Release date3 September 1964 (London) (UK) Based onnovel by Douglas Hayes WriterDouglas Hayes (novel), Peter Yeldham CastKenneth More (Chick Byrd), Cecil Parker (Thomas Rutherford), Dennis Price (Tommy Morris) Similar moviesRelated Alvin Rakoff movies
Chick Byrd (Kenneth More) is an unemployed actor in London, recently fired from a repertory theater amidst allegations of sexual misconduct. His flatmate, Julian Baxter (Edmund Purdom), has recently returned from a disillusioning stint in Hollywood, and his agent, Tommy Morris (Dennis Price), is pressuring Byrd to take jobs in television, a medium he considers beneath his talents. When Byrd relents and takes a small part in a TV commercial, unexpected repercussions complicate his life.
The Comedy Man is a 1964 British drama film directed by Alvin Rakoff and starring Kenneth More, Cecil Parker, Dennis Price and Billie Whitelaw. It depicts the life of a struggling actor in Swinging London.
More later said that when he read the script he "was profoundly struck by its relevance to my own life, and to the lives of so many actors I had known." However it received limited distribution, being released on a double bill with Lord of the Flies (1963).
A middle-aged stock actor goes to London to try the big time. After much frustration, he lands a job doing TV commercials, gaining wealth and recognition. He eventually gives it all up to return to stage work and keep his pride.
Sacked from his job in provincial rep, actor Chick Byrd moves into digs in London with Julian, a fellow actor. Julians career soars after a successful screen test, but Chicks meets with continued failure. Mobilised into action by the suicide of a friend, Chick auditions for a TV commercial and finally finds fame. Confident of his talents for the first time, but fearing he may have sold out, Chick leaves London to return to rep.
Kenneth More - Chick Byrd
Cecil Parker - Thomas Rutherford
Dennis Price - Tommy Morris
Billie Whitelaw - Judy
Norman Rossington - Theodore Littleton
Angela Douglas - Fay Trubshaw
Edmund Purdom - Julian Baxter
Frank Finlay - Prout
Alan Dobie - Jack Lavery
J.G. Devlin - Sloppitt
Valerie Croft - Yvonne
Leila Croft - Pauline
Gerald Campion - Gerry
Jacqueline Hill - Sandy Lavery
Harold Goodwin - Assistant director
Penny Morrell - Actress
Naomi Chance - Bit part
Guy Deghy - Schuyster
Derek Francis - Merryweather
Myrtle Reed - Tommys secretary
Edwin Richfield - Commercial director
Gordon Rollings - Skippy
Eileen Way - Landlady
Freddie Mills - Indian Chief
Frank Thornton - Producer
John Horsley - Co-pilot
Wally Patch - Bar manager
Talitha Pol - Actress at Party
Hamilton Dyce - Burial minister
Anthony Blackshaw - Bus conductor
Richard Pearson - Advertising Man
Maurice Durant - Barman
Ronald Lacey - Assistant Director
Chubby Checker - himself
Jill Adams - Jan Kennedy
Robert Raglan - Minor role
Radio Times wrote, "written by Peter Yeldham with a nice balance between irony and drama, and directed by Alvin Rakoff with an accurate eye for the dingy environments and brave bonhomie of unemployed actors, this modest British film boasts a superior cast" ; while Allmovie wrote, "matching Mores terrific starring performance are such British "regulars" as Dennis Price, Billie Whitelaw, Cecil Parker, Norm Rossington, and Frank Finlay" ; and the Sunday Mirror noted, "Kenneth More in the greatest performance of his career. Brilliantly directed."