The Bootleg Files: Bell Bottom George

BOOTLEG FILES 582: “Bell Bottom George” (1944 British comedy starring George Formby).

LAST SEEN: An unauthorized posting is on YouTube.


REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The film and its star are unknown in the U.S.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It has been released on British DVD, but a U.S. release is unlikely.

Very few Americans ever heard of George Formby, but over in Great Britain he is revered as one of the top entertainers of the 1930s and 1940s. With his squeaky Lancashire voice, his toothy grin, his penchant for singing upbeat tunes (many with saucy double meanings) while playing a ukulele or banjolele, and a persona for being a lovable bumbler who somehow manages to save the day, Formby personified what the British refer to as the “cheeky chappie,” but which Americans would recognize as a working-class hero.

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