Byline: Season 1, Episode 3

Dinner at Noon (9 Aug. 1988)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 22 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 1 critic

Writer Alan Bennett visits a hotel in the north of England, observes the guests, and reminisces about his experiences of staying in boarding-houses as a child.

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Title: Dinner at Noon (09 Aug 1988)

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Writer Alan Bennett visits a hotel in the north of England, observes the guests, and reminisces about his experiences of staying in boarding-houses as a child.

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Documentary

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9 August 1988 (UK)  »

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Alan Bennett: This film is not about class, which I don't like, but classes, types, which I do. I've never been able to get worked up about class and its distinctions. But then I've never felt that the conventional three-tier account of social divisions has much to do with the case. My mother's scheme of things admitted much finer distinctions than are allowed by the sociologists. She'd talk about people being "better class", "well off", "nicely spoken", "refined", "educated", "genuine", "ordinary"... and ...
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Wonderful short documentary
17 February 2013 | by (US) – See all my reviews

A wonderful short documentary as Alan Bennett explores the Crown Hotel in Harrogate UK. It's an interesting mix; some stolen moments of hotel guests interacting, often filled with real dialogue that could be right out of one of Bennett's witty, and affectionately satirical pieces about people from all of Britain's various walks of life. But the piece is dominated by Bennett himself, musing to camera on the boyhood memories that are brought back by the various sights, sounds and characters at the hotel. A little like Bennet's "Telling Tales" in that sense, but I found this often even more touching, less theatrical; it's real life setting giving it context. Bennett also seems more relaxed here, speaking even more directly from the heart.

This would make a fascinating double bill with Chantal Akerman's short documentary "Hotel Monterey". That brilliant piece is wordless, giving us the flavor of a run down hotel in New York City just through long, wordless lingering images – an almost experimental film. Here, it's just the opposite, the images are important, but it's words that carry the day; mostly Bennett's wonderful prose, but also the captured words of the various guests, young, old, rich and working class.


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