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Comfort and Joy (1984)

PG | | Comedy | 10 October 1984 (USA)
Radio host Alan Bird witnesses how an ice cream van is attacked and destroyed by an angry competitor. This leads him into the struggle between two Italian families, the Bernardis and the ... See full summary »


Bill Forsyth


Bill Forsyth

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Paterson ... Alan
Eleanor David ... Maddy
Clare Grogan ... Charlotte (as C.P.Grogan)
Alex Norton ... Trevor
Patrick Malahide ... Colin
Rikki Fulton Rikki Fulton ... Hilary
Roberto Bernardi Roberto Bernardi ... Mr. McCool
George Rossi ... Bruno
Peter Rossi Peter Rossi ... Paolo
Billy McElhaney Billy McElhaney ... Renato
Gilly Gilchrist ... Rufus
Caroline Guthrie ... Gloria
Ona McCracken Ona McCracken ... Nancy
Elizabeth Sinclair Elizabeth Sinclair ... Fiona
Katy Black Katy Black ... Sarah


Radio host Alan Bird witnesses how an ice cream van is attacked and destroyed by an angry competitor. This leads him into the struggle between two Italian families, the Bernardis and the Rossis, over whose ice cream vans can sell where in Glasgow. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Have you ever had one of those weeks... See more »




PG | See all certifications »





English | Italian

Release Date:

10 October 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Conforto E Prazer See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Peter Capaldi's family, who were quite well known for being ice cream makers, supplied all the ice cream for the film. (Capaldi worked with Forsyth on Local Hero). See more »


You see Dickie arriving at the radio station at around 6am. The film is set at Christmas time in Glasgow, so at that time of year the sunrise is about 9am. Yet we can see the city skyline through the window and not just a dark view. See more »


Alan: Well it's 4 o'clock on this lovely, peaceful Christmas afternoon and this is Dickie Bird here being a very happy Christmas worm. You know, I got really sentimental after the morning show today, and I thought about poor, old Steve Kelly having to come in here and spend the afternoon away from his lovely wife and happy kids, so bachelor-boy Dickie volunteered and here I am. You know, I must be crackers, mad or crazy, but to tell you the truth, we're having a pretty good time in Metro Sound today....
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, Alan 'Dickie' Bird (Bill Paterson) is heard taping and screwing up a radio commercial. See more »


Jingle Bells
Written by James Pierpont
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User Reviews

Male & Female unarmed combat: Global Warming meets the Ice Queen
12 June 2005 | by rogertaylor1947See all my reviews

Brian Leonard from Williamsport, PA says "This film's main plot ingredient is ice cream...but until it gets there (10 - 20 minutes in), it's surprisingly bland for a Bill Forsyth movie." Not Forsyth's best, but still a charmer, 5 January 1999 8/10 I couldn't disagree more. The most interesting dialogue by far is the female/male "dialogue" when the main character Alan "Dicky" Bird's "bird" is flying from their little nest.

He had imagined that Maddy, this gorgeous "femme fatale" character who had temporarily alighted and attached herself upon his life was somehow a "permanent" fixture but this had been pure illusion on his part.

When the alighted bird had grown bored with his little nest she flew, first mentally and in an unforgettable scene, she upped and left physically, as precipitously, no doubt, as she had arrived.

Such is the way with many a woman of today, even more likely a behaviour if she has beauty.

The male character is disorientated by this sudden event and at first responds as if he cannot really believe it is happening. When it dawns on him that this "bad dream" really is for real he then gets into a "Why?" and then is dragged into a "what is whose", then on into the downward spiral the full wonderful inversion on just who is behaving badly.

Needless to say that, irrespective of actual behaviour, the "culprit" just has to be the male: verbally the male comes off not just worse but, as usual, worsted.

No matter how outrageously a woman behaves she is quite capable of a neat verbal inversion and in this case the Maddy character plays a blinder with some classic and deftly delivered put downs.

Playing the hurt and victimised party who is able to sync and think herself into responding into the role of the one who has been hard done by and is merely responding, in a perfectly natural defensive manner, to untoward male behaviour.

Thus a precipitous dumping of her partner is seen by her as something that was his fault: he hadn't the emotional intelligence to see what she was going through so somehow he is to blame.

She is only saving herself and not acting in a selfish and narcissistic manner; of course not; she's a woman.

A trip down to the delicatessen of male/female battle lines, those (mostly) unarmed combats, those misunderstandings of the parallel universe which male and female find themselves in each knowing they are right.

The Maddy leaving scene is a classic little vignette of the warfare-welfare nuclear reaction that out of control damaging "free radical" behaviour can have on our nervous system, the males especially.

Personally I don't think the woman finds much happiness in this ultimately destructive "free radical" approach to life either, atomistic egoism is never much of match for complementary synchronizing and symbiosis……well if you can find it.

This is the equivalent to the search for the "Holy Grail" these days perhaps, well in terms of finding and keeping anyway. It's more easily lost than found due to the antagonism that overrides and eventually buries, in many cases, the synchronizing that relationships are meant to provide each partner.

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