British comedy cinema

The British comedy includes all the comic films produced in the United Kingdom.
The British comedy influences of several centuries from the theater at the end of the xvi th  century , William Shakespeare wrote The Comedy of Errors , based on the farce and misunderstandings. From the xix th  century , the Mime grows by incorporating the Slapstick  ; Charlie Chaplin will notably begin his acting career with Mime . Early in the film, at the beginning of xx th  centuryBurlesqueappears . With the advent of the speaking in 1927 , the comic cinema takes another rise, the laughter being able to be provoked not only by the burlesque of the situations, but also by the dialogues. British comedy is finally diversifying into television from the 1950s.
Among the actors in British comedy, some have a worldwide reputation, such Charlie Chaplin , Monty Python team , Rowan Atkinson …


In the days of silent movies

Early in the cinema at the beginning of xx th  century appears silent British films in the form of comedy.

British actors mime from music hall like Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel migrate to the United States and become icons of American silent film ( Charlie Chaplin by character Charlot , and Stan Laurel by his duet with Oliver Hardy  : Laurel and Hardy ).

Soon after the end of the First World War, the British film industry began to struggle with the competition of Hollywood 1 , favored by a larger national market. In 1914, 25% of the films shown in Britain were British; in 1926 this figure had dropped to 5%. This prompted the introduction of a law to protect the national cinema. This law, the Cinematograph Films Act 1927, required theaters to screen a certain quota of British films (see: British Cinema ).

Subsequently, after 1927, movies tended to become talkative.

At the time of the talking cinema, before the competition of the television

In the United Kingdom, cinematographic adaptations of stage pranks were popular in the 1930s, while the music hall heavily influenced the 1940s comedy film with Will Hay ( Oh, Mr Porter! …) and George Formby among the best comic stars of the time.

In the 1950s, the British film industry made a number of successful film series, such as Toubib or not Toubib . Finally, John and Roy Boulting also wrote and directed a series of successful satires, such as This Sacred Zero (1956) and After Me the Flood (1959).

The comedies Ealing

Main article: Earling comedies .

In England, from 1947 to 1957, Ealing Studios made several several popular comedy films called “Ealing comedies”.

Some of the most famous examples are: Whiskey galore! (1949), Passport for Pimlico (1949), Noblesse oblige (1949), Gold in Bar (1951), The Man in White Suit (1951), Tortillard for Titfield (1953) and Ladykillers ( The Ladykillers , 1955) ).

These comedies may include a degree of social criticism, including Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway . Among the actors who appear most frequently in comedy films, there are: Stanley Holloway , Alec Guinness , Raymond Huntley and Alastair Sim .

The first of the films made during this period is À cor riqu (1947), and the last one is Il est un petit bateau (1957) 2 , although according to some sources, the last film would be Davy (1958) 3 .

From the 1960s to 1980s

In the late 1950s, as in the United States, the television industry became a serious competition from the film industry. So from the early 1960s, much of British comedy goes through television.

The team Monty Python

The Monty Python team , created in 1969, is composed of six members: Graham Chapman , John Cleese , Eric Idle , Michael Palin , Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam .

Even though most British comedies of the early 1970s are in the form of television series (eg the military comedy Dad’s Army ), the greatest hits came from the comedy films of the Monty Python team  : The First Folly Monty Python (1971), Monty Python: Holy Grail! (1975) and Monty Python: The Life of Brian (1979).

One of the most famous films of the 1980s 4 (partly directed by the Monty Python team ) is a fish named Wanda multicultural film between British and American cultures, with American actress Jamie Lee Curtis .

Finally, the Monty Python realize in 1983 Monty Python: The meaning of the life .

From the 1990s to the 2010s

In the 1990s, comedies on the theme of the working class had several great successes: The Full Monty (1997), even more dramatic with Les Virtuoses (1996), and Billy Elliot (1999).

In 1990 is created a series of movies for television Mr. Bean by Rowan Atkinson . His character of Mr Bean will make him famous all over the world. Subsequently, he will play in two films based on Mr Bean  : Bean in 1997, and Mr. Bean’s Holiday in 2007. He also plays a parody character of James Bond in two films: Johnny English , and Johnny English, the back .

The years 1990-2000 review the winning return of romantic comedies, with Hugh Grant  : Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Reason and Feelings (1995), Love at Notting Hill (1999), Mickey Blue Eyes(1999) , The Bridget Jones Diary (2001), Love Actually (2003), Bridget Jones: The Age of Reason (2004) …

Finally, in the years 2000 and 2010, Edgar Wright realizes a trilogy Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy mixing the British comedy with other kinds:

  • 2004  : Shaun of the Dead , a zombie movie
  • 2007  : Hot Fuzz , a detective film
  • 2013  : The Last Pub before the end of the world , a sci-fi movie

Comedy about India

Some British comedies of the years 1990-2000 are about the Indian and Pakistani community in British life, like Bhaji on the beach (1993), Fish and Chips (1999), Play it like Beckham (2002), Anita and me ( 2003) and Happy Funerals (2007).

Other comedies are in India, such as Indian Palace (2012) and Indian Palace: Royal Suite (2015) with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith .

List of notable films

List of British Comedy Films

Main article: List of British comedy films .

See also

  • British Comedy Guide  [ archive ]

Notes and references



  1. ↑ ”  English cinema  ”  [ archive ] , on ,
  2. ↑ ( in ) Parkinson, David, Radio Times Guide to Films 2010 , BBC Worldwide, ( ISBN  978-0-9555886-2-4 )
  3. ↑ ( in ) ”  Ealing Studios  ”  [ archive ] , at  [ archive ] (accessed May 30, 2015 )
  4. ↑ ( in ) Steven Jay Schneider, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die ( ISBN  978-1-84403-044-6 )

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