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A Private Function: Movie Review
British humour, an excellent cast - and a pig
This is actually a totally bonkers film, but what can you expect when you look at the cast list? Especially since this film was written by the simply brilliant Alan Bennett. Oh, and the fact that the film is largely about a pig. Yes, that's right. A pig.
A function is planned
In a small town (this is filmed largely in Yorkshire) it is decided that a dinner should be arranged to celebrate the royal wedding between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Yes, this film takes place shortly after the end of the Second World War. And naturally, this will be very select and elite event, you understand.
Of course, this time period means that food rationing is strictly in place. But this is a royal wedding - the townsfolk want to be patriotic. (Plus, they haven't had a decent meal for years). So, strictly against the law, they decide to fatten up a pig especially for the feast.
Enter the social climber
Maggie Smith plays the wife of the rather timid local chiropodist and when it comes to social climbing, she puts Hyacinth Bouquet to shame. She has her own plans for the porky pal but has to persuade her foot-doctor husband to cooperate. The pig - and you'll have to watch the film to find out why - ends up in their suburban home with very smelly results.
A new role in the credits
We're accustomed to seeing various roles described in the credits the end of movies - director, costume designer, stunt man and soon but a new one was included in the credits of this film. And it gives you some idea what it must have been like making this film - and just a hint about what the film is like. This new credit? Bucket boy. And I will leave the implications of that to your own imagination...
A must for any collection
If you're British,or if you love British humour, this is without doubt an essential part of your DVD collection.
Maggie Smith is always perfectly brilliant. With a story written by Alan Bennett, you can't go wrong. Note too the Yorkshire connection - the movie was filmed mostly in Ilkley and Bennett is, of course, from Leeds.
The film has many prestigious actors but add to that a pig, and there's bound to be mayhem.
Thirty years later...
A Private Function - the official trailer
This will help to give you some idea of the film. (Watch for the brilliant Alison Steadman - another favourite actress). Note too that this award winning film was directed by none other than George Harrison - someone else who knew only too well about life in postwar northern England.
The video below makes me chuckle because it gives the viewer the idea that this film is rife with evil - it makes it seem a little like The Godfather or something of that ilk.
Of course, there is no similarity between the two films but it just goes to show how seriously the people of the town regard ... a pig.
Oh, and one of my favourite quotes comes from Maggie Smith right at the end of this clip.
Maggie Smith started her illustrious career in revue. This short documentary tells you how she got started in the theatre.
It's really quite fascinating to hear what others have to say about this brilliant actress. Often we, as the audience, realise that someone is playing their parts brilliantly but we don't know exactly why. It's hard to put a finger on it.
That's why it's so fascinating to hear what those within the industry - experts in their own right - have to say.