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I've seen and heard this episode of Family Guy getting slammed for all kinds of different reasons. It's sometimes not an easy one to watch, and not high on the laugh factor. This is one case where the violence isn't used to elicit guffaws from the viewers.
Quagmire is a character I have mixed feelings about. He's very happy-go-lucky, and has a cavalier disregard for the consequences of his extremely active sex-life. However, he has been shown to have human feelings, and concern for his friends (I'm actually hurt that he has been shown to have developed a deep hatred of Brian, and I can't feel much warmth toward people who hate dogs, even talking dogs).
When he finds his sister is being routinely beaten up by her abusive boyfriend, he and the others take dramatic, and irresponsible action. Things don't go to plan, and some very bloody and bruising scenes ensue before the climax - although I've warned of spoilers, I don't want to give away the whole show.
I recently saw a psychological expert criticising this episode because Quagmire's sister was depicted as being weak and stupid, and not taking action, as though she were the butt of the standard FG humour. I think this person, qualified as she may be, was missing the whole point. There are women in abusive relationships like this, and this episode points out that the solution doesn't lie in removing the abuser. If someone appears to love the person who is abusing them, then they are not stupid, they are broken. Quagmire and his friends couldn't help his sister in the end - her boyfriend was in amongst her, and her psychological damage was far too complex for them to comprehend. As it would be in reality. Yes, this is just a cartoon, but the thought of it is heartbreaking.
I certainly think this episode does have a lesson to teach, even if it's only that more violence isn't the answer.
Incidentally, I was riveted to the screen, and too busy being entertained to notice that it was short on gags (apart from Quagmire's one!) Well-written and, I think, well-intentioned. I applaud Seth McFarland and the Family Guy team for risking episodes like this one.
9 out of 10 from me!
As this show has collected so few reviews on IMDb, I would like to add my two penn'orth, for what it's worth. I caught this by accident, not being an avid TV watcher - and became hooked. I'd heard a version of it on the radio - I'm not sure which came first in the order of things - but that was mildly amusing, although a lot of Miranda's comedy is visual, and when I heard a repeat of the radio version after seeing the TV show, I could see the problems they were up against.
Any flaws I found in the TV series - we armchair critics have to look for flaws in new things - were cancelled out by the fact that I felt better after each episode I watched. Not just amused, and in some cases, very tickled indeed, but uplifted.
All of the characters are attractive and likable - and despite Miranda's self-deprecating gags about being often mistaken for a man, she's a very feminine, and extremely good-looking lady. Her device of engaging directly with her home-viewing audience, via the camera, works well, and adds to her personal appeal.
The comedy chemistry in the scenes with her diminutive friend, Stevie, played by the also extremely good-looking and funny Sarah Hadland, creates some of the best laughs in the show.
Here's a thought: The last series I watched starring Patricia Hodge, who brilliantly plays Miranda's scatty mum in this, was called The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, from about 1985 (not to be confused with the later Hollywood version). In She-Devil, she played the rival of a character portrayed by another very statuesque brunette, Julie T. Wallace. I wonder if this had any influence on the decision to cast her in Miranda?
Perhaps a lot of this show's appeal is in it's almost childlike presentation. The cast, one by one, wave goodbye to us at the end of the episodes, like human Telly Tubbies. Maybe I'm wrong to feel good about that, but, like Miranda's confidences to us, it tickles me to death.
More, please. The world needs Miranda.
Horse Feathers (1932)
Hello, Old Timer!
