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Jack Rosenthal used the same character name, Bamber, for the head removal man in both this film (when he was played by 'Warren Mitchell') and in the TV series Moving Story (1994) (when he was played by Warren Clarke). In both cases, the character was a know-it-all who incessantly impressed (and bored!) his colleagues with his prodigious knowledge - hence the nickname "Bamber", a reference to Bamber Gascoigne, the questionmaster on University Challenge (1962). See more »
'The Chain' is an excellent film from the pen of Jack Rosenthal (who later reworked it into the TV series 'Moving Story'), starring Warren Mitchell as Bamber, a student of philosophy and pronouncer of wisdom to those about to move home. On his shift are a rag bag of working types including the ever reliable Bernard Hill.
The premise of the film is simple - we watch several people moving up in the world and follow the chain of progress through the eyes of the removal men (Last Removals, as good a name as any). So as we watch the moves from Hackney to Tufnell Park to Wilesden to Hammersmith to Hampstead to Holland Park to Knightsbridge, seeing how the different families inside the flats and houses deal with life, we see both a range of people and ways of life, and a travelogue of 80s London.
Bamber of course is the wisest of all - encountering a pompous couple doing everything on the cheap (Nigel Hawthorne and Anna Massey), a young couple just starting their future (Denis Lawson and Rita Wolf), and a widowed lady longing for her Mediterranean home (Billie Whitelaw), amongst others. Not one seems as settled as he is.
Great writing and razor sharp characters give 'The Chain' the edge over similar dramas, and although it may now feel a bit of a period piece, it is still an excellent film - and a good companion to Rosenthal's feature length drama for TV about taxi drivers, 'The Knowledge'.
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