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Captain Bill on DVD

Monday, 16 March 2015 17:02 Written by 

Captain Bill comes to DVD“Captain Bill” is a fun, nautical adventure starring Leslie Fuller (“The Doctor's Secret”) as the unsophisticated commander of a ramshackle sailing barge with a small and disorderly crew. After a series of catastrophic mishaps, Bill has a run-in with a gang of gun-runners and must save the day by foiling their plans, proving his own innocence and rescuing his fiancée and son. The director is Ralph Ceder, renowned for both Laurel and Hardy, and Abbott and Costello features.

Slapstick humour is order of the day, with plenty of comedic millage made from antics onboard the barge (the Jolly Rochester), such as critical components coming loose, cack-handed attempts to fix leaks and a non-plussed dog that looks more capable than the rest of the crew combined. Bill is full of bravado but also a little too keen to get into a fist-fight, resulting in frequent, belated attempts to protect his newly-capped front tooth.

Co-stars include Judy Kelly (“Dead of Night”) as Polly, Bill's plucky beloved and a singing tutor, O B Clarence (from the John Mills version of “Great Expectations”) as Sir Anthony Kipps, a well-heeled friend of Bill's, and Toni Edgar-Bruce (“Spitfire”) as Anthony's frightfully bossy wife, whose frequent refrain is 'Oh Anthony, do something!'.

The other dominant character in the film is smoky, inter-war River Thames, humming with industrial activity.

Being a huge fan of Laurel and Hardy, I thoroughly enjoyed this feature. The tit-for-tat comedy had me chuckling on many occasions, and the action moves at quite a lick.

The only extra on the disc is a brief picture gallery, although the brand-new transfer of the picture more than makes up for that. The sounds is slightly ill-defined but perfectly acceptable.

“Captain Bill” (1936) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Network. The main feature has a running time of 76 minutes approx, carries a ‘PG’ certificate and retails for £9.99, or less from

Last modified on Monday, 16 March 2015 17:05