I was delighted and enlightened by various other reviews of this movie - especially the one which explains the origin of the term 'horse feathers'. This is one of those films that I can throw onto the DVD player any time I want my spirits lifting, and Groucho's opening song and dance gets me right in the mood for the following lunacy. Wall-to wall Marx brothers without any intruding ickyness - many, including Groucho himself when he was around, would disagree with me, but A Night at The Opera, and almost everything that followed it, contained enough cloying love interest and 'serious' musical interludes to cancel out the good bits. Well, no, not quite, of course; but here we don't have to worry that an operetta is going to break out at any moment. I actually like the 'Everyone Says I Love You' variations, especially Chico's version, just about his crowning moment from all their films. In an interview, his daughter said the brothers were 100 times funnier on stage than could ever be captured on film, but this will do me for now. Several reviewers have mentioned the ruined scene in the college widow's apartment - I understand this was excised by a 'British television company' on the grounds of unsuitability for family viewing, but this explanation is a little unclear about how come there were no other prints that were intact. Someone has valiantly attempted to restore the scene, and it offers tantalising glimpses of a piece of fast-moving farce. I suppose lines like 'Mr Baravelli, you overcome me!' 'All right, but remember, it was your idea', and 'She's got more students than the college' might be seen to be lewd. The English subtitles on the DVD are the result of wrong guesses at the dialogue, and a gander at the script would have helped.
Without giving anything away, there's another part that I think needs re-cutting. Look at the first two shots of Zeppo. I'm sure they're in the wrong order. However, this hardly matters. I was shocked that anyone could actually hate this film, but each to their own - it's 70 minutes of madness and, for me, sheer happiness.
But Not Schmaltzy.
I concur with the previous contributor - this is a beautifully made episode. It has all the fun and brilliant animated artwork one might expect from this series, and the ultimate absence of cynicism gives what I can only describe as an uplifting emotional jolt. Fry sacrifices his life to save Leela from being stung by a giant bee - or so it seems - and for most of the episode, we are taken through a series of dreams and hallucinations experienced by Leela. I was absolutely carried away by the story, and don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it - but now it's one I can put on at any time, and still enjoy it. It isn't schmaltzy - the creators of Futurama are too intelligent and too human to do that to their public...but it shows real heart, and it's definitely something to watch if you're feeling down.
Jour de fête (1949)
I saw Jour de Fete in a little cinema in 1983, as part of a double bill with M. Hulot's Holiday. It was my introduction to classic Tati, and a very good one. While I enjoyed Hulot, it was Francois, the gangly postman who caused me, and my two friends, to miss several minutes of the film, because we couldn't breathe, or see, or hear anything because we were convulsed with laughter.
Jour de Fete had just been re released, and it was the black and white print with the hand-painted details that we saw, which I daresay added to the quaint, playful atmosphere of this film.
Some years later, I saw the restored Thompson-Color version...and I can understand why some reviewers thought it was computer-coloured, because it has that look about it - the tones don't enhance textures, they seem to float over the film, giving it the look of a hand-coloured lobby card; some of the Laurel and Hardy films, which have been computer-coloured, have the same look - not entirely objectionable, if you think Laurel and Hardy are funnier in colour. The duo tones of the restored Tati picture don't hurt it at all, and in fact, add a fuzzy, dreamlike quality to the entertainment.
However, I have a belief which rails against everything I've heard about this 'restored version'. Everyone seems to think that a black and white version of the film was shot simultaneously, in the event of the colour process not working. Having seen both releases, I didn't see enough difference between them to make me believe that Tati set up two cameras - one for colour, one for black and white - side by side for every shot. There are production stills in which we see two cameras side by side, but it's not uncommon for such a set up, perhaps where there may be different focal requirements for a scene, or so that shooting can continue without stopping to reload.
I'm convinced Tati was using a two-strip process, a limited colour system similar to methods that had been used since the 1920s. It would mean that two strips of black and white negative film, each receiving filtered images would be combined in the laboratory to create a colour, or limited colour end result.
So, if the system couldn't be processed, one of those strips of film would be processed in the normal way, and I'm pretty sure that's what would have happened here. So, I suppose the standby version sort of was shot simultaneously, but it would seem more straightforward to say that the film could only be processed in mono.
However, this is just a personal theory, based what I've seen, and bits I know, and if there is any proof that I'm absolutely wrong, I'll withdraw my comment.
