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Albert Steptoe and his son Harold are junk dealers, complete with horse and cart to tour the neighbourhood. They also live amicably together at the junk yard. But Harold, who likes the bright lights in the West End of London, meets a stripper. Fine, but he marries her and takes her home Albert, of course, is furious and tries every trick he knows to drive the new bride from his household. Written by
Derek Picken <email@example.com>
Steptoe and Son was massively popular in the UK, and sure enough in keeping with a trend that continued throughout the 1970s, it was a show that was guaranteed to have a movie spin off. In fact it got two! Such was its popularity.
This first feature length film has the basic traits of the show, the tragi-comedy aspects of a son (Harry H. Corbett) forever destined to be held back by his lecherous and unclean father (Wilfrid Brambell) are fully born out. All set to the very basic working class backdrop of a Rag & Bone family business.
Enter a stripper, excuse me, exotic dancer (Carolyn Seymour), who bizarrely marries Corbett and cues up a number of scenes where old man Steptoe single handedly manages to destroy the marriage on the honeymoon.
It's not the coarseness of the screenplay that hurts the movie, or some of the dialogue that has the PC brigade spitting feathers, it's that in spite of sound performances and some well written sequences (Galton & Simpson), it's just too bleak for its own good!
The gags quickly dry up entering the second half of the picture, which leaves us with only our good will to stay with characters that we have a mild interest in anyway. For hard core fans of the show, it's easy to go with the flow, but there's nothing here to remotely entice the outsider to venture further into the hygienically challenge world of Steptoe & Son. 6/10
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