Day 3 of my week of Top 5's continues, and today I thought I'd do Top 5 British Comedy films from the '70's. And we're talking about classics here, from the days before political correctness ruled over everything, sexism was rife, and Jim Davidson was popular. The days when Britain turned out sitcoms that were actually funny and we all used to watch wrestling on 'World of Sport' on a Saturday afternoon while waiting for the pop man to come round. Those were the days...
Anyway, before I disappear into a cloud of nostalgia, here are what I consider to be some of the best comedy films from the 1970's.
1) Carry on Abroad.
2) Holiday On The Buses.
'Holiday on The Buses' is another film full of sexism, double entendres and classic scenes - who can forget the exploding toilet? - and it also seems to suffer from the old 'Sid James' syndrome of having not-very-attractive-at-all men (Reg Varney and Bob Grant's Stan and Jack characters) portrayed as lotharios as they chase extremely pretty young girls in very short skirts. But it was the 70's. We just didn't seem to question things that much back then; it worked, it was successful, who cares whether they looked like Brad Pitt or not? Brilliant comedy, but doubt very much that that Pontins holiday park they filmed in looks that new now...
3) The Likely Lads.
This film was another in what seemed to be a trend in the 70's of turning sitcoms into feature-length films, but I'm not complaining. I think you've probably gathered that I'd be quite happy to spend a rainy afternoon on the sofa with a bucket-load of these movies and endless cups of tea. Heaven!
But I love 'The Likely Lads' more than others because it's set in my native, and beloved, North East of England, which means that every time we watch this film (which was, funnily enough, just a couple of weeks ago) we can't help but point out places of interest (we do have some up here), comment on how much the buses have changed and marvel at how North Tyneside Council have let Whitley Bay sea front go since 1974! We know all the locations, even the ones that don't exist anymore, like the flats where Terry lived that have now been demolished, and it's quite strange to watch it as the years go by and see just how things have changed since the 70's. I know a lot of people who haven't been to the North East probably think it all still looks exactly like it does in this film (actually, some parts do, I can't lie!) but progress has actually caught up with us Northerners now! We're quite advanced you know, got indoor toilets and everything! But this film is another slice of nostalgia for me - local nostalgia, and I'll never tire of watching it for that reason alone. But I do love the relationships in this film too - Bob and Terry, Bob and Thelma - love Thelma! - they just work! Again, could act it backwards but could watch it forever. A slice of Northern humour at it's very best!
And I'll leave you with probably the best quote of the whole film for me from Terry when questioned by Bob about his less-than-romantic tendencies: "If Omar Sharif lived in Gateshead I doubt he'd be Omar Sharif either". Never a truer word was spoken from the lips of a Northern man...
4) Are You Being Served?
5) Man About The House.
But I just love these films because the fashions kill me! I can remember my mother dressing like that in the flares and the tank tops with the curly shoulder-length hair, and my dad having long hair and wearing bomber jackets, and my husband likes these films just to look at the state of cars back then! We laugh, then remember we actually lived through that - and why did all kids in 70's films look like they'd come straight out of a jumble sale?
Anyway, this movie also turned out another classic pairing in 'George & Mildred', who got their own spin-off sitcom off the back of this film, (not to mention their own movie too) and so we gained another comedy classic. The 70's was full of them, and for that I'm eternally grateful!
And there we have it. Just a few of the classic conedy films from the 1970's, a reminder of what seems like a million years ago now, a different age, but I'm glad I grew up in a time when we could laugh without feeling guilty. Now you've got to consult a rule book to see if it's ok, but that's just the way life's changed over the decades. We've moved on, times are different, but thankfully these films will always be around to remind us of times long gone, but never forgotten. (Blimey! I make it sound like the dark ages!) Long live the double-entendres, Sid James's cackle, and the sexist banter of Stan Butler. All harmless fun - and bloody good Bank Holiday entertainment!
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