JAMES Sid - Non Carry On Films

by SmackCheeks | created - 6 months ago | updated - 6 months ago | Public

Born Solomon Joel Cohen in South Africa, Sid James (he changed it first to Sidney Cohen, then Sidney James), worked (or claimed to have worked) in a variety of jobs, including as a boxer, but rather surprisingly he actually trained as a hairdresser (allegedly). He moved to Britain straight after the war, and got small roles in two 'spiv' films, Black Memory (1947) - his first screen appearance - and Night Beat (1948) as 'Nighlife' Nixon, a piano player and police informant at the nightclub featured in the film.

Numerous other roles followed, including the (deservedly) much-maligned No Orchids for Miss Blandish, where he receives a bottle in the face for his troubles, although in most of these films he was not playing a comedy role, although in some cases - 1951's Last Holiday, starring Alec Guinness, is a good example - he plays a role quite familiar to us now, as a slightly iffy wheeler-dealer, or loveable crook, as in Ealing's famous The Lavender Hill Mob, teaming up with Alec Guinness again.

James continued to work steadily in the early 1950s - he was, according to wikipedia, in 9 films in 1952 alone - but his big break came in 1954 when he teamed up with Tony Hancock. Starting on radio, and later transferring to TV, Hancock's Half Hour set James' image for the 50s/early 60s generation; a wheeler-dealer verging on criminal, with his endless suspect schemes that he drags a naive Hancock into, James was just about the only other regular member of the cast that survived the transition to television, whilst Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques and Bill Kerr were slowly sidelined. Even that wasn't enough for Hancock; he was worried that they were being perceived as a double act - as indeed they were - and James was dropped from what turned out to be the last series, just entitled Hancock, in 1961. By now though James had made his Carry on debut in Constable (the third film of the series, made in 1960) with a fully established comic persona.

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1. The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

Approved | 78 min | Comedy, Crime

A meek bank clerk who oversees the shipment of bullion joins with an eccentric neighbor to steal gold bars and smuggle them out of the country as miniature Eiffel Towers.

Director: Charles Crichton | Stars: Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Sidney James, Alfie Bass

Votes: 11,753

2. Miss Robin Hood (1952)

Approved | 76 min | Comedy, Crime

Henry Wrigley is happy writing stories for a children's' comic. Then he meets Miss Honey, who encourages him to go into minor crime.

Director: John Guillermin | Stars: Margaret Rutherford, Richard Hearne, Edward Lexy, Fanny Rowe

Votes: 216

3. The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953)

Not Rated | 84 min | Comedy

Volunteers take over their local passenger train service (against bus company resistance) when the government announces its closure.

Director: Charles Crichton | Stars: Stanley Holloway, George Relph, Naunton Wayne, John Gregson

Votes: 2,360

4. The Belles of St. Trinian's (1954)

Not Rated | 91 min | Comedy, Family

The schoolgirls of St. Trinian's are more interested in racing forms than books as they try to get-rich-quick. They are abetted by the headmistress' brother.

Director: Frank Launder | Stars: Alastair Sim, Joyce Grenfell, George Cole, Hermione Baddeley

Votes: 2,164

5. Orders Are Orders (1954)

78 min | Comedy

Movie company wants to shoot a science-fiction film using an Army barracks as location, and its soldiers as actors. Of course, the Commander doesn't like it a bit, and persuades the crew to use a nearby haunted house instead.

Director: David Paltenghi | Stars: Brian Reece, Margot Grahame, Raymond Huntley, Sidney James

Votes: 194

6. John and Julie (1955)

82 min | Family, Comedy

This is a heart warming story about two children who run away to London so they can visit the Queen.

Director: William Fairchild | Stars: Colin Gibson, Lesley Dudley, Noelle Middleton, Moira Lister

Votes: 167

7. Dry Rot (1956)

87 min | Comedy

A trio of not particularly bright bookmakers tries to fix a horse race.

Director: Maurice Elvey | Stars: Ronald Shiner, Brian Rix, Sidney James, Peggy Mount

Votes: 140

8. The Iron Petticoat (1956)

Approved | 87 min | Comedy

Captain Vinka Kovelenko defects from Russia, but not for political reasons. She defects because she feels discriminated against as a woman. Captain Chuck Lockwood gets the order to show her... See full summary »

Director: Ralph Thomas | Stars: Bob Hope, Katharine Hepburn, Noelle Middleton, James Robertson Justice

Votes: 947

9. Trapeze (1956)

Approved | 105 min | Drama, Romance

A crippled circus acrobat is torn emotionally between two ambitious young trapeze artists, one a talented young American and a less-gifted but beautiful Italian.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Gina Lollobrigida, Katy Jurado

Votes: 3,896

10. Hell Drivers (1957)

Approved | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Ex-con trucker tries to expose his boss' rackets.

Director: Cy Endfield | Stars: Stanley Baker, Herbert Lom, Peggy Cummins, Patrick McGoohan

Votes: 2,549

11. Quatermass 2 (1957)

Approved | 85 min | Sci-Fi, Horror

Professor Quatermass, trying to gather support for his Lunar colonisation project, is intrigued by mysterious traces that have been showing up.

