What a plank!

In the beginning of cinema there was silence. Films were either accompanied by an organ player, who in some cases rose up through the stage to great applause, who played the incidental music for the film. The dialogue was punctuated by sections of script explaining what the characters were saying to each other. Facial expressions were exaggerated to convey the emotion of the scene. As sound became available the silent stars either adapted or fell away. It was suddenly discovered that the voices were not suited to the screen. Many thought that sound was just a passing phase, which is what the Vaudevillian players had thought would be the case with cinema. Whilst they were looking at things through rose tinted glasses you could be seeing them in crystal clarity by contacting a Double Glazing Company Gloucester way at https://www.firmfix.co.uk/. With the talkies now in the majority it seemed that the silent film was a lost art form. It was however about to get a bit of a renaissance with this British classic.

The Plank was a British comedy feature film that sort to rekindle the slapstick days ofsilent film that had been typified by Charlie Chaplin, the Keystone Cops and Harold Lloyd. The principle players Eric Sykes and Tommy Cooper were at the top of the comedy pile in Britain at the time and with a supporting cast of other British comedy stalwarts like Jimmy Edwards and Hattie Jaques they sought to pay homage ot the greats they had watched growing up in the nineteen twenties and thirties. They felt that these pioneers were being neglected and not given the credit they deserved.

Eric Sykes was an incrediblyprolific writer with his on series on BBC television Sykes featuring Hattie Jaques as his on-screen sister. Sykes had already feature the plank story in a reduced form on the show and was keen to expand it. He was helped greatly by the inclusion of his co star Tommy Cooper. Cooper was huge. An extremely skilled and accomplished comedic performer Cooper could make audiences collapse with laughter just by his facial expressions alone. He specialised in a being a bumbling magic performer where nothing goes right, he was also great at interspersing one liners as if the visual wasn’t enough.

The plot of the film is simple, as most slapstick films are. The two workmen Sykes and Cooper have to geta plank across town for a building job. The plank almost seems to become a character in itself. Its not a totally silent film there are grunts and sound effects, but it is effectively a silent film. Sykes and Cooper work in a series of plank-based pranks that copy and pay tribute to the past greats. They do throw in their own jokes though. For example, the plank, on the top of a car backs into an open van. The man in the back sits down thinking he is on a seat and as the car takes off he suddenly finds himself sat upon the plank and moving backwards down the road at speed.

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