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The Early Bird

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Early Bird
original UK Quad poster
Directed byRobert Asher
Written byJack Davies
Norman Wisdom
Produced byHugh Stewart
StarringNorman Wisdom
Edward Chapman
Jerry Desmonde
John Le Mesurier
CinematographyJack Asher
Edited byGerry Hambling
Music byRon Goodwin
Distributed byRank Film Distributors
Release date
  • 30 November 1965 (1965-11-30) (London)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Early Bird is a 1965 British comedy film directed by Robert Asher and starring Norman Wisdom, Edward Chapman, Bryan Pringle, Richard Vernon, John Le Mesurier and Jerry Desmonde.[1] It was the first Norman Wisdom film to be shot in colour. The title is taken from the expression "the early bird catches the worm".

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  • Early Bird Full Episode 47 (4K ULTRA HD)



Norman Pitkin works for Grimsdale's Dairy as a milkman, in competition with Consolidated Dairies, an ever-growing rival company under the management of Walter Hunter.

Much of the humour centres on slapstick comedy, with Norman encountering various comedic escapades. These include being dragged around Mr Hunter's garden by an errant lawnmower and using the fire brigade's high pressure hosepipes to blast firemen off their ladders, after being called to a suspected fire at Consolidated Dairies' HQ.



It was the last of several films Hugh Stewart produced for Wisdom. Stewart called the movie "very good" but said when reunited with Wisdom he "knew as soon as I saw him... that something had happened to him. The iron had entered into his soul. I could tell straightaway and so could Bob. Bob said, "He's not the same man." And we made our last film together."[2]


Box office

The film was one of the 15 most popular movies at the British box office in 1966.[3]


The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote: "Routine Norman Wisdom vehicle, the only innovations being the use of colour, and the absence of a heroine who will see through her beau's clumsiness and regard him with loyal, loving admiration. The moments of pathos and sentimentality, evidently regarded as an essential ingredient in Wisdom's comedies, here mainly involve the horse, and are less embarrassing than the tasteless comedy with Mrs. Hoskins. As usual, the comedy relies heavily on crude slapstick, with a lengthy and repetitive prelude of tumbles downstairs, and two orgies of destruction – the first entailing the tearing-up of a garden by a runaway motor-mower, the second featuring an ordeal by water, foam and milk. These knockabout highlights are up to par, but the intervening material is weak, and the golf-course sequence with Wisdom impersonating a parson is particularly uninventive."[4]

The Radio Times Guide to Films gave the film 2/5 stars, writing: "Well past his movie sell-by date, Norman Wisdom is powerless to prevent this dreary dairy comedy from turning sour. The satirical jibes at large scale automation are nowhere near sharp enough, while the tribute to Britain's fast-fading family firms is too twee. Regular straight men Jerry Desmonde and Edward Chapman are as solid as rocks and longtime director Robert Asher gives his star plenty of leeway."[5]

Leslie Halliwell said: "Star farcical comedy; not the worst of Wisdom, but overlong and mainly uninventive."[6]

TV Guide wrote, "most of the humor is slapstick, predictable, and only vaguely amusing."[7]

Allmovie called the film a "lively British satire".[8]


  1. ^ "The Early Bird". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 25 April 2024.
  2. ^ "Hugh Stewart". British Entertainment History Project. 22 November 1989.
  3. ^ "Most popular star for third time." Times [London, England] 31 Dec. 1966: 5. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012.
  4. ^ "The Early Bird". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 33 (384): 6. 1 January 1966 – via ProQuest.
  5. ^ Radio Times Guide to Films (18th ed.). London: Immediate Media Company. 2017. p. 276. ISBN 9780992936440.
  6. ^ Halliwell, Leslie (1989). Halliwell's Film Guide (7th ed.). London: Paladin. p. 304. ISBN 0586088946.
  7. ^ "The Early Bird Review". Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  8. ^ "The Early Bird (1965) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast". AllMovie. Retrieved 10 June 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 23 May 2024, at 19:07
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