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Film / The Rebel

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The Rebel (aka Call Me Genius) is a 1961 British comedy film starring Tony Hancock and written by his regular TV writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson; Hancock is also credited with co-writing the screen story.

Hancock plays a lowly accountant who, in his secret life, is also a struggling artist (struggling possibly because of his total lack of talent). Fustrated by his lack of appreciation in his home country, he flees to Paris, where he takes room with Paul (Paul Massie), a fellow struggling (although actually talented) artist. Hancock is quickly embraced by the Parisian artistic community which further disillusions Paul who gives up his artistic ambitions and goes to London. Then, the famous art critic Sir Charles Broward (George Sanders) hears of the news of a major talent...

This film contains examples of:

  • Artsy Beret: Tony Hancock wears one, which is the only thing protecting him from heavy rain, after he threw away his city gent's umbrella.
  • Cranky Landlord: Tony Hancock's angry landlady Mrs Crevatte, who objects to Hancock's art, especially his sculpture of a naked woman.
    Mrs Crevatte: If that's not out of my house, and you with it, I'll call the police and have you evicted! Those are my last words, OUT! All of it! Turning my house into a rubbish dump.
  • Floorboard Failure: Hancock's sculpture masterpiece falls through his studio floor, lampshaded by his bad-tempered landlady yelling earlier that her bedroom is beneath. Hancock peers through the floor, and mutters "missed her".
  • Hypocritical Humour: One scene features Hancock at a party complaining about how, in his former life as an accountant, everyone dressed in identical suits. This is viewed with horror by five identically dressed goths.
  • Littering Is No Big Deal: As Tony Hancock crosses the English Channel from England to France, he tosses his city gent's hat and umbrella over the side of the ship. Too bad for him that he had his tickets in the hatband.
  • Low Clearance: Hancock's sculpture masterpiece has the head knocked off by a low bridge, when it is being carried on a train.
    Hancock: What's happened to her head?
    Porter: 'Ead? I don't know nothing about no 'ead. "One piece of concrete" it says 'ere, and one piece of concrete you've got.
    Hancock: A piece of concrete, that's all it is to you!
  • Kavorka Man: Hancock himself. For some reason, once transplanted to Paris, he becomes irresitable to women; at one point the wife of a local gangster threatens to shoot herself over him after only knowing him for a couple of hours.
  • Market-Based Title: The film was known as Call Me Genius in America to avoid confusion with the TV Western also known as The Rebel.
  • Straw Critic: Averted. Broward is the only one who sees through Hancock's lack of talent and recognises Paul for the real talent. Of course, there is a minor problem of mistaken identity to get past.
  • Terrible Artist: Hancock, whose art is childish.