Rare comedy films unearthed

Lost work by Milligan, Sellers and others...

A treasure trove of early film performances by comedians including Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Sid James and Ronnie Corbett have been unearthed in a London garage.

The movie have lain undiscovered for more than 50 years, and have now been handed to the British Film Institute to restore.

The first two will be screened at the BFI’s cinema on London’s South Bank next month, before being released on DVD

They are Penny Points to Paradise – the feature film debut of Goon Show stars Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers – and Let’s Go Crazy, also starring Sellers and Milligan, playing his Eccles chracter,

The rediscovered films were all either made or distributed by Adelphi, a family-run company set up in 1939 by Arthur Dent – the name later coincidentally chosen by Douglas Adams for the hero of his Hitchhikers’ Guide To THE Galazy series.

Dent stored the prints of the films in his garage in Highgate, north London, where they were recently found by his granddaughter, Kate Lee.

Other films in the cache include The Great Game, a comedy about football featuring Thora Hird and Diana Dors, and Fun At St Fanny’s, a male equivalent of the St Trinian’s farces starring Ronnie Corbett.

The BFI hopes to restore and release the rest of the films over the next 15 years if it can find the money.

Published: 14 Jun 2009

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