The Morecambe & Wise Collection
brings together the total cinematic oeuvre of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise: The Intelligence Men
(1965), That Riviera Touch
(1966) and The Magnificent Two
(1967). Though intermittently amusing, they serve mostly to confirm that Morecambe & Wise did the smart thing in devoting the majority of their career to television sketch show. Their comedy was most potent in small doses.
The Intelligence Men is an obvious but likeable parody of the early Bond films and sets the pattern for all three films: Eric and Ernie as two well-meaning blunderers cast into an unfamiliar milieu (in this case, international espionage) and forced to survive armed with little more than a repertoire of wince-inducing puns.
That Riviera Touch is an obvious but likeable parody of the heist genre. Again, Eric and Ernie are cast as hapless ingénues, in this case a pair of traffic wardens whose holiday in France intersects with the plottings of a gang of jewel thieves. If anything, its even more contrived than that sounds, but the scenes in which Eric cleans out the casino by accident are wonderfully understated, and a reminder of a peerless comic actor.
The Magnificent Two, the final and by some distance the least funny of the three, is an updated though rather laboured subversion of the Spaghetti Western, relying rather too much on the notion that anything and everything to do with foreigners is inherently hilarious.
On the DVD: The Morecambe & Wise Collection has English subtitles for all three discs and all include the original cinematic trailer. That Riviera Touch is presented in 4:3 format, the remaining two in 16:9. As special features go, these are annoyingly desultory for a release that will certainly only be purchased by die-hard fans. It wouldnt have killed the producers to commission some liner notes at the very least.--Andrew Mueller
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Mono ), English ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: 3-DVD Set, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: The Intelligence Men (1965): The enormously popular and hilarious British comedy duo Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise star in this tale of mystery and mayhem. The title refers to the plot which has Eric and Ernie getting mixed up in a spy racket. The results are, of course, comedy at its best. With William Franklyn. That Riviera Touch (1966): British comedy duo Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise star as a pair of traffic wardens, heading for far away shores after giving a parking ticket to someone of royal rank by mistake. They set off in a 'vintage' car, and are soon spotted by a gang of jewel thieves who see in Eric, Ernie and their decrepit motor car the perfect cover for smuggling stolen goods. As the two settle into their villa, a rival gang begins to stalk them. Eric and Ernie must foil all the crooks, who become most anxious when Eric wins in the casino and plans to buy a new car! The Magnificent Two (1967): Comedians Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise play a pair of travelling salesmen who set off for South America. When they arrive, Eric is mistaken for the son of the late President and is rushed off to a military headquarters. There he explains the situation and is eventually believed. However, on pain of death he is forced to pose as the President's son. When he has to make a speech on TV, Eric's captors get far more trouble than they bargained for. With Margit Saad. ...Morecambe & Wise Collection - 3-DVD Set ( The Intelligence Men / That Riviera Touch / The Magnificent Two ) ( Spylarks / What Happened at Campo Grande? / The Magnificent 2 )