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The Bed Sitting Room (PAL) (ALL REGIONS)

4.1 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Ralph Richardson, Spike Milligan, Michael Hordern, Roy Kinnear, Arthur Lowe
  • Directors: Richard Lester
  • Producers: The Bed Sitting Room (1969)
  • Format: Import, PAL, Widescreen
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Run Time: 90.00 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0055V4O2E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,861 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Australia released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast/Crew Interview(s), Interactive Menu, Photo Gallery, Scene Access, Short Film, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Post-apocalypse England. The 20 survivors of the nuclear war carrying on as best they can. They have a new queen (Mrs Ethel Shroake of 393A High Street, Leytonstone) and have managed to re-establish some semblance of British society. Admittedly young Penelope is 17 months pregnant and Lord Fortnum has decided to become an old English estate (he eventually settles for turning himself into a bed sitting room) but the British way of life continues. Fundamental standards such as "stiff upper lip", "know your place" and, above all, "preserve the status quo" are being rigorously upheld as life in the wreckage goes on. This 1969 absurdist triumph began life as a one act play by Spike Milligan and John Antrobus that was quickly expanded to a full stage production. Eventually it fell to Richard Lester, the director who practically defined British cinema in the 60s (Hard Days Night, Help) to put this bizarre, minimalist anarchy onto the big screen. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Berlin International Film Festival, ...The Bed Sitting Room (1969)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Room for a View VINE VOICE on 11 Jun. 2009
Format: DVD
Thankfully the BFI have resurrected this long neglected British classic and I hope it attracts a wide audience. For me the feel of this film reminded me of a WWII poster that simply said "Keep Calm & Carry On" because the characters that inhabit a post-apocalyptic England (caused by a nuclear misunderstanding!) react to their predicament with a stiff upper lip and ironic detachment. For instance the police (I adore the contraption they use for transport) continue to politely patrol the land requesting anyone they encounter to `keep moving', whilst the few remaining survivors deal with the prospect of metamorphosing into a domestic dwelling or an item of furniture with varying degrees of stoicism. Spike Milligan's magical surrealism haunts the butchered landscape and peppers the narrative in a manner that evokes the best of Monty Python or some of Terry Gilliam's films. I can watch this film again because there is so much to enjoy, principally the incredible art direction and the hilarious script, confidently directed by Richard Lester and performed by a magnificent cast. This edition includes some priceless archive footage of interviews with Peter Cook, Spike Milligan and Richard Lester.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There are a few movies out there which can be considered "lost" classics, movies unavailable in any format for years and worthy of great praise at the same time (hence, you couldn't call something like a Frank Stallone film a "Lost" classic, obviously). Ken Russell's "The Devils" is one, and Richard Lester's "The Bed-Sitting Room" is another. But the wait is over, as that indispensible institution the BFI are preparing to release this seminal film as part of their new "Flipside" range of little-known classics.

The film is an Absurdist classic of gargantuan proportions, almost as if Salvador Dali and Philip K. Dick cooked the whole thing up whilst drinking tea in Kings Cross one day. In cinematic history only the works of Luis Bunuel really come close, and Hell, he wasn't funny really, was he? In a post-nuclear British landscape dominated by broken crockery and other bric-a-brac, we soon learn that apparently only 20 people survived the apocalypse, and hence, the next in line to the throne is Mrs Ethel Schroake of 393a High Street, Leytonstone. Otherwise other odd characters such as Lord Fortnum of Alamein (Ralph Richardson) who is metamorphosising into a Bed-Sitting Room, and a mad Postman (Spike Milligan) who spouts mad non-sequiturs at random people populate the landscape. I could go on forever about the characters and their quirks (amd transformations), but that would spoil the film somewhat. Let's just say that you'll be suprised how far a film script can go in terms of insanity.

As per usual, the BFI doesn't skimp on the Extra Features where available, and you can expect a lavish illustrated booklet with an essay on the film by journalist Michael Brooke; and archival interviews with Lester, Milligan and Peter Cook. God bless the BFI - And with releases of other lost classics planned in the near-future, they deserve our respect. Buy and watch in awe!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Long overdue DVD & BR issue of this unique film. The BFI have done a wonderful job restoring the print - wouldn't it be great to see this in a cinema,too?

The plot seems just as insane as it ever was,(is it ever really possible to make a sane film about nuclear destruction?) and we are left to revel in the great cast performances, and the abundance of gags, both in the script and production design. There are wonderful little moments throughout, such as the shifty way Spike Milligan looks around just before he pockets a scrap he picks from a hole he is digging in the middle of the desolate remains of the M4 Slough turnoff. Fans of Milligan's "dalek" sketch will probably giggle when they note the eviscerated poodle skeleton in Roy Kinnear's car, too!
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Format: Blu-ray
With a cast which reads like a who's who of British comedy during the `sixties, The Bed-Sitting Room is a big screen adaptation of Spike Milligan's play set in a very different Britain. Taking place a few years after a war which lasted less than two and a half minutes, the few survivors are seen wandering through a post-apocalyptic London, and some of them end up turning into an exotic bird or an item of furniture - yes, this is decidedly odd.

Surreal comedy was king at the time, The Goons' radio show was an institution and Monty Python was just starting on the telly, but this film was perhaps a bit *too* surreal for many.

There are some great visual moments which capture the holocaust ridden London nicely; rubble, glimpses of familiar abandoned landmarks, and a tube station in a state reminiscent of the blitz. Needless to say there are plenty of bizarre moments of visual comedy too which are played straight to emphasise the surrealism at the core of the film. There's a sense of a plot, but it gets thinner as the film progresses and turns steadily more strange. Instead of a fluid story this feels like a collection of visual gags which have been thrown together and although you can appreciate many of them, you spend too much time figuring out how they fit in with the film which stops you from simply enjoying them.

Most viewers of the film will have a favourite face they want to see, and for me I watched mainly to see Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore. The film is very faceted and so most characters appear frequently but sometimes only briefly. The more iconic comedians such as Cooke, Moore, and of course Spike Milligan always make an impression though.
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