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on 1 August 2008
How did this film ever get finished? Considering the level of drink consumed it's amazing that there was enough usable footage to create a decent film. It's often incoherent (even for fans) and there is of course, no plot whatsoever.

Yet somehow 'Sir Henry' works. Its strangeness and charm still beguile the viewer and for a moment we even see Vivian himself (eating an onion) presumably before he'd polished off his first bottle of spirits of the day. Even in this brief section he is marvellous. Funny and frightening in equal measure.

The supporting cast is great with Harry Fowler brilliantly cast as Buller Bullethead and a quite unhinged Patrick Magee as the Reverend Slodden. Simon Jones (of Hitch-Hikers Guide fame) even appears as an inmate of Sir Henry's prisoner of war camp. Denise Coffey makes an uncanny Mrs E and JG Devlin is also finely cast as Old Scrotum the wrinkled retainer. But the sight of Trevor Howard wearing a tutu and riding a unicycle is frankly delightful.

This release is not in the original black and white but the sepia tone version that so many people remember. The sepia tone print was said to be a film processing error but it nevertheless gives the film an extraordinarily distant feel, like some charming fragment of time somehow preserved in glass or aspic.

The commentary track is worth hearing. Not only is it amusing and informative but it seems that they are actually getting drunk whilst doing it.

Essentially English I can't imagine an American understanding this film for one second. It's a wonderful mess and it's all ours.
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on 8 October 2006
A DVD release for possibly the greatest and most hilarious British film of its era. Having watched a knackered old VHS copy for ages, and avoiding the usual ropey DVD pirate versions on ebay, I thought that the day would never come when Sir Henry would be available to watch again. The film has been virtually lost after getting a limited release on Tartan video in the early 90s, and since the tragic death of Vivian Stanshall, it has been caught up in wrangles over whether it could be released again...

A truly joyous day! Any fan of Vivian, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and of course the original Sir Henry radio slots as broadcast by dear old Peel will HAVE to own this jewel. Similarly anyone who enjoys the seemingly random and instinctival comedy of Monty Python, The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi's Dark Place should get a kick out of this film. Just don't expect a clear narrative, 'jokes' with punchlines or even sympathetic characters, best to just turn it on and let it take you with it.

As wonderous a celebration of Englishness, and to a certain degree eccentricity as 'A Matter Of Life And Death', 'Hope and Glory' and 'Withnail and I'. I would heartily recommend it, although its clearly not for everyone (beware the 'Bridget Jones' crew!) I watched it as a child- I felt enlightened and educated by it, and I have since loved each succesive viewing more and more...
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The late, great Vivian Stanshall invented a whole mythos with the splendid Sir Henry and his bizarre entourage. This DVD is a respectful manifestation of Stanshall's creation, with several scenes displaying the touch of genius. Trevor Howard plays an absolute blinder as Sir Henry himself. Gloriously politically incorrect, to the extent that sensitive liberal souls may wince, Howard also gets the best of the one-liners; "I don't know what I want, but I want it now" he roars whilst blasting a hole in the ceiling with his shotgun after falling out of bed in a hungover stupor, his dismissal of the hideous meal (one of my favourite scenes in the film) with "Generally speaking, if I've eaten something I don't want to see it again" and the iconic (and probably very true) statement "If I had all the money I've spent on drink, I'd spend it on drink". Howard is ably supported by a host of well-known British actors (you'll certainly recognise the faces if not all the names) and, throughout, Stanshall's sublime songs add enormously to the crazy atmosphere - my favourite being the delightfully twisted take on There'll Always be an England, as Aunt Florrie strolls in the garden with her ridiculously long knitting "How nice to be in England, Now that England's here, I stand upright in my wheelbarrow, And pretend I'm Boadicea".

Not all of the gags and eccentric scenes worked for me, but there are enough of them to merit repeat viewings to extract every last drop of Stanshall's inspired lunacy. The commentary option is excellent and points out interesting details amidst the sepia-toned complexity that you may otherwise miss.

I am very glad to have found this DVD!
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on 2 August 2017
Bought this as I watched it on TV with a friend in the mid 90's and we were too lubricated to remember if it was in b&w or not.
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on 25 June 2017
Great film
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on 27 August 2017
Just the most extraordinary movie. We gave away our copy and very glad to have the replacement. Extremely quick delivery, much appreciated.
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on 9 March 2010
I had seen fragments of this film before but the complete work exceeded my expectations. Stanshall's narration is as hypnotically musical as Dylan Thomas and one can be so seduced and swept along by it that flashes of the bizarre and surreal pass by unnoticed. I find something new every time I watch this film.

This is more than just a cult oddity: It is an overlooked masterpiece.
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on 2 August 2016
Recommend
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on 8 September 2016
DVD arrived very quickly. Film quality is as I remember it
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 30 November 2007
This is a wonderful, sepia-toned film of Vivian Stanshall's surreal and witty epic tale featuring the decadent eccentric aristocrat, Sir Henry Rawlinson(played brilliantly by Trevor Howard) along with his grotesque relatives and acquaintances inhabiting Rawlinson End, a decaying stately pile "nestling in green nowhere" in the English countryside.
John Peel believed that Viv Stanshall was "on his day, the funniest man in Britain" and along with producer John Walters encouraged Viv to develop the Sir Henry character on his Radio 1 show which led to a marvellous album(1978) and this extraordinary film(1980).
Viv Stanshall's influences included Marcel Duchamp, Dada and Oscar Wilde and all are evident on this bizarre and hilarious DVD which was included, recently, on a list of '1000 Films to See Before You Die'.
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