25 December 2006 | siobhan-rouse
Who is the intended audience?
I enjoyed this film very much - in a simple-minded sort of way. It's a very strange mixture of different types of comedy, in fact you could guess that the "script", such as it is, was written to fit whichever film and TV actors Micheal Bentine could persuade to do turns for him.
There are some longeurs, especially a sequence about a heavy-handed motorcycle cop, but never mind because a few minutes later another famous face pops up to amuse us. My favourite characters were the Sikh jazz musicians ("De Sihkers" - groan !) and Norman Wisdom's Irish priest, who tries to instruct a group of boys about gymnastics. Half the fun is in realising that in today's politically correct world, characters like these would never reach the screen - more's the pity. Incidentally, I can imagine Spike Milligan coming up with both the above stereotypes, so maybe the falling out between him and Bentine was more to do with personalities than material.
This film seems to have been made entirely on location around London (and I spotted Tolworth Tower in the escapologist sequence, which is near where I grew up), and you can tell it was made in a great hurry with very little money.
But who was the intended audience? Surely in 1966, at a time when adult cinema-goers were getting used to more sophisticated and subversive films, this one couldn't have held much appeal. In fact its resemblance to the Children's Film Foundation shorts (also funded by the Rank organisation) makes me think that this was intended to be shown at "Saturday morning picture shows" for kids. There is nothing here that a child couldn't understand (though I'm not so sure about the comment,"He's buying me a black jacket, not a red one ! He's kinky, not a communist!"). And what on earth are those wrestlers at the very end all about ???
This film is now available on DVD, curiously in 4:3 picture ratio - is this the only print available ? and it's 90 minutes of innocent fun. If you're still not sure what sort of comedy it is, think:
The Beatles' film "Help". The TV silent classic "The Plank". "Some mothers do 'ave 'em"