Rising Damp-The Very Best of (1974)
|Category||Comedy||Main Menu Audio|
|Year Of Production||1974|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Universal Pictures Home Video
Frances De La Tour
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This is excellent comedy, although it does use heavy racial overtones and sexual innuendo that would not pass muster in today's climate of political correctness. Add in some fast-fire dialogue delivered by a cast that really shines (most of them coming from theatrical backgrounds) and you have a biting, satirical comedy worthy of a place in comedic history.
The cast is brilliantly fronted by Leonard Rossiter as Rupert Rigsby, the landlord with no class and the hots for Ms Ruth Jones, played with coquettish style by Frances de la Tour. Added to the mix is Richard Beckinsale as Alan Moore (also known for his role as Godber opposite Ronny Barker in Porridge), the medical student with the foppish hair style, good looks and equally inept with women. To complete the foursome is Don Warrington as Philip Smith, with more style, panache and charm than the rest put together (even though he is black).
This disc presents four episodes, one from each series, plus the Christmas special.
"Rigsby is desperate to get his end away and Ruth is the object of his desires. Alan and Philip try their best to help him out, so armed with a pendant, a Matt Monroe record and some tranquillizers, he's off to try his luck. Only there is a slight problem, the tranquillizers are for pregnant women and have a side effect, turning urine green and Rigsby is eating them like smarties"
"Seymour is the new lodger and Rigsby thinks he is a proper gentleman, but Alan and Philip aren't convinced. He's already borrowed money off them and avoided paying the rent and they smell a con man. Trouble is, can Rigsby stop crawling long enough to see the truth, or will he lose the lot?"
Special Guest star: Henry McGee as Seymour (Benny Hill Show)
"It's Boxing Day and Rigsby has spent Christmas alone again with just his mistletoe for company. Meanwhile, believing Rigsby is at his brothers for the festive season, Alan brings his flat mate back early hoping for some hanky panky. Philip also brings back his girlfriend hoping to find her a room. Things naturally get out of hand after Rigsby misunderstands what Philip's Christmas present is and thinks he's giving him his girlfriend.."
"Hilliary is an out of work actor staying in one of the rooms. He has a play and everyone has a part in it but Rigsby. After finding out the hero of the play gets to 'snog' Ms Jones he tries to inveigle his way into the leading role by playing on Alan's fears that Hilliary is gay. But Hilliary turns the tables on Rigsby and takes over Ruth's part..."
Special Guest star: Peter Bowles as Hilliary (Rumpole of the Bailey, To the Manor Born)
"Rigsby's 'decree absolute' arrives and Ms Jones is in his sights as the next Mrs Rigsby. Sporting a large diamond ring he proposes marriage over dinner and surprisingly enough she accepts. Now he must meet the mother-in-law and his brother turns up unexpectedly wanting the diamond ring back.. is Rigsby to finally know true happiness?...."
The transfer is presented Full Frame (1.33:1) and is not 16x9 enhanced
The overall picture quality is slightly blurry, although after a short time you probably won't notice. Since much of the show takes place on one or two sets the shadow level is reasonable since nothing really happens in the background and detail is mostly inconsequential. In addition, the background is fairly poorly lit. Given that this was based on a play, set design would have been given a fairly low priority anyway, as was the case with most comedy series of the time. Grain is also present throughout all five episodes. It wasn't overpowering or a problem to be fair but did lower the quality level somewhat. Some low level noise was visible but again it was not really an issue.
The colour is mostly drab and lacks any vibrancy for the first three episodes. Then, there is a sudden palette change during Star Struck at 0:10 and the colours are more vivid until the end of the disc. During Charisma there was some major colour bleed at 0:29. In A Perfect Gentleman at 4:37 and at 12:24 there was colour loss with the picture turning black and white for about a second.
There is a complete lack of film artefacts. There is no evidence of flecking at all which was remarkable in the extreme (and very welcome). Charisma has some ghosting on Rigsby at 0:30. In For the Man Who Has Everything at 9:02 there is an analogue tape tracking error with 2 solid lines through the picture, lasting about half a second. Apart from those few problems the rest of the disc was as clean as a whistle, a very laudable effort indeed.
The soundtrack is in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono and English only. Naturally I listened to this (it was either that or learn to lip read since there are no subtitles).
The dialogue can best be described as average. Although the voices are clear, the accents can be a little difficult to understand, especially Leonard Rossiter when he is ranting on. There is some hollowness to the voices at times, probably caused by the transfer, which doesn't help. There is also a fake laugh track mixed in which occasionally threatened to overpower the dialogue. Fortunately, once you are used to it, it should become becomes less annoying. The audio sync is spot on.
The only music is during the opening and closing credits. It is a little ditty performed with piano and some accompanying instruments. It's brief but catchy although I doubt it'd make any audiophile's top ten.
There is no surround channel nor subwoofer usage on this disc at all
|Surround Channel Use|
The video was surprisingly good considering its age - a little fuzzy, but well within tolerance.
The audio was so-so, but given the nature of the material I expected little more and it was listenable.
There were no extras, which is a bit disappointing. Even talent profiles would have added value (almost).
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Rotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Rotel RB 985 MkII|
|Speakers||JBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio 3MIIs Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS245 Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer|