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Monty Banks

Montague (Monty) Banks (18 July 1897 – 7 January 1950[1] born Mario Bianchi in Cesena, Italy) was a comedian and film director. In the 1920s, he worked in Hollywood, starring in many silent short comedies and in the feature-length action thriller Play Safe (1927). A large excerpt from this movie is included in the compilation film Days of Thrills and Laughter. With the arrival of sound films, Banks's strong European accent forced him to phase out his acting career in favor of working as a gagman and director. He directed Laurel and Hardy in their film, Great Guns, under the name 'Montague Banks'.

He was married to Gladys Frazin. The marriage was not a happy one and they divorced on April 29, 1932 as a result of her abusive behaviour.[2] She subsequently committed suicide in March 1939. He met Dame Gracie Fields in 1935 and they married in March 1940. As an Italian national, he would have been classified as an 'enemy alien' in Britain during World War II. Consequently he and Fields left the UK for Canada initially and then to United States in order to prevent his internment.[3] Italian American internment also came into place in the United States during 1941 and 1942, affecting thousands of Italians, but this was eventually relaxed.

He held dual Italian and U.S. citizenship. He died on a train outside Arona, Italy, of a heart attack, aged 52.[1]


Aula Didattica Monty Banks

In his home town of Cesena a foundation was created in honor of Banks, entitled the Aula Didattica Monty Banks.[4]. It is "an initiative promoted by the Comune, the course is open to boys and the opportunity to create a video".[5].

Selected filmography


External links



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