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Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell [VHS] 
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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....
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Best play ever. I had a copy of this on video for years but could no longer play it so was delighted to get the dvd. Peter O'Toole at his bestPublished 3 months ago by Oryx
Really excellent - no wonder there were standing ovations at the close of the performances EVERY night !!Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I loved this DVD but I had seen the original live which helps .O'Toole's delivery is and was superbPublished 7 months ago by Ivan Trotman
Excellent comedy. Peter O'Toole is perfect for the part. Very enjoyable.Published 8 months ago by C F
Whether you are a fan of Peter O'Toole or not, this DVD records one of the most highly acclaimed live theatrical performances. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jayne
A tour de force. O'Toole at his inspired best delivering a script full of caustic humour, irony, tragedy and much to ponder on the human condition. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Brian Pickering