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||IMDB Rating: 6.1/10 from votes
||Release: 8 September 1972 (UK) /
||Genre: Comedy, Romance
||Director: Dave Freeman,
||Stars: Bill Maynard, Carol Hawkins, Diana Coupland, George A. Cooper, Janet Brown, Julian Orchard, June Whitfield, Marianne Stone, Patsy Rowlands, Peter Butterworth, Robin Askwith, Sally Geeson, Sidney James, Terry Scott, Tommy Godfrey
||Synopsis: 1970s English suburbia: middle-aged homeowner Sid Abbot just wants to get on with building his illegal whisky still, but is frustrated by his workshy son, and otherworldly daughter. Then the rude and arrogant Ronald Baines and his family move in next door. Garden-fence hostilities soon commence. Written by Simon Shearn <[email protected]>
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Watch Bless This House - Alternative Versions.
Ostensibly "Bless This House" is a cinema spin-off from a hit
television sitcom, and a rapid one at that. But it can also be treated
as a continuation of the "Carry On" film series, by far the most
successful comedies in British screen history.
That cycle, already over 20 years old, was near exhaustion: too many of
its repertory company were looking and feeling their years to remain
funny in saucily physical capers. "Bless This House" guides them into
middle aged domesticity without forfeiting all the "Carry On" spirit of
mischief and misrule.
Behind the camera, the producer, director and composer were "Carry On"
veterans too, though screenplay duties passed from the incomparably
lewd Talbot Rothwell to Dave Freeman. The TV concept is intact: Sid
James, too long in the tooth to chase girls, is now a modestly
prosperous semi-detached suburban salesman. His taste for football and
booze is constrained by his duties to a wife who wants more
independence, a disheveled art student son and a naive schoolgirl
daughter. The arrival of a stuffy next-door neighbour gives Sid more
headaches, but after mild pratfalls and back chat, all ends well at the
altar. "Animal House" it isn't.
James, now pipe smoking and cardigan, retains the most suggestive laugh
on screen. Diana Coupland, a band singer turned actress, is a nicely
supportive, sometimes indignant foil. As the simian son, Robin Askwith
gives his buttocks less of a rhythmical workout than in the
contemporary "Confessions" films. Sally Geeson, sister of Judy, squeaks
and flaps as the idealistic daughter.
A ripe selection of character comedians surrounds the family, led by
Terry Scott and June Whitfield as the new neighbors. They almost make
the production a spin-off of their long-running marital sitcom as well,
albeit Scott's film character is more pompous.
Allusions to hippiedom, Women's Lib and ecological doom-mongering
(Geeson devours an Ehrlich-like tract called "Mankind is Doomed" and
leads the Junior Anti-Pollution League) place the film firmly in the
glamrock Seventies, but its core is pretty timeless domestic humour.
Sid looks weary and too much under the cosh of domesticity at times,
but his timing and delivery are crisp as ever. The move from TV allows
more expansive slapstick and quicker storytelling; the spirit of the
original, which ran till James's death four years later, is preserved.
Like the "Carry Ons", these sitcom spin-offs were critically derided
when released. They look far better now. "Porridge" and "Dad's Army"
are the cream; as on television, "Bless This House" is not in their
league, but it remains a mildly funny and endearing time killer 30
years on, like "On the Buses" and "For the Love of Ada". It seemed this
domestic kind of sitcom had been banished for ever by the
pseudo-sophisticates and neophilias who run British television, but the
success of BBC1's "My Family" (created by an American abroad) echoes
the Abbotts in their tree-lined ITV avenue.
Tags for Bless This House Full Movie
, Carol Hawkins
, Diana Coupland
, George A. Cooper
, Janet Brown
, Julian Orchard
, June Whitfield
, Marianne Stone
, Patsy Rowlands
, Peter Butterworth
, Robin Askwith
, Sally Geeson
, Sidney James
, Terry Scott
, Tommy Godfrey
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