On their father's death, Eli and Nellie Pledge inherit a pickle factory in Colne, in the north of England. The warring siblings struggle to keep the decrepit "Pledge's Purer Pickles" afloat...
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On their father's death, Eli and Nellie Pledge inherit a pickle factory in Colne, in the north of England. The warring siblings struggle to keep the decrepit "Pledge's Purer Pickles" afloat, hampered by severe lack of funds, zero business acumen and by having inherited a workforce that is a decade beyond retirement age. While Nellie works hard to keep the business going, Eli prefers to indulge in the delights of beer, cigarettes, gambling and women.The annual Summer holiday is soon upon them and the entire factory is closed down. Nellie takes Eli to a Blackpool boarding house run by landlady Mrs. Rowbottom, whose eyes light upon bachelor Eli. Eli though, only has eyes for the younger Freda. Complications ensue when Eli, Nellie, Mrs. Rowbottom and Freda all try to gain control of the factory, causing ensuing farcical mishaps. Eli's attempts to further his financial ambitions by marrying off Nellie to a colleague in the pickling business are challenged when Vernon Smallpiece is snatched...
A friend of mine often cites this as the greatest film of all time (which just goes to show what too many drugs can do to your head...)!
It was for many years the received wisdom that the British Quota Quickies of the thirties were among the worst films ever made. The few of those fossils that still survive possess a certain period charm, however, utterly lacking in the average British feature film of the seventies; with their ugly colour, flaired trousers and dreadful haircuts. The top-grossing British feature film of 1971 was Hammer Film's big screen spin-off from the TV series 'On the Buses'; in consequence of which they promptly rushed a feature film reprise of 'Nearest and Dearest' into production, and there were two (repeat, two!!) sequels to 'On the Buses'. For the rest of the decade the floodgates opened, with Britain's cinema screens awash with longer and generally coarser film versions of the likes of 'Dad's Army','Steptoe and Son', 'Man About the House', 'The Likely Lads', 'Are You Being Served?', 'Porridge', 'Rising Damp' and 'George and Mildred'.
The film version of 'Nearest and Dearest's bigger budget allowed for location filming in Blackpool, but the end result was still dashed off in just four weeks, complete with occasional fluffed lines by Hylda Baker. Two interesting additions to the regular cast are John Barrett as the Pledges' father Joshua who had originally died in the series' first episode in 1968 and whose final hours are here recreated; and Yootha Joyce, who naturally gives the film's best performance as a widowed Blackpool landlady desperate enough to be romantically interested in Eli.
Nobody enticed away from their TV set by the tagline 'From HAMMER who gave you 'ON THE BUSES'' was likely to have any problem with Nellie's endless excruciating malapropisms; but the constant sexual innuendo manages to sound more distasteful still when mouthed by a gallery of grotesques worthy of Breugel.
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