A GREAT big, sprawling, ill-disciplined countercultural satire adapted by Terry Southern and Joe McGrath from Southern’s own novel, this is possibly the prime exponent of that genre’s disjointed vignette approach to storytelling. The high concept is got over in the opening minutes – cynical millionaire Guy Grand (Peter Sellers) and his young cohort (Ringo Starr) set out to mock various areas of society by using Grand’s vast wealth to bribe individuals into willfully belittling their own roles in life. And that’s it. Thus the film wavers between sketches on this slender theme which deliver (an on-train board meeting with Dennis Price, the amputation of the nose from a priceless painting as a mortified John Cleese looks on) and those that don‘t (the phrase ‘Laurence Harvey strips while reciting Hamlet’ is about as entertaining as the sketch it describes). By the time Yul Brynner and Christopher Lee are wheeled on for arbitrary cameos aboard a luxury liner that symbolises Britain (somehow) the air of self-importance is stifling. Nearly all the big, sprawling countercultural satires of the ’60s (see also Candy, How I Won the War, If…) punched above their weight to some degree, but The Magic Christian‘s episodic pomp, coupled with the predictability of its disparate scenes and its tendency to coast along on a wave of borrowed countercultural trappings, make it an easy film to watch, but a hard film to like.Read More
Posts Tagged With 'Clive Dunn'
Let’s face it, The Mouse That Roared isn’t that good. Apart from the opening scenes in Grand Fenwick and that general who keeps insisting on eating his tea from off of a tin plate, it’s pretty lame. So this sequel never really had that much to follow in the first place and on that score, it doesn’t fare too badly. The absence of Sellers is the supposed gaping vent in the proceedings comparisons wise and that is most apparent in the role of Count Mountjoy, hereditary Prime Minister, for which part Ron Moody is no real substitute. But the replacement of Pete’s sub-Crystal Jollybottom musings as the Grand Duchess with Mags Rutherford is a trade up, we’d argue, though unfortunately she doesn’t get very much to do. Still, to make up for the absences of Leo ‘Rumpole’ McKern and the poor man’s Richard Hurndall, William Hartnell, from the last one, there’s also Cribbins, Terry-Thomas, John ‘would you mind awfully winding my watch for me?’ le Mesurier, Eric ‘too stern glasses’ Barker, Peter ‘at the Oscars’ Sallis, Clive ‘cuttlery’ Dunn, Hugh ‘you can get one with all black ones now’ Lloyd, Count Mario Fabrizi, the brilliant George Chisholm (sadly sans his Gentlemen of Jazz), The Old Graham Stark, Ed ‘G Section’ Bishop, Stringer Davis (no!!!) and Frankie Howerd. Frankie Howerd?Read More
Adam Faith searches for the Loch Ness monster (and, yes, sings the eponymous theme song) in the sort of fantasy comedy only a collaboration between Jeremy ‘Are You Being’ Lloyd and Terry ‘Genesis of the’ Nation could produce, with one of those Cream cast lists to die for – Sid James as a landlord, Charles Hawtrey as a Bohemian artist, Spike Milligan as a fisherman, Terry Scott and Gordon Rollings as coppers, Clive Dunn, Lance Percival, Wilfrid Brambell, Molly Weir, Fyffe “I’m standing here with this huge fish” Robertson and, in a slightly early seasonal appearance, Freddie ‘Dinner for One’ Frinton acting pissed.Read More
Ropey, ‘troubled’, bizarre-in-the-worst-way last hurrah from Peter Sellers, who plays both Sax Rohmer’s titular mastermind (in latex make-up and corny accent) and his dashing, lawnmower-loving British nemesis (in grey wig and incoherent aristocratic mumbles). He does both very badly indeed, but then he was not a well man, either physically (the ailing Fu jump-starts himself with electric shocks, in a grisly echo of Sellers’s own cardiac traumas) or mentally (the ever-difficult star sacked director Piers Haggard half way through, and finished it off himself, hence the resulting mess that takes “being all over the shop” into a new dimension). A wasted supporting cast includes Helen Mirren, David ‘tuppence’ Tomlinson, a totally out of place Sid ‘Show of Shows’ Caesar, a Dad’s Army double of John Le Mesurier and Clive Dunn, and Burt Kwouk in an obvious Panther-referencing cameo at the start. From then on, it’s a mish-mash of fizzling sub-plots, misfiring gags (and huge stretches without any recognisable gags, or indeed anything happening at all), much gratuitous ‘delightfully un-PC’ racism, and some admittedly rather good set design, all culminating in Sellers doing a totally pointless Japanese Elvis routine that would have Simon Groom slapping his ample forehead in disbelief.Read More
SHABBY SPIN-OFF from THE ARMY GAME depositing two of the erstwhile Tommies in seedy gentleman’s club The Imperial and letting comical class war ensue. Bootsie (ALFIE BASS) was the boot boy (wonder how long it took to come up with that idea) while Claude Snudge (BILL FRASER) polished his airs (pronounced “hairs”) and graces as the head butler. Club owner, Hesketh Pendleton, was CLIVE DUNN essaying a blueprint GRANDAD. Took and Feldman did the scripts. Bonkers 1970s revival had Bootsie winning the pools and Snudge working for, erm, the pools company.Read More
WHO’S THAT walking down the street? CLIVE DUNN resurrected the DAD’S ARMY schtick as accident-prone caretaker CHARLIE QUICK, forever in trouble with the council and pet parrot “The Captain”. Allegedly, he would protect you in a storm. If you were cold, he’d – ominously – “make you warm”. Would volunteer to mow your lawn, whether you wanted it or not. Minus points: often went quick when the band went slow, and was prone to riding a bike in a rodeo. Played the pianner in the strangest manner, too.Read More