Norbert Smith, A Life (1989)

Release Date: 14 June 2019 | Certificate: Suitable for 12 years and over
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Harry Enfield's mockumentary, first shown on Channel 4 in 1989, is a hilarious send-up of biopics and British cinema. Melvyn Bragg (as himself) arrives at the country residence of Sir Norbert Smith (Enfield) in the week of his 80th birthday, to reminisce about a distinguished acting career that ranged from a whimsical Hamlet to a coveted role as the face of Sudso washing powder. Sir Norbert's patchy recollections, addled by drink, are accompanied by jovial clips from the thespian knight's greatest hits from comedy capers Oh, Mr Bankrobber!, Passport to Puddlewitch and Whimsy Galore! to the shocking tale of 1930s juvenile delinquency Rebel Without a Tie. He bravely serves the war effort by scuttling off to Hollywood to make atrocious musicals about London and the Blitz, and leads the cast of British Western They Called Him Stranger and Rover Returns Home, a very English take on the Lassie series. It's Grim Up North reprises the unremitting misery of 1960s social realism; while the WWII epic Dogs of Death finds Norbert joining an all-star cast determinedly drinking their way through the film's considerable budget. In his final role he gamely plays Nelson Mandela (as Alec Guinness was unavailable). Conversations with Sir Norbert's equally frazzled contemporaries complete the portrait of the great man as a dizzying array of famous actors and productions are gently lampooned. The cast includes Josie Lawrence (Whose Line Is It Anyway?), self-parodying Carry On regulars Jack Douglas, Barbara Windsor and Kenneth Connor, and Renée Asherson as Lady Norbert.
Release Date: 14 June 2019
Certificate: 12 - Suitable for Persons Aged 12 or Over
SKU: 188950