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Gasbags (February 1, 1941)

The Crazy Gang in Gasbags

Released on February 1, 1941: The Crazy Gang is a British Comedy Troupe that accidentally invades Germany, with hilarious results.

Directed by Walter Forde and Marcel Varnel

The Actors: Bud Flanagan (Bud), Chesney Allen (Ches), Jimmy Nervo (Cecil), Teddy Knox (Knoxy), Charlie Naughton (Charlie), Jimmy Gold (Goldy), Moore Marriott (Jerry Jenkins), Wally Patch (Sergeant Major), Peter Gawthorne (Commanding Officer), Frederick Valk (Sturmfuehrer), Eric Clavering (Scharffuehrer), Anthony Eustrel (Gestapo officer), Carl Jaffe (Gestapo chief), Manning Whiley (O.P. Colonel), Torin Thatcher (SS man), Irene Handl (burgomaster's wife), Felicity Andrae (the Baroness), Rolf Brandt (orderly), Richard Morrell (O.P. First Lieutenant), Gerald Cooper (General Rathaus), Rowland Douglas (head waiter), Frank Henderson (steward), James Knight (German Major), Henry B. Longhurst (woodcutter), John Lothar (Sergeant in forest), George Merritt (German General), Pat Noonan (woodcutter), Gerik Schjelderup (O.P. Sentry), Leonard Sharp (chip shop customer), Mavis Villiers (American girl), Theodore Zichy (second in command).


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There are only a couple of good WWII comedies that feature Adolph Hitler as an object of ridicule, and this is the only one that uses British slapstick humor so well. A group of British comedians bring belly-laugh humor to the audience during the dark days of the war. The U.S. hasn't entered the war yet in February of 1941, it would not be until Japan attacks Pearl Harbor in December of that year that we got involved.

The movie starts with our gang of soldier misfits running a fish and chips restaurant at the army camp in England. They are using an overhead helium balloon to advertise their business, but when the commanding officer spots their advertising balloon, he rushes over to their location to put a stop to their shenanigans. But alas the balloon breaks free and takes the boys up into the air with it, landing many hours later in Germany. They are soon captured by the Germans and put into a prisoner camp. There they learn that a scientist has recently been killed who invented a tunnelling machine that if discovered could end the war. There is a map of the location tattooed on the back of one of the prisoners.

Our group of comedians includes one who has a moustache like Hitler, and they volunteer him for a suicide mission as Hitler's double. Our comedian who is impersonating Hitler, and is scheduled to be assassinated, manages to avoid all of their attempts to kill him, killing several German officers in the process. Finally our boys discover the secret weapon and tunnel underground right back to sunny England, where their officers are still mad at them and have them put in prison.

Grab your soda pop and hot, buttered white kernel popcorn and enjoy one of the few war time laughs from the big war.