Except the comment that, black and white, or colour, Jour de Fete is one of the great joys of the cinema. I haven't seen it for almost 10 years, and I need to see it again soon.
Torchy, the Battery Boy (1960)
Topsy Turvy Land
I've just seen an episode of Torchy for the first time in almost 50 years. Like the other reviewer, Ivan, I remember rather hating Torchy, but we watched it on Sunday afternoons, because it was there. Like a lot of Roberta Leigh productions (especially the later Space Patrol), there was a slightly 'bad-dream' quality about it. The good intentions, and large coating of sugar icing on everything dispelled this effect somewhat (I remember a lot of the action taking place on a star called Topsy Turvy Land - eww), but I'm happy to report that I enjoyed it more at age 52 than I did at age whatever-I-was when I saw it first (I think I was watching reruns, and I was about six or seven...I don't know, it was a long time ago). Kenneth Connor was the only name I recognised on the voice artist credit list - all the others were created by terribly posh ladies for the child voices. Anyway, it was nice to see string puppets for a change after all this tiring CGI stuff. Those were the days, eh?
I saw this when it first came out, and I quite enjoyed it, but there was something about it that bothered me. I watched it again on TV recently, and I still quite enjoyed it, but there was still something about it that bothered me. I have only just figured out what it is. Everyone in the film looks as though they are working at gunpoint. Except Dudley Moore, who looks genuinely drunk throughout, but that idea falls down, because drunks are boring, and Dud is fun. No, there is a certain sense of 'let's just be professional, and do our best, and maybe they'll let our families go.' I'm sure that is not what happened, but something seems to hang over the production, and it there's some discomfort along with the entertainment.
Once we're over the mild novelty of Sir John Geilgud reciting cuss-words, his performance isn't entirely convincing, and his appearance in this movie seems a little desperate.
The dodgiest performance comes from Geraldine Fitzgerald, who, as Arthur's eccentric aged relative, seems like someone quite young, under some bad ageing make-up...but no, I see she was near seventy at the time this movie was made, so I don't know what happened there.
Liza Minelli seems a little too vibrant for this strangely-paced film, and although she has scenes with Geilgud's character, they seem to belong in separate universes, or as though they were cartoons rendered by artists with completely differing styles.
Most of the other comments on this movie have been very complimentary, and I feel I am being a misery here, but there you go.
Oh, and why would Arthur and Linda have to starve if his family cut him off without a cent? Arthur (like Dud) is a brilliant pianist, and he could make a fortune tickling the ivories! Anyway, the movie made enough money to generate a sequel - now that was a miserable experience!
Tons of Trouble (1956)
This is tricky, because I last saw this movie on TV in about 1965. The central character, 'Mr Pastry', played by Richard Hearne, was a popular knockabout comic, still busy at that time, and I, as a child, welcomed any appearance by him on the television. He looked like a little old man with fluffy white hair and moustache, and a dark suit and hat.
As far as I know this was Mr Pastry's only feature film. The title refers to the huge boilers that are used to heat an office building, and Mr Pastry is the caretaker, who has looked after them all his working life. Trouble arises when the system is to be modernised, and oil heaters installed, meaning that the big old boilers will be scrapped, along with their loving caretaker.
I'm sure this film is full of slapstick and chases, but the only scene that remains in my mind is poor old Mr Pastry saying his good-byes to his boilers. They have names (one, I'm sure, is Bessie), and I think I remember the whole thing as being quite touching.
I also remember that it all turns out okay in the end. I hope this film is still intact somewhere, and someone sees fit to give it a TV airing one afternoon. It's a comedy about a changing world, and in 1965, it was shown at peak time in the evening, which just goes to show how the world continues to change.
I know I've seen a fair portion of this film as part of a series on rare silent movies, which was shown on TV around 25 years ago. It was beautiful and fascinating, and I yearned to see more of it, although most published literature states that it is 'lost'.
