Tommy Cooper in The Plank (1967)

Woody Story

Does the idea of watching someone get accidentally hit around the head with a plank make you smile? If so then quite simply you need to watch the sort of silent comedy "The Plank". I say sort off because technically "The Plank" isn't a silent movie but then nothing which is said has any importance to the storyline as that works purely on good old fashioned slapstick. And that is what "The Plank" is, 45 minutes of slapstick with Tommy Cooper and Eric Sykes leading the way but supported by countless recognizable British stars such as Jimmy Edwards, Jim Dale and even Jimmy Tarbuck.

Now in fairness "The Plank" has a storyline, we have Tommy Cooper and Eric Sykes as two workmen who need a certain sized plank to finish off the floor and so they take a trip to the timber yard and back again with the perfect plank for the job. But in truth "The Plank" isn't about the story but a series of mishaps which happen along the way, some focuses on the two workmen but plenty focussing on others who end up at the end of trouble thanks to the workmen and their plank.

Eric Sykes in The Plank (1967)

So as to those mishaps, well we have simple humour from gags surrounding windows with no glass in yet are opened and shut as if they had. Then there is an incident with a young man who accidentally sits on the plank and ends up being driven all around town plus fun little pieces purely featuring comic timing between Tommy Cooper and Eric Sykes. In all truth it would be impossible and unfair to tell you too much about the jokes because in just 45 minutes there must be well over 200 different gags and every single one of them makes you smile even when some are repeated.

What is sort of ironic is that originally Peter Sellars was due to star but due to scheduling conflicts he had to depart and Tommy Cooper stepped in and it is Cooper's sort of simple persona which is a big part of the fun of "The Plank". Plus Tommy Cooper has wonderful timing as does Eric Sykes and as already mentioned the scenes which feature just the two of them are brilliant. But then there is a wonderful supporting cast with the likes of Roy Castle, Jimmy Edwards and Jim Dale all doing wonderful jobs.

What this all boils down to is that if you are a fan of the simplest form of slapstick humour then "The Plank" is a must watch. In fact it is a must watch full stop as the silliness coupled with some clever gags will put a smile on your face.