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Norman Wisdom: His Story (2010)

The life story of Sir Norman Wisdom, who went from street urchin to become one of the UK's most bankable and loved film stars of the 1950-60s. The documentary pays tribute to his life, featuring family, friends and colleagues.

Director:

Sally Norris

Writer:

Sally Norris
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Terence Stamp ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Norman Wisdom ... Himself (archive footage)
Johnny Mans Johnny Mans ... Himself - Norman's Manager since 1980
Ricky Tomlinson ... Himself - Actor and Friend
Nick Wisdom Nick Wisdom ... Himself - Norman's Son
Jaqui Wisdom Jaqui Wisdom ... Herself - Norman's Daughter
Kim Wisdom Kim Wisdom ... Herself - Norman's Daughter-in-Law
Honor Blackman ... Herself - Actress
Robert Ross Robert Ross ... Himself - Comedy Historian
Vera Lynn ... Herself (as Dame Vera Lynn)
Stephen Frears ... Himself - Film Director
David Lodge ... Himself - Actor
Leslie Phillips ... Himself - Actor
Esther Rantzen Esther Rantzen ... Herself
Tony Hawks ... Himself - Musician and Writer
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Storyline

The life story of Sir Norman Wisdom, who went from street urchin to become one of the UK's most bankable and loved film stars of the 1950-60s. The documentary pays tribute to his life, featuring family, friends and colleagues.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography

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Details

Official Sites:

Programme Page

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 October 2010 (UK) See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£150,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[Esther recounts an interview with Norman in front of a studio audience]
Terence Stamp - Narrator: As the cameras stopped rolling on The Esther Show, Norman's antics continued.
Esther Rantzen: And the audience clapped. And as the applause died, Norman leaned forward, looked me straight in the eyes, and licked the end of my nose... A sensation I will never forget. Hasn't happened much since.
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Connections

Features Trouble in Store (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Story of the British Comedian's Rise from Poverty to Stardom
27 December 2013 | by l_rawjalaurenceSee all my reviews

Norman Wisdom was the Rank Organization's biggest star during the Fifties and Sixties. A series of formula films combining slapstick and sentiment drew huge audiences, despite their rudimentary plots. Filmed two years before Wisdom's death, Sally Norris' documentary takes an affectionate look at the comic's life and work, showing how his relentless determination helped him succeed, despite a childhood of absolute poverty. While the subject-matter is undoubtedly fascinating, what is perhaps more intriguing is the way in which Wisdom is shown to be a protean figure, consciously adopting the public persona of a clown in order to get laughs. It seemed that he was incapable of being serious; but there was a lot more to him than that. Like a lot of performers on both the legitimate as well as the variety stages, Wisdom was self-made; and he understood the importance of reminding his audiences of that fact. Hence he would only allow them to see what he wanted them to see. This strategy might suggest insecurity; in Wisdom's case, it had precisely the reverse effect, giving him the strength to create a good family life for his children away from the limelight, despite being a single parent for much of the time. One noteworthy aspect of the documentary left unexplored is the strong resemblances between Wisdom and his great American contemporary Jerry Lewis; it might have been worth exploring if they were inspired by one another; or, if they were not, to look instead at why audiences on both sides of the Atlantic should have responded to readily to their particular blend of comedy,


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