As it is extremely unlikely that the film will ever see the light of day in its complete form, a spoiler warning is irrelevant, and the following is gleaned from published synopses more than from my personal recollection.
It is an early space opera, concerning a team of explorers who visit the planet Mars, and encounter a race of peace-loving vegetarians (is there any other kind? Oh, sit down, Adolph!). They return to Earth with the high priest's lovely daughter, and the plea for peace is threatened only by one villain who is dealt with by what can only be described as an Act of God.
Apart from George Melies' crazy moon explorer fantasies, this seems to be the first interplanetary adventure film in history, and from a country (Denmark) not noted for science-fiction films of any kind. Maybe they thought that they'd never do one better than this.
We might giggle at the idea that the spaceship had propellers on its wings, but come on...we are still accepting lots of logistically improbable and impossible concepts in films of today. I hope this film does still exist somewhere. The fragments I've seen, and the material I've read, makes me yearn to experience the whole of this 90-year-old space opera.
200 Motels (1971)
There is no film quite like 200 Motels, but a lot of its very strange appearance (especially when viewed on a cinema screen) is due to its videotape source. (Actually, it isn't the first film released theatrically, to have been originated on this medium. One of the versions of Jean Harlow's biography to be released in 1965 used something called 'Electronovision', which is much the same thing, although it seems suspiciously like an afterthought over a successful TV play in that case.) The 1971 double album was my introduction to Zappa's music, back in 1973, and I first saw this film in 1978, on a double bill with - wait for it - Annie Hall. Now, that's bizarre. I was mesmerised by this messy production, but everyone in the cinema, including my friends, seemed to hate it. Even by 1978, the effects were dated, and the sound quality left a lot to be desired. However, ten years later, when I saw the film in on VHS, I scooped it up, and I still enjoy it.
More satire and music would have been welcome in place of the cast and orchestra being forced to recite childish swearwords, although it must be realised that this is an exercise to defuse the effect of 'bad language', much as Shaw did with Pygmalion (the original play has the word 'bloody' repeated over and over, opposed to achieving the comedy shock effect as in the 1938 movie) There are some very well worked out scenes, such as the stars' dressing-room/racehorse chute sequence, and the dialogue between Jim Black and Theodor Bikel, and maybe sufficient time and budget would have yielded more of the same.
The music was sufficient to launch me into thirty years of collecting Zappa's music, and I still enjoy it today - it's more fulfilling to listen to than the movie is to watch, but the movie is worth seeing, as long as you are not expecting anything too coherent.
In amongst the confusion is a worthwhile film about groupies, and genius, and the sadness, as opposed to the glamour, of the life of rock stars, and I can't help feeling that someone with fifty million dollars to spend could do worse than remake this. It's about time Zappa's output reached a wider audience. Stop remaking films that were fine as they were, you guys. We didn't need another Planet of the Apes, Tim Burton! Do a film about Frank Zappa. Johnny Depp could play Frank!
Watch it for Caroline
When I saw stills of this movie back in 1979, I thought someone had finally made a film just for me. It had spaceships, and robots and something that Star Wars didn't have: Caroline Munro. I waited in vain for its appearance at the cinema. It turned up on TV one afternoon in the beginning of 1985. Well, it was nearly the film I had been waiting for. Overall, it's got everything a b-movie addict can want: ambitious, but not always successful visual effects, at least one Shakespearian actor forced to recite comic strip dialogue, plenty of continuity errors, and a number of very attractive young women, principally, the said Miss Munro, as Stella Star.
It was a shock to find that the very English tones of Caroline had been dubbed by an American voice artist, but that's the movie business. The French speaking version(even for non-French speakers, such as myself) is preferable. Stella's voice is light and playful, and the robot, instead of the 'amusing' cowboy voice in the English language version, talks in mournful, echoey tones, which, for me, works very well.
