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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Stand Up > British > The Legendary Norman Wisdom (Umbrella Entertainment/PAL Region Free/Zero/0/DVD Import Set)

The Legendary Norman Wisdom (Umbrella Entertainment/PAL Region Free/Zero/0/DVD Import Set)


Picture: C+ (C on World)     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Films/Concert: C+



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Zero/0/Free PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



Like Benny Hill, Norman Wisdom became a famous comedian through feature films, then later TV, but Wisdom was around longer and had a film career (much like Cantinflas) where he starred in s series of competent, professional, family-friendly comedies that were moderate hits and might not be as remembered today as those of other comedians.  The Legendary Norman Wisdom DVD set from Umbrella brings together three of his films and a later stand-up concert performance called Live On Stage (2004/57 minutes) that is not bad on 4 DVDs.


The three feature films include:


Trouble In Store (1953) has our hero (in his first major starring feature film) stuck working at a department store when he has to deal with a pesky shoplifter (Margaret Rutherford funny as ever) and wants to be a window dresser.  He falls for the beautiful Peggy (the comically gifted Moira Lister, who once played the same villain on The Avengers over two seasons, which was very rare for that show) and shopping may never be the same again.  A situation comedy, everyone is keyed up for comedy and Derek Bond (Callan) also stars.


Up In The World (1956) has Wisdom as a window cleaner at a big, expensive estate, but proper behavior is about to go out the window as the son of the family keeps playing jokes, until he is kidnapped!  Norman intends to find him and be a hero.  Lionel Jeffreys also stars.


John Paddy Carstairs (The Saint In London, The Saint with Roger Moore, The Sentimental Agent) directed the above two films, while Robert Asher (The Avengers, The Prisoner, The Baron, The Saint with Roger Moore) directed…


On The Beat (1962) has Norman as a goof who wants to be like his father, a policeman, but he becomes a gangster instead in between washing police cars.  This easily has the best cast of the three including Eric Barker, Ronnie Stevens, Terence Alexander, Maurice Kaufmann, Lionel Murton, Eleanor Summerfield, Robert Rietty, Alfred Burke, David Lodge, Campbell Singer, Jack Watson and Monte Landis among others.  Look for the funny (an uncredited) Valerie Van Ost (Count Dracula & His Vampire Brides, Space: 1999, The Avengers) as a woman at the hairdressers.



The 1.33 X 1 image on all three films (letterboxed 1.85 on World) were shot in black and white 35mm film and look pretty good for their age with good Video Black and decent detail and for the record, the Director of Photography chores on each film were done by Ernest Stewart, Jack E. Cox and Geoffrey Faithfull respectively, while the Live On Stage tape has some good color, but can be soft and has flaws including staircasing, aliasing, some video noise, video banding, some tape scratching, tape damage and even PAL cross color.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on all also show their age, but play well here, though World has the most noise.  Extras include feature length audio commentary tracks with Wisdom and Robert Ross on Store and Beat, text on the films and original theatrical trailers on all three films.



As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import set exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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