TV Cream

Films: E is for...

Every Home Should Have One

“Think dir-teeeee!” Marty Feldman stars as frustrated junior advertising exec Teddy Brown in this decidedly wayward sex/commerce satire scripted by himself, Barry Took and Denis Norden. Lumbered with a nightmare campaign for McLaughlin’s frozen porridge (“for bonnie boys and bonnie girls”), jealous of his slick Transatlantic associate Moray ‘Compact’ Watson, and all but estranged from his prudish wife Judy ‘Paradise Towers’ Cornwell, he drifts off into assorted fantasy sequences (often animated by a still-learning-the-ropes Richard ‘Pink Panther’ Williams), dreams up various perverse campaigns for the porridge (a countrywide beauty contest, a sexed-up Goldilocks ad, a Clockwork Orange-style gang rape scene inspired by a Wednesday Play with Dave Dee) and lusts after Swedish nanny Julie ‘Pompeii’ Ege (in a possibly ill-advised all-nude fantasy beach sequence). Along the way, we get plenty of sixties/seventies glamour signifiers (rubber plants, all-white corridors, “Marty Feldman’s wardrobe supplied by Mr Fish”, lavishly Formica-ed restaurants and boardrooms complete with cocktail bar behind sliding panel), that toothpaste tube-shaped car that used to appear on the likes of Nationwide and Blue Peter a lot, a climactic chase through a props department, Patrick ‘Wives’ Cargill, Jack ‘Corrie’s Bill Gregory’ Watson as the kilted Old Man McLaughlin, Penelope Keith as a Gestapo Nanny, Dinsdale Landen and Frances de la Tour getting hot under the collar at one of Cornwell’s Whitehousian TV campaign meetings, Michael Bates, John Wells and Alan Bennett appearing unannounced in the final courtroom scene, Vicki ‘Prince Andrew’ Hodge, and a blink-miss stint from Marianne Stone as a TV producer.

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  1. Mr Grimsdale

    July 16, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Oh my gawd, I’m old enough to admit I actually saw this at the cinema when it first appeared. Wasn’t half as good as I’d expected/hoped. Does Marty Feldman now stand the test of time? Was he really as funny as he (possibly) seemed to be back then?

    If he’d not disappeared off the planet when he did, would he be doing anything interesting now?

    But if nothing else he deserves to be remembered for being responsible – along with Barry Took – for Round the Horne

  2. paulus - Bangkok

    July 16, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    it will never match his portrayal as “Igor” in “young Frankenstein”
    it’s Classic-tastic!

  3. Lee James Turnock

    August 31, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    This is a weird, creepy film. It tries to be all things to all people, and just ends up as a self-indulgent mess. Is it a satire on advertising? Is it a swipe at the overly censorious likes of Mary Whitehouse? Is it a sex comedy? Is it a fantasy? Is it knockabout farce? It’s all these things, and at the same time, none of them.

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