On the Beat (1962)

false% – Audience

On the Beat Storyline

Norman wants to be a policeman like his father was, but he fails the height test (amongst others). One day he gets out his father’s old uniform and “walks the beat”. This leads to a level of chaos that only Norman could cause.

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On the Beat Movie Reviews

Double the Wisdom, Double the Fun

“On the Beat” was among Norman Wisdom’s later films and remains one of his best. In this outing, the ever-aspiring Norman Pitkin wants to be a policeman like his late father, but he is rejected for being too short. Undaunted, Norman goes for the police physical exam on a pair of stilts in one of the film’s many hilarious skits. Still dreaming of a police career, Norman dons his dad’s uniform and plays ball with a group of kids. During the game, he blows the police whistle, and mayhem not seen since the heydays of Mack Sennett and the Keystone Cops erupts throughout the town. The physical nature of Wisdom’s comedy and the emphasis on visuals explain his broad appeal among non-English-speaking audiences, much like silent comedy attracted immigrant audiences in the United States.

As a bonus, “On the Beat” offers not one, but two Normans. Besides his on-screen persona, Pitkin, Wisdom also plays Giulio, an Italian gangster who poses as a hairdresser and uses his beauty salon as a front. Although the swishy mustached stereotype is dated and arguably offensive, Norman is too endearing and funny to be guilty of anything but going for a laugh. When Wisdom plays Norman the policeman impersonating Giulio the hairdresser the results are hysterical. Although Norman is nearly impossible to upstage, the pixie-like Esma Cannon as Norman’s landlady, Mrs. Timms, manages to steal her scenes with delightful facial expressions and impish delivery. “On the Beat” is on the beat and strikes no false notes, providing a string of comic scenes that pay homage to silent comedy and generate tears of laughter.

“Wait for me!”

Because I’m laughing behind and the reason is this little fella, known as Mr Pitkin…

Another hit by the maestro of comedy. I did not like it much when I saw it for the first time mostly due to the fact that I did not understand quite a lot, but later, as I watched it in my native language, I got amazed by Mr Norman Wisdom’s genius again.

It’s damn funny with tons of funny episodes Check out the one with those two nosey neighbours behind the door (the old lady jerks her head and hits the chin of the man – it sounds simply outstanding and looks totally stupid).

Great timing and performance… yes, 10 out of 10. No question.

Quite simplistic in the story perhaps, but very entertaining

I have started to become very fond of Norman Wisdom and his work. He has a very endearing wide-eyed innocence about him and his films are funny and quirky. On the Beat I do like a lot. I do think though it runs a little too long, and the story is on the simplistic side of things. However, I loved the luscious black and white photography and well-constructed sets and scenery. The score is suitably quirky, and the script I think is sublime with a nice balance of humour and poignancy. The comedy is quite standard and not always original, but it succeeded in being funny, I especially liked the parts with the stilts and nosey neighbours. Norman Wisdom himself is great as he always is too. All in all, very entertaining film if not quite a favourite. 8/10 Bethany Cox