Caroline Munro, although playing the central character, gets rather sidelined throughout the proceedings; however, she has two scenes in the first part of the story in which the action revolves around her, and if these are the best parts of the whole movie. Her skirmish with a tribe of amazons makes for a very exciting sequence. Inexplicably, but stunningly clad in a shiny black bikini, and thigh length boots, she dominates this sequence. It's a shame that an important section of it, in which the amazons attach her to a mind-probe device, was deleted because of film exposure problems. The film does, unfortunately, contain several instances where a prop or effect has been abandoned at the last minute, and a build-up is all for nothing.
Seek out one of the early drafts on the script (tucked away on the DVD set, if you dig deep enough), to get some idea of what might have been, had not the production been plagued with misfortune.
There are several ways to enjoy this movie. Pick out the bits you like, and ignore the rest; look on it as a latter-day Flash Gordon Serial-style entertainment (it does rattle along at breakneck speed when it gets going), and forget all about logic, and literacy, and the rules of storytelling; or just shut your eyes and listen to John Barry's fabulous orchestral score.
I like Starcrash for two reasons. Caroline Munro is one of them. The other is the fact that Luigi Cozzi wanted to make the movie he'd always wanted to see. He'd written the script before Star Wars came out, and it was only pressure from the studio that forced him to imitate elements of that film. Conversely, it was budget restraints and studio disputes that hampered his efforts.
At the beginning of this review, I made what may seem like a disparaging remark about the visual effects. In a day when we're used to spectacular CGI extravaganzas produced by hundreds of artists and technicians, and costing millions, it's well to consider that most of the effects on this movie were created by one guy with little time, few facilities and a comparitively tiny budget. It's easy to guffaw at the occasional stray shadow on a sky background, but I think what Armando Valcauda achieved, under the circumstances, was, to quote Stella, 'incredible'.
Ultimately, one of the most appealing shots of Caroline Munro as Stella Star is near the end, when Stella Star is swimming through space, and we get a close-up of her very beautiful smile through the visor of her helmet. It kind of makes you feel better, just looking at her.
The Invisible Boy (1957)
I feel compelled to add my two pennyworth, as the shade of this movie has been with me for most of my life. One of the most terrifying things I ever saw on TV, and I think I was only four, so this was back in 1959, was a clip from The Invisible Boy. I had no idea what a robot was, and so my introduction to the concept was this most impressive creation, 'Robby'. They must have been very generous with the footage, because I saw the whole kite sequence and the aftermath. I must have been watching through my fingers for most of the time, because when the kid is talking to Robby, he is on the top of a stepladder, and for a long time, I didn't even realise that the robot had a proper body, I thought it was just a great big glass head. Also, I thought that the chap announcing the clip had said Robin the Robot, and, I thought, hey, that's my name, so there was a scary identification thing happening there, too. I only remember that this sequence played on my mind - big giant glass head and a small boy - I was plagued by the notion that Robby the Robot might, one day, come lurching into our house, with his big old twirling pirate-earring antennae.
Flash forward to January 2006. I had never seen a single section of this film since that nightmarish trailer on our little old wooden television set. Now I have it in my grasp, after finding it on DVD. I cut straight to the scene that scared me so much. It's astonishing how clearly it has registered on my memory. I even remember some of the dialogue.
Having now watched this movie all the way through, I can only concur with several of the other reviews, and there is little that I can add. It certainly is a pretty uneven movie, and it looks like several different writers and directors worked on different sequences without ever liaising, although I don't believe this to be the case.
One of the other reviewers referred to this, I think, as a child's nightmare, and that's a very apt description. The film's unevenness of mood adds to its bad-dream quality.
The sequences that contain intentional humour are quite well-devised, but seem to belong to a little film of their own. The cast of competent nobodies deal with their lines pretty well, whether they know what the heck is going on or not.
Robby has quite a lot to do, and, under the evil influence of the super-computer (this is part of the standard published synopsis, so I'm not giving anything away), gets to be menacing, which he's really rather good at, although his credibility wavers at one point, when he actually pops up from behind a bush in the garden. That has to be seen to be believed.
