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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > British > Hand Made Films Comedy Wave (A Private Function/Nuns On The Run/Withnail & I/Umbrella Entertainment/Region Four/4/PAL DVDs)

Hand Made Films Comedy Wave (A Private Function/Nuns On The Run/Withnail & I/Umbrella Entertainment/Region Four/4/PAL DVDs)


Picture: C+†††† Sound: C+/C+/B-†††† Extras: C†††† Films: C



PLEASE NOTE: These DVD editions of Hand Made Film comedies can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Four/4 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



Long after his amazing success with Concert For Bangladesh, former Beatle George Harrison formed a film production company called Hand Made Films and it is a more successful company than many realize, including hits like Time Bandits (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and one common denominator between the films tended to be the more eccentric and odd, the better an idea for a film.Umbrella Entertainment in Australia has issued three of these films on separate DVDs and two of them had success in the U.S. as well.


A Private Function (1985) has Maggie Smith and Michael Palin as a married couple in post-WWII Britain still suffering from wartime rationing when they discover that an oversized pig is being fattened more still to be slaughtered and fed to some rich people in the area.They decide to kidnap the pig and feed it to their friends instead!Never as funny as it sounds, though performances are not bad, but it is most interesting for its time period, is hardly funny and even Denholm Elliott cannot save this.


Nuns On The Run (1990) has Robbie Coltrane and Eric Idle dealing with cardboard gangsters who want them killed, so they decide to avoid death by pretending to be nuns.Makes TVís Bosom Buddies seem like a Billy Wilder classic and is also just not that funny.Still, a weird high concept typical of the company.


Withnail & I (1987) is the oddest of all as Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann fill out the title characters as they drive each other nuts in their misadventures in 1969 England, complete with drug-induced delusions and an uncle (Richard Griffiths) who is also out of his mind.Has potential at first, but gets too impressed with itself and eventually implodes.Still, a cult item for a different generation than the other two films has its following for better and worse, but overrated overall.



All three films are presented in an anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 aspect ratio and are from decent prints, but despite the advantages of the PAL format over NTSC, all are a bit softer than expected in the detail department, suggesting older transfers.Still, color can be rich and they are not bad.Function and Nuns have Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, but Nuns has monophonic Pro Logic-type surrounds that are limited.Withnail has such a surround mix too, but also adds Dolby Digital 5.1 with limits and a much-preferred DTS 5.1 mix that is not great, but much better than anything among the three releases here.


Extras do not appear on Function, but Nuns has a trailer, stills and audio commentary by director Johnathan Lynn, while Withnail has two DVDs and two audio commentary tracks on DVD 1, while DVD 2 has trailers, still, a Swear-A-Thon, three featurettes and original documentary on the film from 1999.



As noted above, you can order these PAL DVD imports exclusively from Umbrella at:





-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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