Spare a Copper
Comedy, Musical
IMDB rating:
John Paddy Carstairs
Bernard Lee as Jake
Jimmy Godden as Manager
Jack Melford as Dame
Edward Lexy as Night Watchman
Dorothy Hyson as Jane Gray
John Warwick as Shaw
Warburton Gamble as Sir Robert Dyer
Hal Gordon as Sergeant
John Turnbull as Inspector Richards
George Formby as George Carter
George Merritt as Edward Brewster
Ellen Pollock as Lady Hardstaff
Eliot Makeham as Fuller
Charles Carson as Admiral
Storyline: A brave wartime copper (policeman) becomes a hero when he thwarts a plot to destroy a battleship. But then the rest of the police get the idea that he is one of the enemy agents.
Type DVD-rip
Resolution 512x384 px
File Size 700 Mb
Codec mpeg4
Bitrate 1306 Kbps
Format avi
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
DVD-rip 512x384 px 700 Mb mpeg4 1306 Kbps avi Download

Spare a Copper
I'm glad to say that "Spare a Copper", coupled with "Turned out Nice Again" is currently (2017) available (under those titles) on an excellent DVD disc.

I strongly disapprove of the USA title change to "Call a Cop". What's funny about that title? Nothing! If the American DVD manufacturer and/or distributor did not think "Spare a Copper" was witty enough or funny enough or insufficiently chuckle-some, why didn't they try to match it with something better? There are surely dozens of suitably hilarious double entendres that come to mind that either match or outdo "Spare a Copper". For instance, even with his dopey "Call a Cop", there must be at least three or four dozen variations he could make, stating with "Call a Cop, to the Rescue!"

Anyway, "Spare a Copper" is delightful fun from first to last, with George in top form, assisted by an amiable cast including Dorothy Hyson and Bernard Lee, and very ably directed at a delightfully fast pace by John Paddy Carstairs.
stunt man
my grandfather was the stunt rider in the wall of death scene. i only found out that little bit of info a few years ago when i discovered a lot of family i did not know i had. his name was Frederick William Augustus Cooper aka 'Crash Donovan'. He was born in surrey england on the 16th of august 1912 and he went on to be a world renowned stunt man and motorcycle racer. He worked for great actors like George and John Warwick. If anyone should know anything else about this great man or perhaps has photographs or even film of him please get in touch. i would be most grateful. if you read this before the 19 march 08 then you will have noticed a few changes. thanks entirely to IMDb and the original piece that i placed here my new found auntie Joan and uncle Fred (two of my grandfathers three children) have made contact. Joan has sent me a fantastic picture of granddad sitting astride a dirt track racer C1928 and Fred has kindly written to me explaining some of our family history. granddad held a number of world records in his youth and a very kind gentleman from the Brooklands race track is sending me whatever he has found. sadly i never met my grandfather for reasons that would take far too long to explain here and as he died in 1967 i must hope to meet him in the next life. RIP grandfather, at least i know now where my heavy right foot comes from and your great granddaughter and great grandson are just as bad.
On the beat
This film was made in 1940 when the fifth columnists and sabotage risk was at its highest.So the storyline was very contemporary.It was the penultimate film on George's contract with Ealing.His later films with Columbia were nowhere near as good as those he made with Ealing.The storyline is typical of his films.Formless George is made to look silly particularly in the eyes of his girlfriend.However more by accident than design he becomes the hero.He sings some very catchy tunes,not necessarily his best but still enjoyable.Not one of his best Ealing but better than anything he did at Columbia British which led to the end of his film career.
If only the Force was still with us!
This is one of a handful of Formby films I saw when young, thus imparting an even more rosier glow to the proceedings, although I've always enjoyed nearly all of his stuff immensely. It depicts a Britain in which a minority of traitorous saboteurs (presumably in the pay of the Nazis) are out to destroy British industry, or in this case, the British war machine in the battle for supremacy. The thousands of British Nazis of today only want to destroy people, out of racism and love for what lies beyond death, ie nothing at all.

George as a policeman this time gets implicated in the saboteurs plans to blow up a new warship HMS Hercules awaiting final fitting and launch in Liverpool. His mission, with his statuesque girlfriend Dorothy Hyson and with the entire police force chasing him is to find and expose the Quislings and thus clear his name. The leads both had had long careers - George's first film was made in 1916, Dorothy's in 1917. Along the way he gets to sing Ukelele Man (in the music store), On The Beat (at the police ball – what happened to all those people?), I Wish I Was Back On The Farm (with his not so clever pigeons, at the theatre), and I'm Shy (at the mill, with organ). Favourite bits: George standing on Ronald Shiner's cameo-appearance head; the fiery motorcycle riding trials for the Flying Squad; the chase leading to the Wall Of Death.

Simple fare maybe, but one of my favourite uplifting Formby's. Not a trace of cynicism, filth or violence, which along with it being in 4:3 b&w is why you hardly ever see it on TV nowadays.
A treasure from a forgotten age of British film comedy.
It is likely that few people outside the UK will have heard of George Formby - indeed even in the UK there will not be many under the age of 50 who are familiar with his work. And yet in his day Formby was a star of quite considerable magnitude, capable of earning colossal sums by the standards of the day. His films follow a fairly standard pattern. He is always depicted as a somewhat gormless character pursuing some great aspiration (in this film it is to join the Police 'flying squad') He meets calamity and despair but eventually triumphs and wins the girl. Along the way of course there are always plenty of opportunities to pick up his ukulele and sing a song. His comedy songs may be tame by today's measure but in the 1930s and 40s would have been quite risqué - in this film have a particular listen to the lyrics of 'I Wish I Was Back On The Farm'.

Little if any of the British film comedy of this era now finds its way onto DVD or TV which is a shame as contemporary American material (e.g. Laurel and Hardy, Marx Brothers, Abbot and Costello)is much more appreciated and given air time.What is particularly interesting about Formby's films is their Northern England working class settings and a glimpse of 'ordinary'life they provide.

This is a movie with a largely irrelevant plot but a cheerful little vehicle for Formby's well-trodden formula. Watch out for Bernard Lee in an early role as one of the villains - he appeared in the Bond movies as 'M'.
Excellent vintage British comedy
George Formby dates from the era when they knew how to make good comedies in England - a Northern England equivalent of Norman Wisdom in the Southern UK, of Fernandel or Bourvil in France or even Danny Kaye in the USA. The strength of this type of comedy inevitably involves a central character who initially appears stupid, simple and gullible but who ends up being less silly than appears and who generally has the last laugh in the film. I adore this sort of comedy as personnified in films such as The Court Jester, Knock on Wood, Man of The Moment, Trouble in Store, Up in the World, Le Schpountz or La Grande Vadrouille. George Formby is also well known for his Ukelele work and has a wide mouth with plenty of big teeth, just like Fernandel in France. In this particular film ( which resembles many of the Norman Wisdom ones - hardly a surprise since the director is the same old John Paddy Carstairs ) Formby is trying to get into the police "Flying Squad" and unwittingly uncovers a sinister internal plot to blow up a ship on the day of its launching. There are some excellent comedical gags and female support from Jane Grey, all this topped with a superb "ee-by-gum" accent. The film has a feel good effect and Formby comes over as a lovable character, especially when he is playing the UKelele. I had begun to despair that any of his films would be available on DVD ( Many of Norman Wisdom's and Fernandel's films have been edited in this medium but surprisingly hardly any from Danny Kaye ) but I have just noticed that ten or so of Formby's will be issued in May 2007 ( in the United Kingdom ) on two boxed sets. One of Formby's most enjoyable tunes was "When I'm cleaning Windows".