Anchor Bay presents
Are You Being Served? The Movie (1977)
Mr. Rumbold: Ring the bell, Peacock.
Captain Peacock: I hope you're not going to continue to order me about. We're on holiday, you know.
Mr. Rumbold: Yes, of course. Ring the bell, Steven.- Nicholas Smith, Frank Thornton
Stars: John Inman, Mollie Sugden, Frank Thornton, Trevor Bannister, Wendy Richards, Arthur Brough, Nicholas Smith, Harold Bennett, Arthur English
Director: Bob Kellett
Manufacturer: Crest National
MPAA Rating: Not RatedRun Time: 01h:35m:21s
Release Date: 2002-06-11
DVD ReviewAre You Being Served? was one of the huge British comedy hits on PBS for many years. The silly and lewd antics of the staff at the Grace Brothers department store were always good for a few laughs on a weekly basis. The series was successful enough that it was adapted for a feature film in 1977, taking the store comedy to the next level.
Grace Brothers is being remodeled, and as an incentive for the entire staff to take holiday at the same time, the store subsidizes the various departments off to exotic locales. Captain Peacock (Frank Thornton) and the others in men's and women's wear go to Costa Plonka, Spain for some sun and sand and possibly romance. What they don't count on is inept accommodations, sexual misunderstandings and an armed insurrection in the middle of their vacation.
The film version very properly imports the cast wholesale from the series, without making substitutions as so often happens in such endeavors. Another good move is setting nearly the first half hour in the store, so as to not dissociate matters too badly for the fans and to give plenty of the usual banter before sending the crew off on holiday. Where things fall down some is the holiday itself, which is fairly predictable in its terrible accommodations and various mishaps, including large furry insects.
What keeps matters going, however, is the interplay of the characters and their randy imaginations. Miss Brahms (Wendy Richard) is of course a focus of attention, but surprisingly Mrs. Slocombe (Mollie Sugden) herself gets into the act. The crew sends a series of mistaken billets-doux with ambiguous greetings such as "Dear Sexy Knickers." The sex comedy quotient is quite high indeed, with such shenanigans including cross-dressing in the time-honored British tradition and inflatable bikinis. John Inman's poofy Mr. Humphries gets a bit tiresome at times, but he seems to be having such a good time with it that it feels harmless enough.
One of the funniest bits involves Mr. Harman (Arthur English) and his unique manner of acquiring good accommodations; the unfortunate part is that this tends to separate him from the rest and his irascibility is a bit missing from the rest of the action. Overall, though, this is a gratifying special version of the series that will surely be enjoyed by fans of the program.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-
|Aspect Ratio||1.66:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The 1.66:1 picture is happily presented in anamorphic widescreen format. Rather harsh television lighting is still used, resulting in very little true black, but the detail is decent and color is quite good, with greens being particularly vibrant. Captain Peacock's fancy dressing gown, a complex visual, comes through with nice detail and without visible artifacting.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: The sole audio track is a 2.0 English mono. While a little hissy and occasionally muffled, this is a track that gets the job done but nothing more. Unsurprisingly, there's not much in the way of range to the sound, but the dialogue is generally free of distortion.
Audio Transfer Grade: C
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Extras Review: The sole extra presented here is the trailer, which is in decent enough condition. But subtitles would have been nice for the sometimes unintelligible British slang.
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsAnother TV series gets the big-screen treatment as Grace Brothers department store goes on holiday. Predictable, but still fun. The transfer's decent, but nothing here for extras at all.
Mark Zimmer 2002-09-09