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Comfort and Joy (1984)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  10 October 1984 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,180 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 16 critic

Radio host Alan Bird witnesses how an ice cream van is attacked and destroyed by an angry competitor. This leads him into the struggle between two Italian families, the Bernardis and the ... See full summary »

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Title: Comfort and Joy (1984)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Alan
Eleanor David ...
Maddy
...
Charlotte (as C.P.Grogan)
...
Trevor
...
Colin
Rikki Fulton ...
Hilary
Roberto Bernardi ...
Mr. McCool
George Rossi ...
Bruno
Peter Rossi ...
Paolo
Billy McElhaney ...
Renato
Gilly Gilchrist ...
Rufus
...
Gloria
Ona McCracken ...
Nancy
Elizabeth Sinclair ...
Fiona
Katy Black ...
Sarah
Edit

Storyline

Radio host Alan Bird witnesses how an ice cream van is attacked and destroyed by an angry competitor. This leads him into the struggle between two Italian families, the Bernardis and the Rossis, over whose ice cream vans can sell where in Glasgow. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A war about wafers. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

10 October 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Conforto E Prazer  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There was a real Ice Cream war in Glasgow in 1984, and it lead to murders within the City of Glasgow. It was suspected that it was really a drug-land turf war by ice cream vendors who used their ice cream vans as a front. See more »

Goofs

You see Dickie arriving at the radio station at around 6am. The film is set at Christmas time in Glasgow, so at that time of year the sunrise is about 9am. Yet we can see the city skyline through the window and not just a dark view. See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, Alan 'Dickie' Bird (Bill Paterson) is heard taping and screwing up a radio commercial. See more »

Soundtracks

Billie Jean
(uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
Whimsical Growth of Awareness Comedy
18 December 2014 | by (London) – See all my reviews

It's instructive to look at Bill Forsyth's mid-Eighties comedy in light of the Alan Partridge cycle of television shows, in which Steve Coogan portrayed a monstrously egotistical radio presenter completely unaware of the fact that everyone hates him, and would rather see him off the airwaves as soon as possible. Likewise Bill Paterson's "Dickie" (actually Alan) Bird comes across as someone so wrapped up in his radio persona that he cannot see what's happening around him. In the ersatz world of jingles, pop music, and inane chatter, he is a big star; to everyone else he is nothing but a pain. It's thus hardly surprising that his long-time girlfriend Maddy (Eleanor David) chooses to move out.

Set around Christmastime in the center of Glasgow, COMFORT AND JOY looks as if it might be a highly ironic title for a film whose central character cannot find inner peace, and who becomes unwittingly involved in a turf war between rival ice cream sellers. What makes Bill Forsyth's film so endearing is the way he shows so many people making mountains out of emotional and personal windmills. Glasgow is sufficiently big to accommodate both the McCool cartel led by the Mafia-style boss (Roberto Bernardi), as well as the more fly-by- night outfit led by Trevor (Alex Norton). It is simply pride - as well as other issues - that prevents them from arriving at a deal.

As the action unfolds, however, so Alan/Dickie undergoes something of a change of character. He finds out that he can make things happen - not by trying to sustain his arrogant radio persona, but rather treating people on their own terms. He manages to find a particularly satisfying resolution to bring the two sides in the ice cream war together, leaving him ready and willing to face the world with renewed vigor. He might be on his own on Christmas Day, but he understands the importance now of maintaining relationships, both personal and public.

Shot in muddy color in perhaps the most anti-Thatcherite of cities, COMFORT AND JOY offers a glimpse of life beyond the mid-1980s illusion of prosperity and individual self-improvement. People struggle to survive in this city in whatever way they can, even if it means selling ice cream for a living. Their world deserves to be recognized, even though very different from English life at the same time.

The film is replete with memorable cameos, from Scottish actor Rikki Fulton's Hilary - Alan's smooth-talking boss who thinks his star employee has gone barking mad - to C. P. (aka Clare) Grogan's stellar turn as Charlotte. COMFORT AND JOY might be a film with a morally soft center, but it manages to make some acute social observations along the way.


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