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Derek and Clive Get the Horn (1979)

R | | Comedy | October 1979 (UK)
Russell Mulcahy (of "Highlander" fame) films British comedy luminaries Peter Cook and Dudley Moore recording their last comedy album featuring two of their most beloved characters, lavatory... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Derek
...
Clive
...
Man With A Beard
Nicola Austin ...
Lady Who Came In And Took Her Clothes Off (as Nicola Austine)
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...
Judy Cook
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Storyline

Russell Mulcahy (of "Highlander" fame) films British comedy luminaries Peter Cook and Dudley Moore recording their last comedy album featuring two of their most beloved characters, lavatory attendants Derek and Clive. Booze, drugs, strippers and practical jokes (sometimes bitter and sick on the part of Cook) are provided. Throughout the recording, Moore has to weather the abuse and disdain of his longtime partner in the wake of his success in the American market (with films like '10' (1979) and Foul Play (1978)). The film marked the last appearance of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore together as a team and the end of their partnership which began with "Beyond the Fringe" in 1959. The men discuss "getting the horn" (i.e. getting "in the mood") at the most unlikely times, improvise songs filled with obscenities (Cook's two-note piano opus entitled "Dutch Bitch" is coarse and hilarious to those who are not easily offended) and work out their aggressions toward one another in the strangest ... Written by thustlebird

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Warning: This film is only suitable for those people rich enough to have paid admission. Do not show it in the presence of others!

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Comedy

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R | See all certifications »

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October 1979 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was rejected for a UK cinema certificate in 1980 by the BBFC for "abusive overuse of the swear words 'fuck' and 'c**t'". It was eventually passed fully uncut in 1993 and released on the Polygram video label. See more »

Quotes

Clive: During the war, did we notice a lot of whales rallying around saying, "Save England?" I didn't notice any down my part of the world. I didn't see whales coming up with the Union Jack saying, "We'll fight the bosch."
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Crazy Credits

Inflatable woman. Based on a novel by Jackie Collins See more »

Connections

Featured in Comedy Greats: Pete and Dud (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Brutal, tragic, hilarious
9 September 2004 | by (Tasmania) – See all my reviews

When Peter Cook died, few of his obituaries mentioned the 'Derek and Clive' albums of the mid to late 70's. They were swept under the carpet as some sort of embarrassing misdemeanor by the otherwise respectable comic genius. His ex-wife claimed that he had 'turned to the dark side' as I recall, due to drink, which she regarded as inevitable, owing to his incredible sensitivity.

Whatever. The fact remains that the Derek and Clive material might have been the product of a very different Peter Cook to the revered icon of the 60's. He was drunk, disillusioned, and harbored a white-hot fury against propriety and perhaps society in general - even including his old co-conspirator Dudley Moore, who was now just breaking into Hollywood. Despite what anyone might wish were true, the Derek and Clive material shows that Cook had lost none of his genius. Beneath the surface of the outrage and profanity is a mercurial comic mind, and an unsurpassed sense of the surreal and satirical.

'Derek and Clive Get the Horn' was filmed at the recording sessions resulting from Cook's plea to Moore to come and do one last Derek and Clive album ('Ad Nauseum'). Moore was less than enthusiastic, and even less so when Cook eventually released it (it had been on the UK prohibited films list for years), but he obliged and played the straight man one last time to Cook's stream-of-consciousness tirades.

Early on it becomes apparent just how dysfunctional the love-hate relationship between Pete and Dud had become by the time of this, their last collaboration. Cook is clearly jealous of Moore's recent success (why him? Cook knows he's the comic genius. Moore's just the boyish little guy who girls dig), and at times this fact is barely restrained. At other times it isn't restrained at all, when Cook unleashes barrages of incredibly personal abuse at Moore, which at one stage results in the latter walking out, only to be cajoled back. And at times it's clear that despite this jealousy and emnity, there is some of the old friendship and magic there; it breaks out in moments of spontaneous, boyish camaraderie. Equally, if Cook could be accused of mistreating Moore, Moore could equally be accused of staying to put up with it. The fact is, despite the personal animosity, Pete can and does crack Dudley up, and frequently reduces him to almost tearful laughter, moments after insulting him.

So much for the personal relationship business. What about the material? Well, I'm assuming that anyone who wants to chase this film down has heard at least some of the Derek and Clive material, if not the Ad Nauseum album. You know pretty much what to expect. There is extra material not featured on the album, and there is material on the album which is not shown here. What does strike you as different is the dynamic between the two performers. On the record it was clear that Cook did most of the talking while Dud just says "yeah" now and again, and that if Dud does get a story of his own going, Pete usually shuts it down and carries on with whatever he had in mind - but you really don't realize just how dominant Cook was until you see them on film. Apart from a few piano pieces which never ended up on the album, Dud is basically just there so that Pete's performance isn't a monologue.

To anyone who might be an old-time Pete and Dud fan, buying this video out of curiosity - please, be warned: this stuff burns. In the near 30 years since the Derek and Clive albums, I have honestly never heard anything which goes so far. It makes the most provocative episode of 'South Park' seem about as controversial as The Two Ronnies. It's hard to give you an example without breaking IMDb's review guidelines, but I'll try. Let's just say that far from the most offensive sketch in the movie begins with Pete describing how he was sexually aroused by the Pope's funeral on TV. "He looked so f*****g vulnerable... I couldn't prevent myself having a w*nk immediately!" And you can probably imagine where a sketch ends up, which begins with the innocent remark by Cook, "You know how it says in The Bible that Jesus was, on the whole, basically nice...?"

It's a tragic film, because Cook really was in self-destruct mode; it was the last, dysfunctional fling of a brilliant comic partnership, and Cook basically did little else for the rest of his life. It's brutal for reasons I've mentioned above, and others which I couldn't even mention here. And damn it, above all, it's terribly, terribly funny. Even on his last legs, so to speak, Peter Cook was very possibly the funniest man alive.

The film drags in places, but when it's good, it's wonderful. Horribly wonderful.


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