A Private Function (1984)
|Year Of Production||1984|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Malcolm Mowbray|
|RPI||?||Music||John Du Prez|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I am a big fan of all things Monty Python and therefore decided to take a look at this obscure project starring my favourite Python member, Michael Palin. It was made in 1984 and won three Bafta Awards for acting being Best Actress for Maggie Smith, Best Supporting Actor for Denholm Elliott & Best Supporting Actress for Liz Smith. It was also nominated for Best Film and Best Screenplay. All I can say is it must have been a slow year at the Baftas that year. If they were renamed to the Baffling awards then it might make some sense.
Despite really liking comedy on the strange side and loving most English comedy this film left me completely cold. The biggest problem is that the film does a very bad job of introducing its context (Yorkshire 1947 during the height of rationing) and an even worse job of introducing its characters and their relationships. This leaves you scratching your head for the first 15 or more minutes trying to work out where the hell you are and who the hell these people are. To some degree this may be a question of time and place, Britain in 1984 would have a better recollection of Britain in 1947 than Australia in 2009 would, however, it is certainly not limited to this.
Anyway, the story involves the impending Royal Wedding and a planned celebratory dinner in whatever this town is in Yorkshire. Due to rationing, in order to have a decent meal for this 'Private Function' the organisers including Dr Swabey (Denholm Elliott) have decided to fatten up an illegal and unregistered pig for the main course. Meanwhile chiropodist Gilbert Chilvers (Michael Palin) is moving from house to house treating people's feet, dreaming of opening a surgery in the high street. He unwittingly becomes involved in the plot as he stumbles across various preparations being made. Once he works out where the pig is and tells his social climber wife (Maggie Smith) he is suddenly compelled to steal the pig and do a bit of home butchery. His wife's dotty mother (Liz Smith) does not help the situation. Naturally, the local meat ration inspector is hovering. Many other well known English faces appear including Pete Postlethwaite, Richard Griffiths, Alison Steadman and Jim Carter.
I really wish I could recommend this film and tell you about another great English comedy but I can't. It is confusing and decidedly unfunny.
The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
The picture was not overly sharp and clear but was not terrible. Shadow detail is average. There is some fairly obvious grain throughout.
The colour was decent considering the age of the film but certainly not vibrant.
There were regular white and occasional black film artefacts throughout..
There are no subtitles.
There is no layer change in the feature.
The audio quality is poor and significantly affects your ability to enjoy the film.
This DVD contains one audio options, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s. The sound is generally muddy and lacking in clarity. It is also badly mixed with the dialogue being drowned out by other sounds.
Dialogue was very hard to make out in most scenes. There was also some occasional sibilance
The music by John Du Prez is mostly unmemorable but occasionally overbearing.
The surround speakers were not used.
The subwoofer was not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 release is very similar to ours but does seem to have a menu. The Region 2 version includes a commentary, bios and film notes making it the best one available.
The video quality is average.
The audio quality is poor.
Nothing in the extras department not even a menu.
|DVD||Sony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|