This documentary examines the phenomenon that is "Dinner for One", a sketch starring Freddie Frinton and May Warden which since its television premiere on German TV in 1963 has conquered a place as part of annual New Year traditions in several countries around the world. The documentary visits England, Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Greenland, South Africa and Australia to rediscover the history of the sketch and the reasons for its lasting success. Written by
Peter Brandt Nielsen
An old European Classic that gives the audience cramps from laughter!
In my opinion, this is one of the best cabaret/variety acts ever performed. I don't think many Americans know it, but it has been a hit on European TV since the late 1950's and in Variety Theaters all over Europe since 1920. It has been performed by at least two generations since that time. The most well known couple was Freddie Frinton (1911 1968) and May Warden (1891 1978). I saw the same act performed by a younger couple at the well known Hansa-Theater in Hamburg, Germany, in the 1970's. Why is it so funny (the audience is always "dying from laughter" - many get cramps)? Because of the repeating gags and the hilarious body language of Mr. Frenton! And of course thanks to the super climax ("The same procedure as last year, Madam?"), that refers to the fact that the Butler must go to bed with the Countess once every year, which is after this dinner for her former lovers. All the old Countess' former lovers - long dead - are "invited" to her 90th birthday dinner and the poor Butler has to play the roles of all of them! No wonder he gets so drunk! The movie is shown on TV every New Year's Eve in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden, to name a few - and it gets funnier for each and every year!
This old European classic is of course sad, very sad, as all good comedies are. Don't miss it - it's a collector's item - an important piece of European variety culture.
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