7.8/10
257
6 user 1 critic

The Curse of Steptoe (2008)

In the early 1960s aspiring stage actor Harry H. Corbett jumps at the chance to play junk-dealer Harold Steptoe in a television comedy show 'Steptoe and Son'. However, the show's success ... See full summary »

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Dawn I (2014)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Autumn 1947: Elisha, a young Jew, learns that he has been chosen to kill the hostage John Dawson, a captain in the British Army occupying Palestine. Will Elisha, himself a survivor of the holocaust, be able to commit this irrevocable act?

Director: Romed Wyder
Stars: Sarah Adler, Joel Basman, Moris Cohen
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

After a plane explodes over Washington D.C. panic begins to envelop the British embassy, and its ambassador to the U.S. Mark Brydon finds himself caught up in a potentially damaging diplomatic incident.

Stars: Jason Isaacs, Ben Daniels, Eva Birthistle
Skeletons (2010)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two exorcists literally remove the skeletons from the cupboards from people's homes. Some fairly embarrassing secrets are revealed along the way. A case where the skeletons have hidden themselves turns the lives of all those involved.

Director: Nick Whitfield
Stars: Ed Gaughan, Andrew Buckley, Tuppence Middleton
Scars I (TV Movie 2006)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

This is a recreation of a series of interviews done over about a year with Chris, a man with a violent, dangerous past who, now with wife and child, talks about his regret for the pain he ... See full summary »

Director: Leo Regan
Stars: Jason Isaacs, Leo Regan, Paloma Baeza
Pleading Guilty (TV Movie 2010)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A former cop is now a partner at a large Chicago law firm.

Director: Jon Avnet
Stars: Mädchen Amick, Isabelle Fuhrman, Jason Isaacs
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

16th century ruler King Philip II of Spain maneuvers within a court of deceit and betrayal.

Director: Antonio del Real
Stars: Jason Isaacs, Julia Ormond, Jürgen Prochnow
Kendra (TV Series 2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A post-op nurse experiences the world of the twilight room where painful secrets of her patients under anesthesia are revealed, and the consequences play out.

Stars: Sarah Jones, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Yaniv Rokah
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

In the mid-18th Century, as England and France battle over control of Canada, an epic romance between a peasant woman and a trapper unfurls.

Director: Jean Beaudin
Stars: Noémie Godin-Vigneau, David La Haye, Juliette Gosselin
Good (2008)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

John Halder, a German literature professor in the 1930s, is initially reluctant to accept the ideas of the Nazi Party. He is pulled in different emotional directions by his wife, mother, mistress and Jewish friend.

Director: Vicente Amorim
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Jason Isaacs, Jodie Whittaker
Hotel (2001)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

While a British film crew are shooting a version of The Duchess Of Malfi in Venice, they in turn are being filmed by a sleasy documentary primadonna while the strange staff share meals ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Figgis
Stars: Max Beesley, Saffron Burrows, Rhys Ifans
The Surgeon General (TV Movie 2013)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

This film tells some of the stories of John Sherman, a surgeon general with an overwhelming number of patients in need of care in a time where hospitals are more of an industry than a service.

Director: Rod Lurie
Stars: Mike Colter, Clancy Brown, Jason Isaacs
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Tom Sloan
... Harry H Corbett
... Sheila Steafel
... Joan Littlewood
Elspeth Rae ... Young Blonde Actress
... Ray Galton
... Alan Simpson
... Wilfrid Brambell
Ken Oxtoby ... Costume Designer
Ben Parr ... Wilfrid's Young Blonde Man
Peter Hamilton Dyer ... Director (as Peter Hamilton-Dyer)
... Maureen Corbett
Julian Forsyth ... Clive Goodwin
Jamie Lennox ... Plain Clothes Policeman
Scott McNess ... Boy Outside Theatre
Edit

Storyline

In the early 1960s aspiring stage actor Harry H. Corbett jumps at the chance to play junk-dealer Harold Steptoe in a television comedy show 'Steptoe and Son'. However, the show's success proves to be a poisoned chalice for him, type-casting him and thwarting his stage ambitions. Wilfrid Brambell, the actor playing his father, is marginalized in a different way. He is a gay man in an England where homosexuality is still illegal. The show runs for several years, incorporating film spin-offs but both, in their own way, feel that they have invoked the curse of Steptoe. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Edit

Details

Official Sites:

BBC Four [UK]

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 March 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Curse of Steptoe and Son  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the film depicts the 1962 arrest of Wilfred Brambell on a homosexual charge, it fails to make clear that Brambell was exonerated and the charge dropped. See more »

Goofs

Directly after the 1962 awards ceremony, Corbett does his impersonation of Harold Wilson with reference to his White Heat of Technology speech. Wilson did not become Prime Minister for another two years and the White Heat speech was even later. However, the writer made this 'error' quite deliberately. He took dramatic license. Dates were fudged throughout the piece, so though the award ceremony was in fact held in 1962, the film avoids placing it in time. Harry's party trick was his Harold Wilson impression; that was the most appropriate moment in the piece to give him the chance to do his thing. See more »

Connections

References On the Waterfront (1954) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Great writing and delivery across the board
25 May 2008 | by See all my reviews

As part of broadening his acting experience, stage actor Harry Corbett signs on to take part in an one-off BBC comedy drama about a rag-and-bone man and his father, to be played by Wilfred Brambell. As "Britain's answer to Marlon Brando" Corbett enjoys the experience but quickly plans to move back to the stage whenever it transpires that the one-off was popular enough to get a series – "Steptoe & Son". Both actors accept and the show is an instant success, running into several seasons. However the success plays on the two actors in different ways; Corbett becoming increasingly frustrated at the dominance of Steptoe in his career, while Brambell struggles with his own self-loathing, loneliness and sexual tastes.

The usual foul up with Sky's auto-tune service (no wonder so many people throw in the towel and get Sky+) meant that I missed the first five minutes of this film but it didn't seem to matter so much because the quality here was consistent and high enough to engage even with one short scene. To many I'm sure the film will be a matter of common knowledge in its portrayal of the careers of Brambell and Corbett but for me it was all new. Of course I have seen Steptoe & Son myself and before that had the accepted wisdom of it as a classic but I was not aware of the behind-the-scenes stories. What this film does so expertly is to not really get into the very specific events (although these are part of the story) but rather play the story out within the characters themselves.

What I mean is, rather than Brambell's arrest being interesting because it happened, it is interesting in regards how it affected him. This is an important approach within the material because key to the film is the "happening" of Steptoe, and the fact that it kept happening. As an event it is done in the early stages but as an impact it is the whole story. It was interesting to see this played out and it points clearly to the main selling point of the film – the two leads. Isaacs is really good. At first I didn't see how he would do it but he not only pulls off a great "impression" of the Corbett we know but also finds a real person within that he can deliver. It is tragic to watch fame extinguish his hopes and aims over the course of years and his performance gets this sense of decline just right and there is not a flick of a switch to do it. Davis is just as good with a typically pained and tragic turn even if, for Brambell, there was the suggestion of more of a "happy" ending in the film. Allam, Kinnear and Gorman play the writers/producers well but the former is lumbered with a really bad beard, perhaps to try and stop the "oh look its him offa Torchwood" effect. Samuels' direction of his cast is excellent and he also benefits them with good shots but Fillis deserves a lot of praise for this script.

Overall then this is a great film that goes past the events to see the pain and the change within the two famous characters. It is not a hard watch by any means, but it is not a fun one either. A superior drama that deserves to be given a bigger platform than it got on BBC4.


9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed