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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > British > Detective > Music > Documentary > Make ‘Em Laugh – The Best Of British Comedy (Bedazzled/Nuns On The Run/Private Function/Privates On Parade/Return Of The Pink Panther/The Rutles – All You Need Is Cash/She’ll Be Wearing Pink Pajamas/T

Make ‘Em Laugh – The Best Of British Comedy (Bedazzled/Nuns On The Run/Private Function/Privates On Parade/Return Of The Pink Panther/The Rutles – All You Need Is Cash/She’ll Be Wearing Pink Pajamas/Time Bandits/Water/Withnail & I/Umbrella PAL Region Four/4/DVD Import Box Set)


Picture: C+ (Bedazzled: B-)     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Films: [ratings inside after title]


PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Two (2), Four (4) and Five (5) PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.  The following ten titles are in this box set and links are included to previous coverage, while films we have never covered are addressed for the first time.



Bedazzled (1967) [C] Stanley Donen was trying a different approach to filmmaking and was experimenting ever since Arabesque (1966, reviewed elsewhere on this site) so he decided to continue shooting his films in the scope frame and go to England to team up with the very successful comedy team of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore for this comedy (which they wrote) about a diner cook (Moore) who wants to be with a waitress there when Satan (Cook) shows up to tempt him with endless possibilities in his life with her.  The two comedy approaches produced a hit, but I never though they meshed well here, though I like all involved.  Highlights include Raquel Welch as Lilian Lust, several jokes and comedy moments that do work, a spoof of Pop Music culture that remains the remarkable and a final statement that holds up as bold enough.  This is still far superior to the 2000 remake, which totally gutted anything that worked here.  The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is the best in this set, with great color and impressive definition thanks to the PAL format, while the sound is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono as it was in its original release.  Extras include trailers for other Umbrella releases, On Location Footage and an interview with co-star Barry Humphries.


Nuns On The Run (1990) DVD [C]



Private Function (1985) DVD [C]



Privates On Parade (1982) [C]  This military comedy from actor-turned-director Michael Blakemore has John Cleese leading a cast as the British Major rounding up a performance group circa 1948 as a Southeast Asian front needs the entertainment, but this includes the men doing al the women’s roles and some of them may have had more practice on the side by virtue of their sexual orientation.  A mixed film with a mixed script by Peter Nicols (Georgy Girl) is somewhat saved by interesting work by Nicola Pagett, Denis Quilley, John Standing, Michael Elphick, Joe Melia and Simon Jones.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image (shot by Ian Wilson of Jarman’s Edward II (1992) and Captain Kronos) and Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono are not bad, but show their age and a Stills Gallery is the only extra.


Return Of The Pink Panther (1975) DVD [B]



The Rutles – All You Need Is Cash (1978) [C+]  This is an odd choice here since this is really a TV movie that was as much a U.S. as U.K. production with the original producer (Lorne Michaels) and the original Saturday Night Live cast.  Everyone is good here in this spoof of The Beatles written, co-directed and starring Eric Idle in more than one role.  The idea is to imitate as a joke the entire history of the rise and fall of the actual Beatles with their Pre Fab Four imitators (Idle is the reporter doing the fake documentary as well as the clone of Paul McCartney) that is more hit than miss.  The more you know about actual Beatles history, the funnier it is, but the illusion it is a parallel version is thrown off every time SNL actors (as good as Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, et al are) show up.  There are also missed opportunities for more jokes and this does not go all the way.  The belated sequels did not make up for this either.  Co-Director Gary Weis also worked as a producer, did the cinematography (which is sometimes amazing in reproducing the look of classic Beatles footage long before the digital era) and George Harrison makes a great cameo.  Michael Palin and Al Franken also show up.  However, the 1.33 X 1 image (mostly shot on film) could use some restoration and should for a future Blu-ray, while the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono ought to be upgraded for stereo.  Extras include a new intro for the first home video release by Idle, a songs-only option, trailers for other Umbrella releases, outtake interview footage with Mick Jagger and Paul Simon (who appear as themselves in the film) and a Directors Commentary are also included.


She’ll Be Wearing Pink Pajamas (1984) [C]  Eight women (including Julie Walters of Billy Elliot and Educating Rita) with unhappiness, problems and issues go hiking in a move that is supposed to change their lives.  Eva Hardy adapted her novel as a screenplay here and that is a plus, but Director John Goldschmidt does not totally grasp the material and other lulls stop this from being the film it could have been.  This includes limits in Goldschmidt’s grasp of a female discourse.  The 1.33 X 1 image can be soft, but is not bad looking, but also looks its age with Director of Photography Clive Tickner (The Secret Policeman’s Ball) getting some interesting outdoor shots throughout, while the sound is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is more basic.  There are no extras.


Time Bandits (1981) Blu-ray [C]


Umbrella DVD





Water (1985) [C] This satire by the British comedy writing team of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (Tracey Takes On…, Thick As Thieves) with That Girl mastermind Bill Persky has locals in a West Indian/Caribbean nation battling a U.S. drilling company whose discovery of natural mineral water sets of a battle in what is left of the dwindling British Empire.  This Hand Made Films production is the typically quirky fare the company backed and the amazing cast includes Billy Connolly, Michael Caine, Dick Shawn, Fred Gwynne, Valerie Perrine, Brenda Vacarro, Dennis Dugan, Jimmie Walker and Leonard Rossiter in a film that does not take off despite its ambitions and energetic performances by the cast.  It’s subject matter has appreciated, so it is more of a curio than ever, but only expect so much.  There are no extras, though the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is not bad, the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono shows its age but is not bad and this was shot by the legendary Douglas Slocombe (Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Never Say Never Again) which is a plus.


Withnail & I (1987) Import Blu-ray [C]


U.S. Blu-ray


Umbrella DVD




As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import set exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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