HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
StageFright
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
Old
Prince of Nothingwood, The
Gagarine
Mr. Jones
Enfants Terribles, Les
Slumber Party Massacre
Bones, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
   
 
  Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It, The Holmes Improvement
Year: 1977
Director: Joseph McGrath
Stars: John Cleese, Arthur Lowe, Stratford Johns, Connie Booth, Ron Moody, Holly Palance, Joss Ackland, Denholm Elliott, Gyearbour Asante, Nick Tate, Burt Kwouk, Derek Griffiths, Val Pringle, Bill Mitchell, Christopher Malcolm, Josephine Tewson, Kenneth Benda
Genre: Comedy, TV MovieBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The world is in crisis and it's all because of an incident in the Middle East where American diplomat Dr Henry Gropinger (Ron Moody) was on a flight there on a mission of peace, but on the plane found that his diary had been pilfered and he did not know where he was heading. Once they landed he thought he was in Israel and announced "Shalom", leading him to be shot dead by the Arabs. Then the message arrives from the mysterious Moriarty: this heralds the end of civilisation as we know it...

This was a television comedy film made by John Cleese between stints in Fawlty Towers, except he didn't make it for the BBC, he went to the other side and offered it to ITV. This was really the brainchild of seasoned Brit comedy creator Joseph McGrath and Jack Hobbs, and as you may have guessed from the name of the villain, conducted its business as that old standby, the Sherlock Holmes spoof, with Cleese in the role of the famed sleuth. Only he wasn't really, as what he was playing was a descendant of the detective.

You can tell that by the fact this was set in 1975, even though it was broadcast in 1977, presuming that if civilisation had ended then the audience would know about it by then. The skits before Cleese showed up were pretty obvious stuff, making fun of various foreigners in the British manner, but once he appeared the tone brightened considerably, assisted by a neat double act with his Dr Watson, Arthur Lowe. Bits of comic insanity included Watson actually being bionic, complete with Six Million Dollar Man sound effects, although as we discover that will only take a hero so far.

Stratford Johns played the man from Scotland Yard - complete with caption announcing him as such - who visits Holmes and after a scuffle where the investigator thinks that he is an intruder and tries to incapacitate him (failing) the facts of the case can be laid out. If for a good portion of the running time you might be thinking this is exhibiting an all-too-typical seventies desperation to secure laughs, and actually isn't doing that too well, then you're rewarded with an unexpectedly decent item of ludicrousness that does tickle the funny bone.

So if the very much of its era racial humour makes you cringe, you can delight in some amusing performances, especially those of Cleese and Lowe, who are both pretty daft, although at least Holmes is more aware of it than his loyal partner. Highlights included the scene where Moriarty's dark forces manage to assassinate almost every one of the world's top policemen gathered to sort out the problem before the ultimatum arrives, and a great skit where Holmes tries to work out which of two Watsons is the evil double, plus the cast was good quality for this type of thing. If only it had been more consistent and more reliant on wit than simply having the actors bump into objects or fall over; that kind of silliness can wear out its welcome fairly quickly if the invention is not there to back it up. Overall, though, this was an obscurity worth investigating for Brit comedy fans. Music by Ivor Slaney.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2603 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Joseph McGrath  (1930 - )

Scottish director of film and TV comedy who debuted as one of four directors on the chaotic James Bond spoof Casino Royale. The Terry Southern-penned Magic Christian was a bizarre comedy whose cast included Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, while 1973's Digby, The Biggest Dog in the World is a much-loved kids favourite. McGrath also helmed The Great McGonagall, another oddball Milligan comedy, and big screen version of Rising Damp.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: