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Would You Believe It? (1929)


Main image of Would You Believe It? (1929)
35mm, black and white, silent, 5051 feet
DirectorWalter Forde
Production CompanyNettlefold Productions
ProducerArchibald Nettlefold
ScriptWalter Forde
 H. Fowler Mear
PhotographyGeoffrey Faithfull

Cast: Walter Forde (Walter); Arthur Stratton (Cuthbert); Pauline Johnson (Pauline); Albert Brouett (The spy); Anita O'Day (Farmer's wife)

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Walter, a shop assistant in a toy shop, invents an army tank with wireless control, which he offers to the Ministry of War.

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Walter Forde was Britain's most successful film comedian of the 1920s, and built up a small popular following for his many silent short films and features, in which he starred, frequently writing and directing to boot. His status grew as a director during the 1930s and 40s, thanks in part to his prolific output; by the late forties he had already been involved in fifty films, including a brief spell in Hollywood.

Would You Believe It?, released at the end of the silent period in Britain in 1929, was the last of his films in which he starred. He plays Walter, a bumbling but innocent and amiable inventor, who creates a device for remotely controlling tanks which attracts the interest of the War Office. Unfortunately, the invention is not as reliable as it could be...

Walter is a classic comic character, resembling contemporary Hollywood greats like Buster Keaton, and anticipating later British comic giants like Norman Wisdom. This is one of the most modern of silent comedies, and not just because it comes at the end of the silent period.

The film was initially released as a silent, but was later re-issued with synchronised sound discs (including musical accompaniment) in October 1929.

Mark Duguid

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Video Clips
Extract (25:51)
Production stills
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Our New Errand Boy (1905)
Forde, Walter (1898-1984)
Gilliat, Sidney (1908-1994)
Silent Comedy