Goon Movie"
Songs: Carol Carr sings; "Down Among the Z Men" and "If This Is Love"
Harry Secombe Carole Carr The Twelve TV Toppers
Cast: Harry Secombe .......... Harry Jones Michael Bentine ........ Professor Osrick Purehart Spike Milligan ......... Private Eccles Peter Sellers .......... Colonel Bloodnok Carole Carr ............ Carole Daly Leslie Roberts' Twelve Toppers (Dancers) Clifford Stanton ....... Stanton Robert Cawdron ......... Sergeant Bullshine Andrew Timothy ......... Captain Evans Graham Stark ........... Spider Russ Allen ............. Elizabeth Kearns ....... Girl in shop Miriam Carlin .......... Woman in shop Sidney Vivian .......... Landlord Eunice Gayson .......... Officer's wife Richard Turner ......... Josiah Crabbe Howell Evans, Rufus Cruikshank, Adrienne Scott, Judy Horton, Jane Morrison
Shop assistant Harry Jones wants to be a detective. A couple of spies (Andrew Timothy and Graham Stark) trick him into following Professor Purehart, inventor of a secret atomic formula, to Warwell Military Research Station. Harry is forced to join the Army - the 'Z' reserve - meets the local commander Colonel Bloodnok and an MI5 girl (Carole Carr) posing as the Colonel's daughter .....
Watch "Down Among the Z Men" on You Tube: http://youtu.be/AwbHK11sgqY (plus 6 other parts!)
Available on a
1. "Down Among the Z Men", which supposedly had it's world premier at the Troxy, Fratton Road, Portsmouth (I grew up a few miles away in Emsworth - I would have been 7 years old at the time) became quite a cult film, being about the only film to feature all of the Goons - Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine - famous for their madcap comedy radio series "The Goon Show". It is said it made thousands of pounds from the cinema re-releases. Even today the DVD, issued by various obscure companies retails at around £15. Sadly the remains of the Fancey empire have long lost the rights, so that others are now still cashing in.
2. Sadly little of the 'Goon' humour gets into the film. It appears E.J. Fancey had no idea of 'Goon' humour and couldn't understand the voices so told them to 'act normally'. Peter Sellers is quoted as saying (about "Down Among the Z Men") - "we were working with crap. We thought well it didn't matter what you did, it's Hollywood! This is it! But this film fellow said, "They don't understand that Goon stuff - You've got to give it to them on the nail. And don't do any of them funny voices, because they don't understand 'em either...".
3. A Goon Show enthusiast points out that although Bloodnok is a Major in the radio series, for no reason at all, in the film he has become a Colonel. Alas this Bloodnok is completely different from the deranged BBC character. There he was a thieving, lecherous, cowardly villian - but in the movie he is a normal, likeable middle-aged man. Peter Sellers plays him virtually straight and understated. (It should be noted that at the time of filming Sellers was 27, but certainly looks a great deal older. Carole Carr, the MI5 girl who poses as his adult daughter was just two years younger!)
4. Carole Carr sings "Down Among the Z Men" (which is in the 9.5mm print) and "If This Is Love" which the Pathéscope editor cut out. Also missing from the 9.5mm print is a scene near the beginning when MI5 decide the professor needs protection, a section where the spies waylay the new adjutant and a lengthy section where Milligan and Secombe oversee a PT lesson with the leggy Leslie Roberts' TV Toppers.
5. The opening shots in the film are in Denham village, Buckinghamshire, UK Does anyone know where the old army camp used for Warwell is?
6. Adrienne Scott was actually Edwin Fancey's daughter. He himself often also used the surname Scott in his film credits.
7. There is a brief glimpse of stand-up variety theatre as Bentine does a routine with a chair back and Sellers does a routine about American soldiers avoiding a Panzar division where he impersonates a private and a lieutenant.
8. The shooting schedule was reported to be just two weeks. When Sellers discussed his approach to the scenes, director Maclean Rogers said "I've got eight minutes of screen time to shoot each day - just do it quickly!" Only one take of each shot was expected unless a disaster occured!
(Info from gln, Maurice Trace & the late Denis Gifford) ZT-9753/gln/18.11.2013
UK cinema poster
UK cinema 'front-of-house' stills
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Created 18Nov2013 ...... Last updated: 29 December 2015 ......
95flmcatt9753.htm ......©MMX111 Grahame L. Newnham
09Jan2015 - two front-of-house stills added