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  Lovers!, The We'll Have None Of That
Year: 1973
Director: Herbert Wise
Stars: Richard Beckinsale, Paula Wilcox, Joan Scott, Susan Littler, John Comer, Stella Moray, Nikolas Simmonds, Rosalind Ayres, Anthony Naylor, Pamela Moiseiwitsch, Bruce Watt, Margaret Flint, Karen Ford, Ian Gray, Paul Greenwood, Bernard Latham, James Snell
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Beryl Battersby (Paula Wilcox) is with her friends outside of the George Best Boutique in Manchester, hoping to catch a glimpse of their hero, but she is sceptical that he'll make an appearance, something justified when the shopkeeper puts a sign in the window informing any fans that he's in Majorca. However, when the three girls turn around, they notice three blokes loitering there, and they get to talking with them; four of them pair off, which leaves Beryl with the hapless Geoffrey Scrimshaw (Richard Beckinsale) who she's not very interested in...

Or is she? When they later notice one another across a crowded station they strike up a conversation and thus begins the relationship which to British audiences at the time would have been familiar from the popular sitcom The Lovers: the film gained an inexplicable exclamation mark. This was part of the plethora of big screen versions of hit sitcoms which the British film industry fell back on as easy moneymakers in the seventies, as if admitting defeat that by this stage television had won the war of the public's attention and given in to presenting adaptations of what they would have enjoyed at home, believing that would drag them out of their houses of a evening and into their local fleapits.

Much of the time the general opinion was that the movies were a pale shadow of the sources, but this had the advantage of starring the cast who had appeared in the sitcom, as well as the writer of series one (he handed those duties to his pal for series two), Jack Rosenthal, who was acknowledged as one of the finest writers for television of his generation. This was true, but he never really made his mark on cinema, and watching this you could see it remained steadfastly televisual, even with the larger amount of location shooting in and around Manchester, which if nothing else made for a time capsule of the area for those who remembered the city at this point.

Often the sitcom movies were accused of coarsening their material for the paying audiences, but here Rosenthal made certain to stay as faithful to the original as possible. It was not a sequel, but rather a potted history of what had happened in the series, with a few additions such as the laughingly named lovers seeing another couple get far further in their union than they ever will, or so it seems, as the female half gets pregnant and the male half does the decent thing and marries her. Meanwhile, Beryl and Geoffrey haven't even consummated their relationship, or even gotten past the necking stage because of her determination not to give in to the Permissive Society which in this telling may barely exist except in the minds of media pressure.

So you can imagine most people of the title characters' age were more likely to sympathise with them than anyone else in the film, yet where this was completely charming on the TV, it didn't seem quite as funny in the film. It could be that much of it was warmed over from that so was feeling overfamiliar even if you hadn't seen where it hailed from, but there was also a drabness to it that owed less to ITV light entertainment and more to the kitchen sink dramas of the previous decade: this was decidedly non-sparkling or glitzy throughout. Where its strength was in both the keen observation of Beryl and Geoffrey of the writing, and the performances of Wilcox and Beckinsale; they each had two sitcom movies on their CVs, and Beckinsale would have had three if he hadn't tragically died before the Rising Damp movie appeared, but it was here that saw them at their best in this genre. For all its downbeat look and sharp-eyed state of the nation's mores ruminations, those two kept it quite sweet, really. Music by Carl Davis, with Tony Christie on theme song duties (bit of class).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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