Holiday on the Buses (1973)

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Released 27-Sep-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 83:14
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bryan Izzard
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Reg Varney
Stephen Lewis
Doris Hare
Michael Robbins
Anna Karen
Bob Grant
Wilfrid Brambell
Kate Williams
Arthur Mullard
Queenie Watts
Henry McGee
Adam Rhodes
Michael Sheard
Case ?
RPI ? Music Denis King


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The following five paragraphs provide some brief background information about On The Buses and the three spin-off feature films that were made in the early seventies. They are duplicated from my review of Mutiny On The Buses, which is also featured with this film as a double feature on the DVD.

    On The Buses was a long running, much loved British sitcom made between 1969 and 1973 which spanned some seventy four half-hour episodes. The series was created by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney, who had previous success with The Rag Trade and Meet The Wife.

    On The Buses was initially rejected by the BBC, but was swiftly picked up by ITV where it became a huge hit with television audiences. Coming from a time prior to the age of political correctness, the brand of humour is typical of so many UK sitcoms from the era and is still delightfully funny by today's standards.

    The basic premise of the series centred on the day-to-day activities of the Luxton and District Traction Company, in particular one of their bus drivers, Stan Butler (Reg Varney) and his conductor mate, Jack (Bob Grant). Stan and Jack are easy going bachelors with a passion for the ladies and for slacking off on the job as much as possible. This is a constant source of anguish for their work supervisor, Inspector Blake or Blakey (Stephen Lewis). Stan and Jack are always scheming ways to outsmart Blakey and he is always scheming ways for retribution.

    Stan's working class family also played a major part in the sitcom. Stan lives in a small house with his mum (Doris Hare), his frumpy sister Olive (Anna Karen) and his brother in-law Arthur (Michael Robbins). Living in the confined space of their small abode also created many of the amusing situations in the series.

    With the huge success of On The Buses on television, Hammer Productions made three feature films based on the sitcom in the early seventies. In fact, all three films, On The Buses (1971), Mutiny On The Buses (1972) and Holiday On The Buses (1973) made decent financial profits for Hammer. Two of these films, Mutiny On The Buses and Holiday On The Buses are presented as a double feature on this DVD.

    Holiday On The Buses (1973)

    Stan, Jack and Blakey are all sacked from the company due to a major mishap with one of the buses. All three head down to the employment office where they all get new jobs. Blakey is very relieved to be finally free of Stan and Jack at long last.

    Stan and Jack have picked up jobs at a holiday village, with Stan driving the village bus and Jack its conductor. The bus collects the holidaymakers from the railway station and delivers them to the village, while also occasionally transporting the patrons on day trips.

    Life seems to have taken a good turn for the two bachelors with the large amount of single women holidaying at the village. But they are dealt a cruel hand when they discover Blakey also has a job at the village as Chief of Security. After he finishes lecturing Stan and Jack about not pursuing the female staff, it is revealed that Blakey and the holiday village nurse (Kate Williams) are fast becoming more than friends. This sets Jack with a devious challenge.

    Stan encourages his mum, Olive, Arthur and little Arthur Jnr (Adam Rhodes) to drive down and stay at the village for a week. Following a mishap on the motorcycle and sidecar, they all arrive with no useable luggage and have to borrow clothing. This is only a sign of things to come, as mishap after mishap follows Stan's family.

    Stan's mum, Mabel, lets her hair down when she is swept off her feet by the charming Bert (Wilfrid Brambell). Olive's plan to treat the holiday as a second honeymoon is constantly interrupted, much to Arthur's relief. And even Stan is having trouble getting some privacy with his many female acquaintances.

    Another series of disastrous blunders finds Stan, Jack and Blakey back where they started - unemployed. But fate seems determined to never let these three lives ever separate.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for Holiday On The Buses is quite good.

     Holiday On The Buses is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness and clarity was generally very good, with just the occasional glimpse of grain. Blacks were clean, deep and free from low-level-noise. Shadow detail was also of very good quality.

    Colours were nicely rendered on the disc and appeared very well balanced.

    There were no MPEG artefacts evident on the disc. Film-to video artefacts were well controlled in general. Some minor reel change markings were noticed at 56:04, 75:07 and 75:15, but these were not at all disruptive.

    There are no subtitles available on this DVD.

    This is a single sided, dual layered disc. I could not locate the layer change either when viewing the disc or with the use of software.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is also very good.

    There is one audio track available on the DVD, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). This audio track is the original mono track.

    I had no problems hearing and comprehending the dialogue during both films.

    Audio sync was very good in general, although there was an obvious slip up with the ADR process at 50:30.  Stan, Olive and Arthur all say their goodbyes to Blakey, but their lips don't move.

    The music score for Holiday On The Buses is provided by Denis King.The score is light and jovial, which sets the mood for the film very well.

    The surround channels and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras on this DVD.

Menu

    The menu is very basic, static and silent. It only gives you the option of selecting either film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    In the absence of an R1 version to compare with, I will compare this R4 double feature with an R2 triple feature.

    This R2 triple feature has all three On The Buses films spread over two DVDs. The first disc features On The Buses while the second disc contains Mutiny On The Buses and Holiday On The Buses.

    The R2 triple feature has the same mono audio track and also has no extras.

    If you're a big fan of the films and the series of On The Buses you might want to track down the R2 triple feature simply for the added bonus of the inclusion of the first film in the set.

Summary

     I shamelessly enjoyed the chance to view Holiday On The Buses again after so many years. The film provided a nostalgic return to my younger days, watching  On The Buses on television. As previously mentioned, Holiday On The Buses is presented together with Mutiny On The Buses on this DVD, which should certainly please fans of the films and the sitcom in general.

    The video and audio transfers are quite good.

    Unfortunately though, there are no extras on the DVD.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

Other Reviews NONE
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R2 Anamorphic -