Director: Val Guest | Stars: Brian Donlevy, John Longden, Sidney James, Bryan Forbes

Votes: 3,138

12. The Shiralee (1957)

Not Rated | 99 min | Drama

When Jim Macauley finds his wife with another man, he takes their young daughter and they hit the road. With a young child as his responsibility, he finds he can't be quite the fancy-free ... See full summary »

Director: Leslie Norman | Stars: Peter Finch, Dana Wilson, Elizabeth Sellars, George Rose

Votes: 260

13. Big Time Operators (1957)

Not Rated | 80 min | Comedy

A young couple inherits a debt-ridden old movie theater, appropriately nicknamed "The Flea Pit," and the three eccentric senior citizens who work there.

Director: Basil Dearden | Stars: Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers, Margaret Rutherford, Peter Sellers

Votes: 1,619

14. The Silent Enemy (1958)

Not Rated | 112 min | Action, Biography, History

In the Mediterranean in 1941 the Italians start using underwater chariots to mine the undersides of allied ships. Explosives expert Lionel Crabbe arrives in Gibraltar to organise defenses, ... See full summary »

Director: William Fairchild | Stars: Laurence Harvey, Dawn Addams, Michael Craig, John Clements

Votes: 492

15. Make Mine a Million (1959)

81 min | Comedy

Sid Gibson is a soap powder salesman who decides what he really needs is TV advertising. The problem is, he's absolutely broke. He calls upon his friend Arthur Ashton, who arranges to sneak... See full summary »

Director: Lance Comfort | Stars: Arthur Askey, Sidney James, Dermot Walsh, Olga Lindo

Votes: 72

16. Too Many Crooks (1959)

Not Rated | 85 min | Comedy, Crime

Accident-prone Fingers runs a pretty unsuccessful gang. They try and rob wealthy but tricky Billy Gordon - who distrusts banks and fears the Inland Revenue - but he sees Fingers and the ... See full summary »

Director: Mario Zampi | Stars: Terry-Thomas, George Cole, Brenda de Banzie, Bernard Bresslaw

Votes: 917

17. And the Same to You (1960)

Not Rated | 70 min | Comedy

Stuck with the name "Dickie Dreadnought," Rix feels he has no choice but to pursue a career as a boxer. To mollify his uncle, Rix pretends to be the soul of religiosity, while his ... See full summary »

Director: George Pollock | Stars: Brian Rix, William Hartnell, Tommy Cooper, Vera Day

Votes: 135

18. Watch Your Stern (1960)

90 min | Comedy

When the details of a secret torpedo are destroyed by an incompetent seaman, the crew of the ship rally round, when the Admiral needs the plans to show to a visiting scientist.

Director: Gerald Thomas | Stars: Kenneth Connor, Eric Barker, Leslie Phillips, Joan Sims

Votes: 283

19. Double Bunk (1961)

Not Rated | 92 min | Comedy

When newlyweds Jack and Peggy face eviction, they are tricked into buying a rundown houseboat. After rebuilding the engine, they take their friends Sid and Sandra on a trip down the river ... See full summary »

Director: C.M. Pennington-Richards | Stars: Ian Carmichael, Janette Scott, Sidney James, Liz Fraser

Votes: 260

20. The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's (1960)

Not Rated | 94 min | Comedy

The hellions of St. Trinians are recruited to a sheik's harem. Little does he know what he's letting himself in for.

Director: Frank Launder | Stars: Cecil Parker, George Cole, Joyce Grenfell, Eric Barker

Votes: 662

21. Roommates (1961)

Not Rated | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A group of students at an elite music school decide to share a flat in order to cut their living costs and have somewhere to practice together. They get into quite a few scraps and ... See full summary »

Director: Gerald Thomas | Stars: James Robertson Justice, Leslie Phillips, Paul Massie, Kenneth Williams

Votes: 215

22. The Big Job (1965)

85 min | Comedy, Mystery

An inept gang of bank robbers, led by George The Brain, are caught and sentenced to 15 years hard labour each. When they are released from prison they start out to collect the money they ... See full summary »

Director: Gerald Thomas | Stars: Sidney James, Sylvia Syms, Dick Emery, Joan Sims

Votes: 527

23. Three Hats for Lisa (1965)

99 min | Comedy, Musical

Three young Cockneys take a day off work to meet a foreign movie star at Heathrow airport. She joins them and their taxi driver while she collects some typically British hats. The main rule... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Hayers | Stars: Joe Brown, Sophie Hardy, Sidney James, Una Stubbs

Votes: 101

24. Bless This House (1972)

87 min | Comedy, Romance

1970s English suburbia: middle-aged homeowner Sid Abbot just wants to get on with building his illegal whisky still, but is frustrated by his workshy son, and otherworldly daughter. Then ... See full summary »

Director: Gerald Thomas | Stars: Sidney James, Diana Coupland, Sally Geeson, Peter Butterworth

Votes: 756

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