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Screevers on Film
A man with a sandwich-board wanders around London meeting many strange characters…….
It is a new morning and Horace Quilby (Michael Bentine), along with his neighbours in the same street, emerges from their houses to meet the day. Today is a special one for Horace because his prized racing pigeon Esmeralda is due home sometime in the next few hours, but as he has to go to work, he cannot be around to check when the bird returns, so over the fence he asks the woman next door, Mrs De Vere (Dora Bryan), whether she could help him out. She is only too pleased, and bids Horace farewell as she goes back to beating her carpet and he goes off to his job as a sandwich board man…
The Sandwich Man is a virtually forgotten British comedy, one of those cinematic gems which capture the spirit of London in the Sixties. The REAL star of the film is of course the sights and sounds of LONDON in the swinging 60’s.
But more than that it features a pavement artist, played by Michael Chaplin….Charlie Chaplin’s 19 year old son!
Michael’s pavement art scene appears about a third of the way through the film and is based on the simple joke of an old lady, who mistakes a workman (played by David Lodge) for the pavement artist and drops some money into his cup of tea…..it’s the type of gentle comedy that give this film style. This particular scene was filmed in Bayswater, London.
This was Michael’s third British film, in what seemed at the time to be a promising acting career…sadly, it was not to be and this was also his last acting role on film.
Michael also appeared with his father in Limelight and A King in New York.
The Chaplin’s have a long history with pavement art as can be seen from this related blog!
The Sandwich Man in conclusion is a wonderful, lovable film full of gentle comedy and joyous optimism, featuring ex-Goon Michael Bentine in perhaps his best role – that of Horace Quilby.
It features a stellar cast of British comedy talent from the ’60s who, alongside the marquee names, also include Alfie Bass, Peter Jones, John le Mesurier, Warren Mitchell, Jeremy Lloyd, Burt Kwouk and Suzy Kendall, all aiming to help (and hinder!) Horace in his odyssey around London. …and of course, not forgetting Michael Chaplin (The Pavement Artist)
Researched & written by Philip Battle