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Bert Rigby, Your'e a Fool Review

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Bert Rigby (Lindsay) welcomes the miner's strike as an opportunity to pursue his dreams of stardom. After winning a local talent contest, Bert is whisked away to Hollywood, only to be thrown in the gutter, before returning home to penury, then, you've guessed it, another lucky break.

★★★★★

The miners’ strike, northern England, the late 80’s - Naive Rigby is a local chap not overly keen on hewing rock half a mile underground, spending most of his time dreaming about the dancing of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly and the music of Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. The strike gives him the opportunity to go in for a very Amateur’s Night competition at a travelling show, and of course he wins the £100 first prize. It’s not long before he chucks in his job and joins the travelling show, which is run by the delightfully conniving Mr Trampel (Robbie Coltrane).

One night in Barnsley, he’s discovered by an obnoxious American filmmaker who’s in England to make a Shakespearian Condom commercial, and is enticed to Hollywood, where he’s promised a part as one of his heroes, Charlie Chaplin. That falls through and, down and out, Rigby becomes a dogsbody to the rich and famous, having some wonderfully sleazy adventures in the New World — most notably with Meredith Perlestein (Anne Bancroft), the slightly twisted wife of a Hollywood mogul.

It dawns on Rigby that he’s not going to make it, so he cuts and runs for home, the colliery and a pregnant girlfriend. But, in typical musical fashion, he’s discovered again, this time by the ad men, who cast him as an Astaire-type in a beer commercial, the money from which he takes back to his pit-town, buys the old musical hall and, of course, lives happily ever after.

Bert Rigby is undemandingly entertaining, and Robert Lindsay, well supported by Coltrane and Bancroft, is excellent in a role that’s very much a reprise of his cheeky cockney in the Broadway musical Me And My Girl.

The storyline is as revolutionary as fossil fuel, but Lindsay's charm and the buried treasure of a supporting cast, lift this film out of the ordinary.