Top positive review
97 people found this helpful
on 15 December 2007
Not only is this one of the best 'spin-off' films ever made from a British sitcom, it spans approximately thirty years and offers a marvellous social document of British life then and now ('now', of course, being the time the film was made), in a way that I don't think any other light entertainment programme has ever done.
From the depressed 30s and wartorn 40s to the swinging 60s when the likes of Alf and his values (be fair, some of his values were good) were left behind with the times, as well as commenting on the dreadful compulsory purchase orders which split up lifelong communities and changed the face of Britain. The foresight in writing about this aspect of the 60s and the effect it would have on the future of Britain, while it was happening, is remarkable.
Remember this is written and performed by people who lived in these times, not a sickly 'Goodnight Sweetheart' type period piece. Johnny Speight was able to branch out here and attached the grittiness of his comedy to an earlier period when people were strong together through terrible times and Alf's character really opens up here as he faces (and sometimes avoids!) these issues direct rather than just ranting from an armchair or pub seat. It's also marvellous to see what Alf and Else's relationship was like in their early days, and how parenthood affected them.
The performances are absolutely magic, especially from Warren Mitchell and the superb Dandy Nichols, underplaying Else beautifully as usual.
This film is perhaps even better than the original TV version. The gags come fast and are all very funny. Even the 1966 World Cup gets a look-in, and one of my favourite gags of all time comes in this section. Just wait for Alf's excuse for rolling home drunk in the early hours after the Cup Final... Classic!
This film is very possibly the best British comedy film ever made, and in social terms it offers a document about British life in certain periods that is as important as Gracie Fields' film 'Sing As We Go'.