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Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell [DVD] [1999]

Peter O'Toole , Royce Mills , Peter O'Toole , Ned Sherrin    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Peter O'Toole, Royce Mills, Timothy Ackroyd, Sarah Berger, Annabel Leventon
  • Directors: Peter O'Toole, Ned Sherrin, Tom Kinninmont
  • Producers: Tom Kinninmont, Paddy Wilson, Laurence Myers
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Oct 2000
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004YVDE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,264 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Peter O'Toole stars in Ned Sherrin's 1999 stage revival of Keith Waterhouse's award-winning stage play, which features former 'Spectator' columnist Jeffrey Bernard (O'Toole) looking back over the major events of his life while trapped overnight in his Soho local, the Coach and Horses. The increasingly inebriated Bernard recalls the characters who have populated his life, from his various ex-wives and irascible pub landlord Norman to the eccentric individual responsible for introducing him to the joys of cat racing.

Customer Reviews

3 star
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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bernard and O'Toole - the perfect cocktail 5 Jun 2003
It must be explained that this is not a film adaptation of the stage play but a video of a live performance at the Old Vic in London. This makes for some slightly wobbly camera work and awkward cuts. Furthermore this is stage acting, rather than film acting for camera; consequently the actors seem to shout a lot, as they project to the back of the theatre. This said, it works well enough. The play is structured around Peter O'Toole's monologues, which allow the camera to remain on him in close-up for much of the performance. The presence of an audience lends the whole a festive atmosphere, tapping into the electricity of a live performance. The director's commentary explains that this was precisely the effect intended by O'Toole when the video was shot.
There is a quick cutaway to the audience during the 'cat racing' scene. The commentary says nothing but that is surely Mr Bernard himself in the dress circle, laughing at his old friend O'Toole pretending to be him.
It is difficult to describe Jeffrey Bernard to anybody who has not read his deeply self-effacing, sentimental and grossly politically incorrect essays. Suffice to say he spent much of his life and all of his limited cash drinking in two pubs in Soho and at the races, and left a trail of doomed marriages and relationships. Much of his humour derived from the complex mixture of fear, loathing, admiration and pity that womankind generated in him.
A good buy.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Graeme Stewart VINE VOICE
I was introduced to Jeffrey Bernard by a friend who thought I shared his (Bernards') withering wit...... Fortunately,I don't share his taste for "Low Life",alcolol,or cigarettes. Or his pancreas,for that matter.
Watching Peter O'Toole live the life of Bernard on stage is a riveting,rollocking two hours of laughs,loves & pathos, as you witness the "Suicide notes in weekly instalments" that was his life. This is not a film of the play, but a filming of the play,performed at The Old Vic, though it transcends theatre,as Peter O'Toole Plays the part he was born to. (He even looks uncannily like Bernard!)
One would not neccessarily have wanted Bernard as a friend,& certainly not as a drinking partner, but to spend an evening in "his" presence with this DVD is a joy. It is one which bears repeated viewing. Pour your self a drink & relax in Bernards' company.... But Just the one, mind you....
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By Prospero77 VINE VOICE
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
There is something innate in English humour which sets on high the literate loser,the articulate under achiever and the rogish fop.In a tradition that would probably be headed by Falstaff, the Soho reveller Bernard is played to perfection by Peter O'Toole. A truly great performance from 1991. Somebody that is at home amid the drunks of race-circuit life, eccentrics in Soho, newspaper pals and assorted spirits both alcoholic and human. A masterful performance by O'Toole as he sits in the Coach & Horses revelling in Bernard's career and life's work. So often clever anecdotal humour appeals to a thin veneer of English society whilst excluding the many-but O'Toole's performance has everyman appeal. Extremely rich, capable of being watched over and over again, it belongs up there with Sir John's antics at The Boars Head, Quentin Crisp and the best of Alan Bennett.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true modern classic 19 Oct 2000
You may have seen a shortened version of this on Beeb 2 last year.
This is a perfect combination of a talented cast and a wonderful script. Every minute is filled with lines and stories that will leave you gasping. Just when you think you're safe, a whistful glance or phrase from the almighty Peter O'Toole will break your heart.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is Peter O'Toole on stage at the top of his game. Very funny,touching,moving and and endless list of other emotions that make this performance shine.

Trapped in a pub after closing time, the main character reminices on the up's and down's of his hard drinking, heavy gambling and womanising life and telling of the many strange people he has met, while awaiting rescue by the landlord. Most notable in the play are the recollections of Cat Racing and a very well done pub trick involving an egg.

I would love to own a copy of this on DVD (region 2) as my video has died after being played so often. This needs to be re-released on DVD at a sensible price. There are copies being sold at ridiculously high prices, as it seems it is quite a rare DVD....something that needs to change.

This is a real treat. There is a lot of strong language in the play, but it is necessary to the plot.

Please lets have this back on DVD...sooner rather than later.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The masterpiece 18 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Actually: Watching this video makes me angry - very angry for being honest because it always shows me, how much we missed in the last years in which Peter O'Toole didn't got a single good rôle in Hollywood. With him not so on the silver screen as he's able to be we really miss something - and that's what this video shows me in the first place.
Yet O'Toole being at his best, showing not only his great talent for comedy, but his prodigious sensitivity and a virtous command about his speaking too (I'm German and so for me it's never entirely easy to follow an English play. Yet with O'Toole in the lead I understand every word, even if he plays the drunk with a thick tongue), isn't the only thing I have to praize when talking about "Jeffrey Bernard is unwell".
The play itself is one of the greatest comedies I've seen in a long time. It's all what one can wish: Full of sharp wits, sounding language (the mixture between "elegant language" and some slang is done greatly) and giving the watcher some "insides" in life which I wouldn't have missed for the world.
"Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell" is and will be a favourite for me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars For anyone who was not there
As per the other reviews, I too think this is a wonderful play and for me it is probably the best play seen over the last 25 years. Read more
Published 1 month ago by K. Butler
5.0 out of 5 stars "Jeffrey Bernard" is Brilliant!
I saw this play many times on-stage in London. It's a wonderful, funny play, wittily written and brilliantly acted by a strong ensemble cast, headed by Peter O'Toole at his best. Read more
Published on 9 Oct 2010 by C. M. Crouch
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest things available on DVD
Perhaps the funniest thing I've ever seen. An amazing actor telling the hilarious tales of Jeffrey Bernard. Its just a shame that London isn't this much fun anymore.
Published on 15 Oct 2009 by Mr Fish
5.0 out of 5 stars This simply is perfection.
A wonderful Play performed by a wonderful actor. Filmed well and from multiple angles. Perfection. I defy anyone to take their eyes off O'toole as he commands absolute attention... Read more
Published on 29 Jun 2009 by David A. Pilbeam
5.0 out of 5 stars O�Toole does the old soak great justice: miss it at your per
O'Toole, possessed of as charismatic a stage presence as any living British actor, brings much of his own turbulent life to the role of raconteur and drunk Bernard - Soho's... Read more
Published on 16 Aug 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most enjoyable plays in the world
Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell is one of the best plays I have ever seen, the character's charisma, unashamed and heroic drinking should be an fine influence to all British men. Read more
Published on 6 Aug 2000
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