Most of us are familiar with Donald Sinden - a good many of us from his fruity-voiced luvvy puppet on 'Spitting Image', always angling after a knighthood.
Well, the knighthood came, and Sir Donald has joined the ranks of Sir John, Sir Ralph, Sir Laurence, et al., the main difference being that Sir Donald is still very much alive.
It is nice to see this collection of his films re-mastered and re-released. They are (mostly) very good and very watchable British film making, with a repertory company of excellent actors and actresses - and as a boxed set of no less than ELEVEN features, this one works out at very good value.
I bought it because of one film - MAD ABOUT MEN. I remember it from those Tuesday evening 'British Film Comedy' showings on BBC1 in the 60s and 70s. It was the sequel to an earlier effort, MIRANDA, which starred Glynis Johns as a mermaid.
MAD ABOUT MEN is joyous - it is dotty Englishness sent up to perfection, with some moments to die for - I call your attention especially to the end-of-the-pier show which kicks off with a hearty ladies' choir (all the members well past the first flush of youth) warbling about country swains and hey-nonny-no. Delicious.
Glynis Johns is glamorous, both as a human, and with a fishy tail, and Mr Sinden is extremely dishy - tall, dark, and handsome in his fisherman's sweater, as the romantic lead.
The other films are mostly excellent - especially worthy of note are MIX ME A PERSON, starring a young Adam Faith, released before Britain abolished hanging (The debate must have been raging at the time, and one wonders if this nicely constructed drama about a miscarriage of justice maybe helped Parliament to make up its mind) and ROCKETS GALORE - a wickedly funny satire about the Arms Race and its potential impact on a quiet Hebridean community. It is of course a sequel to the legendery WHISKY GALORE, with a large number of the original cast still doing battle with sheep, strong drink, and pompous English intruders.
WHISKY GALORE is still justly famous. This one, for some reason, isn't.
The Donald Sinden Icon Collection should go some way towards redressing the balance.