In their interview Ray Galton and Alan Simpson told us they had a three picture deal with Tony Hancock. The first – The Rebel, was a huge success, the scriptwriters submitted an idea for a second which was rejected by Hancock as he wanted somthing with a more “international” theme. Two years after Galton and Simpson had parted company with Hancock, he resurrected the idea alongside his childhood memories of Bournemouth and working with script writer Phillip Oakes. The result was the 1963 film – The Punch and Judy Man, not quite the international feel that Hancock had in mind, but it did give him his second big screen outing and as it turned out his last.
A number of actors from Hancock’s successful BBC television series, Hancock’s Half Hour, also appeared in supporting roles, these were: John Le Mesurier, Hugh Lloyd, Mario Fabrizi and (briefly) Hattie Jacques.
Although well received the film did not match the success of The Rebel.
It’s 1963 and we’re in the (fictional) seaside town of Piltdown. here we meet Wally Pinner, the unhappily married Punch and Judy Man. Wally and the other beach entertainers, the Sandman who makes sand sculptures and Neville the photographer, all of whom find themselves socially unacceptable to the town’s snobbish elite.
Wally’s wife, Delia , runs a seaside curios shop, below their flat. Delia has socially ambitions.
When it is announced that Lady Jane Caterham is to switch on the town’s illuminations, she decides To that in order to help her ambitions she needs to have Wally invited to entertain at the official reception for Lady Jane. So at the Mayoress’ suggestion the Reception Committee invites Wally to entertain.
Things do not go according to plan when when Wally’s electric shaver shorts out some of the lights, causing some of the illuminated signs to display unflattering comments about the town, thus plunging the illumination ceremony in to a farce. Things get no better when one of the drunken guests heckles Punch, and when Lady Jane rounds on Wally, Delia in turn floors her with a punch.
With her dreams of social acceptance are gone, Wally and Delia retire, wiser and closer.
Tony Hancock — Wally Pinner
Sylvia Syms — Delia Pinner
Ronald Fraser — Mayor
Barbara Murray — Lady Caterham
John Le Mesurier — The Sandman
Norman Bird — Committee Man
Kevin Brennan — Landlord
Eddie Byrne — Ice Cream Assistant
Norman Chappell — Footman
Mario Fabrizi — Nevile Shanks
Carole Ann Ford — Girl in seaside kiosk
Gerald Harper — First Drunk
Walter Hudd — Clergyman
Hattie Jacques — Dolly Zarathusa, the Fortune Teller
Hugh Lloyd — Edward Cox
Michael Ripper — Waiter
Peter Vaughan — Committee Man
Russell Waters — Bobby Bachelor
Written By: Philip Oakes and Tony Hancock
Distributed By: Warner-Pathé Distributors(UK)
UK Release Date: 8th April 1963