British actor and revue comedian Frankie Howerd was generally suppressed in his film appearances (starting with Runaway Bus ), and most fans felt he was never quite at his best without a live audience. His movie roles, especially those in The Ladykillers (1955) (with an enormous cast of polished farceurs, including Peter Sellers), Mouse on the Moon (1963) and Carry On Doctor (1968) were amusing, but without the vulgar brashness and direct-to-audience commentary of Howerd's stage work. The comedian was seen at his prime in the British TV series Up Pompeii and its companion movie versions. Here Howerd could truly cut loose, allowing the rest of the cast to play utterly straight while he broke character, made racy commentary about the plotline or the heroine's neckline, and introduced a welcome touch of comic anarchy in the hidebound Roman-epic genre. Those who loved Frankie Howerd are advised to avoid one of his few American films, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1977), where as the villain of the piece he is just as lost as his illustrious costars George Burns, Steve Martin and the Bee Gees.