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Bless This House (1972)

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1970s English suburbia: middle-aged homeowner Sid Abbot just wants to get on with building his illegal whisky still, but is frustrated by his workshy son, and otherworldly daughter. Then ... See full summary »

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Title: Bless This House (1972)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sidney James ...
Diana Coupland ...
Sally Geeson ...
Peter Butterworth ...
Terry Scott ...
Ronald Baines
June Whitfield ...
Vera Baines
...
Carol Hawkins ...
Kate Baines
...
George A. Cooper ...
Mr Wilson
Bill Maynard ...
Oldham
Marianne Stone ...
Muriel
Janet Brown ...
Annie Hobbs
Julian Orchard ...
Tom Hobbs
Tommy Godfrey ...
Alf Murray
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Storyline

1970s English suburbia: middle-aged homeowner Sid Abbot just wants to get on with building his illegal whisky still, but is frustrated by his workshy son, and otherworldly daughter. Then the rude and arrogant Ronald Baines and his family move in next door. Garden-fence hostilities soon commence. Written by Simon Shearn <simon@frieth.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Greatest Family Comedy Team Now on the Big Screen!

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

8 September 1972 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Schütze dieses Haus  »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robin Askwith replaced Robin Stewart as Mike Abbott, having narrowly missed being cast in the original television series. See more »

Goofs

During the scene where Mike is reversing his car out of the way of the furniture van Ron Baines is heard to say, "It might help if you steered straight," but his mouth isn't moving! See more »

Quotes

Mike: It's slavery being a cook. Slavery.
Sid: It'll do you good. When I was your age, we worked...
MikeJean Abbot: We worked from 6 in the morning till 10 at night!
Sid: Very comical!
See more »

Connections

Spun-off from Bless This House (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

The Taming of the Sid
27 September 2004 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Ostensibly "Bless This House" is a cinema spin-off from a hit television sitcom, and a rapid one at that. But it can also be treated as a continuation of the "Carry On" film series, by far the most successful comedies in British screen history.

That cycle, already over 20 years old, was near exhaustion: too many of its repertory company were looking and feeling their years to remain funny in saucily physical capers. "Bless This House" guides them into middle aged domesticity without forfeiting all the "Carry On" spirit of mischief and misrule.

Behind the camera, the producer, director and composer were "Carry On" veterans too, though screenplay duties passed from the incomparably lewd Talbot Rothwell to Dave Freeman. The TV concept is intact: Sid James, too long in the tooth to chase girls, is now a modestly prosperous semi-detached suburban salesman. His taste for football and booze is constrained by his duties to a wife who wants more independence, a disheveled art student son and a naive schoolgirl daughter. The arrival of a stuffy next-door neighbour gives Sid more headaches, but after mild pratfalls and back chat, all ends well at the altar. "Animal House" it isn't.

James, now pipe smoking and cardigan, retains the most suggestive laugh on screen. Diana Coupland, a band singer turned actress, is a nicely supportive, sometimes indignant foil. As the simian son, Robin Askwith gives his buttocks less of a rhythmical workout than in the contemporary "Confessions" films. Sally Geeson, sister of Judy, squeaks and flaps as the idealistic daughter.

A ripe selection of character comedians surrounds the family, led by Terry Scott and June Whitfield as the new neighbors. They almost make the production a spin-off of their long-running marital sitcom as well, albeit Scott's film character is more pompous.

Allusions to hippiedom, Women's Lib and ecological doom-mongering (Geeson devours an Ehrlich-like tract called "Mankind is Doomed" and leads the Junior Anti-Pollution League) place the film firmly in the glamrock Seventies, but its core is pretty timeless domestic humour. Sid looks weary and too much under the cosh of domesticity at times, but his timing and delivery are crisp as ever. The move from TV allows more expansive slapstick and quicker storytelling; the spirit of the original, which ran till James's death four years later, is preserved.

Like the "Carry Ons", these sitcom spin-offs were critically derided when released. They look far better now. "Porridge" and "Dad's Army" are the cream; as on television, "Bless This House" is not in their league, but it remains a mildly funny and endearing time killer 30 years on, like "On the Buses" and "For the Love of Ada". It seemed this domestic kind of sitcom had been banished for ever by the pseudo-sophisticates and neophilias who run British television, but the success of BBC1's "My Family" (created by an American abroad) echoes the Abbotts in their tree-lined ITV avenue.


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