I'm so glad I laid this ghost after 46 years, especially as the film is one of the strangest things I've enjoyed in many a long day.
It's not really a good, or well-crafted film, but it's weird enough to merit my recommendation, especially as it has big, scary old Robby the Robot!
The Worker (1965)
Unemployable, but inimitable.
Astonished to find three episodes of this on an old videotape I bought the other day. Even more astonished that the first one on the tape was one that I actually remembered quite well from 1970. I wouldn't have believed that I saw it later than 1967, but a reference to 'Midnight Cowboy' places the recording date after 1969. I was a kid during this series' run, and could never get enough of Charlie Drake. He was a brilliant comic in both the physical and verbal sense, and I remember once seeing him carrying on with the comedy while bleeding from the head after jumping through a prop window (in an episode of this series). Each episode of The Worker adhered to a formula: Charlie strides into the Employment Exchange, makes a misery of the life of the official (Henry McGee, playing Mr Pugh, or 'Mister Poo' as Drake's character calls him), is sent to try out another job, fails with varying degrees of hilarity (so my memory informs me), then returns, apparently full of cheer that he is unemployable.
The stunts and slapstick seem eclipsed, at least in TV terms, by the later series 'Some Mothers do 'ave 'em', but it's fascinating to watch Drake and McGee performing their surreal double-headers. Drake is a species of his own, and the closest his character comes to anything resembling a human being, is a sort of overgrown mischievous baby, his brilliant blue eyes defying the monochrome medium. He has a language all his own, and it seems to have come more from a refusal to talk normally than an inability to do so (much more rebellious than the uniform slang used by teenagers).
I was hoping to show the tape to my 11-year-old stepson, who actually loves vintage comedy, but to be honest, there are many elements of the first episode that I found problematic. Charlie decides he wants a sex change - this is proposed from such an innocent angle ('cos I ain't done very well as a man!') that it's disarming, but a scene following an incident in which his clothes shrink in a car wash (causing him, for some reason, to be mistaken for a woman) is rather disturbing: he is waylaid by a gang of skinheads (who were, at that time, the emergent yob element - there had been a considerable lacuna since the decline of the teddyboy, and they had a lot of catching up to do), and it is quite clear ('just relax, darlin'') that their intention is rape. A farcical rescue has them each deposited in a dustbin, but the scene is much too menacing, and the intended juxtaposition of silly comedy doesn't cancel it out.
However, this is worth seeing, if you can track down the cassette (I don't know how many other episodes survived). Drake is supremely confident in his performance, and draws us onto his side to tease the long suffering Mr Pugh.
The closest talent I've seen to Drake in delivery and physicality in recent years is Lee Evans. Both stars are great when they're in the right setting, that is to say, contexts that use such tremendous energy to good effect. Anything else is a disaster.
Bootsie and Snudge (1960)
All luvly an' 'orrible.
This series was a spin-off from 'The Army Game' (now available on DVD, and probably worth checking out, although my infant memories of it may be unreliable), featuring its two favourite characters, Bootsie (Bisley) and Snudge - now working in a posh club in London. I was between five and eight when this was on, and the concept of the setting was lost on me, but I loved the show, and the antics of the characters. The fact that The Army Game is available on DVD, and this is not, points to the likelihood that it is lost forever. Oh, well. Clive Dunn appeared in this, looking exactly as he did in Dad's Army, ten years later, and playing much the same sort of character - in this case, 'Old Johnson', constantly reminiscing about 'Mafeking', another reference that was lost on me, but still seemed funny at the time. Robert Dorning was the snippy Hon. Sec, cutting everyone's arguments off with 'tup-tup! Tup-tup-tup!' The relationship between the two leads was similar to Laurel and Hardy in the respect that they were both a little dim, but Bootsie knew that he was, and Snudge didn't. Bootsie's defence against Snudge's snorting was the unforgettable, 'Ooh, Mister Smudge, you're all luvly an' 'orrible'. Later, they span off from the gentlemen's club setting, but I have no specific memories beyond these few catchphrases. I just know that as a little kid, I liked it, and I could watch it with my family. They tried to revive it in the early seventies. I watched one episode, and I wanted to like it, but it was 'orrible, and in no way luvly.
