Press for Time (1966) starring Norman Wisdom, Derek Bond, Angela Browne, Tracey Crisp, Allan Cuthbertson, Noel Dyson, Frances White, Helen Mirren directed by Robert Asher Movie Review

Press for Time (1966)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Helen Mirren and Norman Wisdom in Press for Time (1966)

Running out of Time

In a very strange way Norman Wisdom reminds me of Elvis Presley, yes you did read that right. The reason why is because when it comes to the movies Norman made they ended up going from being genuinely fun to formula driven pieces which were nothing more than a collection of sketches relying on Norman to sell one moment of a slapstick after another. "Press for Time" is a prime example of this because whilst it may have been adapted from a book the end product dispenses with most of the story and throws one scene of slapstick after another at the audience. It makes it hard going for anyone who isn't a complete Norman Wisdom fanatic because whilst there are some excellent gags there are plenty which do little to impress and the story which in many ways is meant to be a political satire gets lost.

Norman Shields (Norman Wisdom) likes his job selling papers outside of a tube station, but unfortunately his mum wants him to have a more important job and sends him to see his Grandfather who just happens to be Prime Minister. Having disowned his daughter for being a Suffragette the Prime Minister arranges a job for Norman as a reporter, 200 miles away in the seaside resort of Tinmouth. Well it doesn't take long for Norman to cause chaos when he takes up his new position and finds himself in the midst of political fighting between the local Conservative and Labour leaders. Norman also finds himself falling for pretty Eleanor (Angela Browne) whilst the mayor's daughter Liz (Frances White) falls for Norman.

Angela Browne and Norman Wisdom in Press for Time (1966)

Now I have never read "Yea, Yea, Yea" the book from which "Press for Time" is adapted but I would imagine it is a very different book to the movie. And the reason why is that "Press for Time" ends up a standard Norman Wisdom movie with little in the way of storyline and a lot of gags to the point that it ends up more like a collection of sketches barely connected by some inconsequential story building. It means that what seems like it is meant to be a political satire about warring politicians ends up diluted down to the point that it only really becomes apparent during the final scenes.

As such "Press for Time" is again a movie which rests firmly on Norman Wisdom's shoulders to make it work and in fairness there are some very memorable sketches which make you laugh. A bus chase, a collapsing house and the fact Norman alongside playing Norman also plays his mother and grandfather are all sketches which work. Unfortunately that means that what goes in between is a lot of padding, gags which are highly obvious and never really deliver big laughs despite Norman Wisdom doing his best to sell them. The trouble is that like with Elvis's movie Norman's movies had got this formula and relied purely on Norman to make them work which in the end made them weak.

To be totally honest in the end "Press for Time" is memorable for two or 3 gags and a couple of casting choices, one of which you probably wouldn't even spot. The first of those casting choices is Angela Browne as Eleanor Lampton whose stunning beauty grabs your attention when ever she is in a scene. And then there is the fact that whilst uncredited Helen Mirren made her movie debut as one of the bikini clad beauty contestants.

What this all boils down to is that die hard fans of Norman Wisdom will probably enjoy "Press for Time" but for anyone else it is a weak movie which overly relies on Norman to make every gag work and fails to really be anything more than a collection of sketches.