Norman Wisdom was one of my childhood heroes. His films were shown on television from time to time and I loved them. I even went to the cinema to see one called ‘Press for Time’ but, mostly, they were films I watched at home with my family. My favourite of all was ‘The Bulldog Breed’ from 1960 in which his character, also called Norman, gets everything wrong including his attempt to leap off a cliff when he is rejected by the girl of his dreams.
He is rescued by a Naval officer who persuades him that life will be better in the navy, especially as he will meet many women. He decides to join only to find the friendly officer is not so friendly to recruits. ‘Norman’ is not a good rating and the comedy is in the way he mishandles every aspect of being a sailor, usually making a fool of himself in front of a superior, in this case an Admiral. As I recall, one of the punishments was for Norman to take charge of walking the Admiral’s bulldog.
In many ways, Norman is a childlike character and to me, as a boy, he was appealing because of the way his misadventures exasperated the adults. Yet he was well-meaning and it was his misreading of the social expectations that often got him into trouble, just like a child.
This film is no classic! Instead, it is a film that I think back on fondly and remember enjoying so much. For that reason, it is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?