The Revengers' Comedies (1998)
Enjoyable, but miscast
I like this movie, and when I was in the habit of watching films, or sections of them, over and again, this was a favourite of mine to dip into. It has some very good moments, for the reason of being both funny and very well acted. I'd heard the play in a lengthier form on the radio some years before, so I was familiar with the story, and I was pleased to see Steve Coogan in an early film role (he is horribly wonderful as Bruce Tick). However, something about the film has always bothered me, and it actually only occurred to me very recently just what it is. It is that all of the young male leads are in the wrong roles. I just can't believe that Sam Neil would even consider the option of suicide (not a giveaway - this is the beginning of the film). Martin Clunes would have been better as Henry Bell - but it was the central role, and Sam Neil was the bigger name. Helena Bonham-Carter has lots of fun playing the psychotic woman. Utterly convincing, and it's easy to see why poor old Henry gets mixed up with her. The Revengers Comedies (Sweet Revenge is a better title for this movie)is not a classic, but it's better than a lot of recent British comedy films, and is a faint echo of a craft in which we once excelled, a long time ago.
Jack's the Boy (1932)
Chisel-chinned Jack Hulbert starred in a number of comedy adventures, in which he invariably played the same kind of unlikely, gangling hero. This is one of those in which his real-life wife, Cicely Courtneidge co-starred, but although Jack made an odd-looking leading man, Cicely would have made an even odder-looking heroine, so she played up the comedy, while a younger actress was wheeled in for Jack to win. This is 1932, and it is British, and it is creaky, but it's entertaining for all that. I saw it more than ten years ago, and I have to say that one scene remains burned in my memory. Jack and Cicely have to search a room, and for some reason, they turn the procedure into an eccentric dance. I played this part of the tape to some friends of mine who were unfamiliar with these actors, and this realm of films, and it got a huge laugh. I was pleased to see, some years later, that that sequence was on a video loop, and was being played all day long at the Museum Of the Moving Image in London. The film is itself a museum piece, because it's more curious than funny most of the time, especially as the medium of film doesn't really seem to have captured the essence of whatever made Cicely Courtneidge such a national treasure, although she's jolly enough. I remember the photography being rather good, and although it creaks, some of the timing is spot on. This film is eccentric fun, and while there is a sense of theatrical performers being constrained by the cameras, it's ultimately uplifting, and worth keeping an eye out for, even if just for that room-searching scene.
Me Mammy (1968)
Friday evening comedy
I was around fourteen when 'Me Mammy' was shown on BBC on Friday evenings. I remember the opening credits, which alternated between shots of Milo O'Shea, successful businessman, swanning around in a Mercedes, and apparently leading a full life, against strident, brassy music, and shots of his mammy doing prosaic things around the house, against gentle Irish folk-dance music. Of course, poor Milo is dominated by her, despite his high-power job. A line sticks in my mind, which goes something like, 'Me mammy has no objection to me getting married. It's just that whoever I married would have to be over 60. And she'd have to be a nun. And she'd have to be a fella!' Like a lot of comedies at this time, it sometimes strained to be outrageous, but, looking back, I think it was quite subtle, especially in that the mammy wasn't a dragon, but quite a likable and dotty old lady (probably about the same age as her 'son' in reality), and they'd just somehow got stuck that way. Moments remain with me rather than stories. Like mammy's devotion to 'Randoloph Scott' -( Randolph, that is - who was a cowboy star from way back when) and her outrage at her boy's acquaintance with 'filthy trollops'. Yootha Joyce played his long-suffering girlfriend. I know the BBC used to just wipe tapes, so I don't suppose a single fragment of it survives, but maybe this will rekindle someone's memories, should they chance upon it.