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It is London in the year 1960 and John Saunders enthusiastically begins his new teaching career at a tough slum-area school. His class are bored pupils in their last term before leaving. Will he handle the grave problems that lie ahead?
I'm a fan of the series, especially of the lead characters Ada (the wondrous Irene Handl) and Walter (Wilfred Pickles). They have a lot of charm and warmth and the day-to-day events in their lives take one back to simpler times when a good cup of tea solved every problem.
I looked forward to seeing the film but have to say I was disappointed. Ada and Wilfred are still engaging, but the story is, for the most part, a pastiche of lines and events that have already appeared in the TV series. The writers must have thought: "That storyline went over well in the series, let's throw that in for old time's sake!". If you've seen the series, you've pretty much seen the film.
There's a really unfortunate side story involving Ada's son-in-law Leslie (Jack Smethurst) and a barbershop employee that I won't say more about for fear of breaking the "spoiler rule", if such a thing could be a worry in a simple film like this. I suppose at the time the film was made, 1972, this type of carry on was seen as humorous or perhaps even a bit titillating, but it was tedious, silly and completely unnecessary. It certainly didn't advance the plot (what there was of it). Perhaps they were trying to give Leslie something more to do, as his main activity seems to be putting up with his priggish, judgemental wife, Ruth (Barbara Mitchell).
The main theme of the film is a rehash of an episode in the series. It seems to me that putting For the Love of Ada onto the big screen was an attempt at making some quick cash with the minimum effort. There was certainly no thought put into creating something new or fresh. And I don't know what a viewer unfamiliar with the series would make of it. At least I knew who the characters were and their relationships with each other and was interested in seeing where the film would take them beyond the limitations of a television series. Not very far, obviously.
I gave this film a generous 5 because I so like Ada and Walter and the actors playing them. They really are a delightful pair and a pleasure to watch.
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