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The Innes Book of Records (1979)
Classis British eccentricity set to music.
Neil Innes, writer/performer for the late lamented Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and "The Seventh Python" was given free rein by BBC2 to put many of the Bonzo's songs to video, along with some of his later solo works.
Classics include "Protest Song" - a superb Bob Dylan parody, later performed for Amnesty International at "The Secret Policeman's Other Ball", "Cat Meat Conga" - definitely the place Andrew Lloyd Webber stole the idea for "Cats" from, never mind that T.S.Elliot fellow he nicked the words off and "Spaghetti Western" - which would have made Sergio Leone bin the 35mm and open a pizza restaurant. Of course, that's my opinion; I've never met two Innes fans who agree on a top track list...
"Monty Python" and "Do Not Adjust Your Set" influences are evident, but restrained. Bear in mind that is a two-way street it may be that Neil influenced the style of the more famous works to a greater extent than they influenced his.
Best watched late at night with a couple of beers - there *are* flat spots, but then that is true of all good comedy.
A Curate's Egg - good in parts
This is a film that could have become a cult classic with better editing. Some bits just don't work - in the BBC TV showing these were edited out; if you can, get that version rather than the full version on DVD. If you do have the DVD version watch it once through then just skip the bits that left you cold.
The humour is mostly pretty low-brow, with some appalling puns, but there's more than one level; if you're a fan of DC or Marvel comics, watch sci-fi movies or know Australian and American politics and history there are some fine little gags buried in here.
There are also some very subtle sight gags - a film to watch the backgrounds as well as the foregrounds...
My particular favourite is what Christopher Lee eats in the film; watch the meal scenes and you'll see what I mean.
Don't worry too much about the plot - it is there and it makes sense, but it's a comic-book plot not a big story. Also, don't worry about some of the odder characters - they are ALL there for a reason, but if you haven't read/seen the right things you'll never work them out.
The songs are generally very clever and, despite the singing not being the best, well delivered. "Drinking Song" is probably the highlight, with Christopher Lee doing what he does best - showing his teeth and megalomaniac glare, although his "singing" is on a par with certain other actors (William Shatner and Telly Savalas come to mind). "Mr. Midnight" is also funny; shot as two scenes; Chris with leathers and whip, surrounded by scantily-clad dominatrices, Alan on a train trying to be anonymous whilst singing and dancing.
This is also Terry Pratchett's favourite film - I actually have one of his books signed "to the OTHER person who likes Captain Invincible". So there are at least *four* people in the world who loved this film - granted, the other two are my kids and they may be humouring their old man.