Dir: Gerald Thomas, 1972
Bless This House, was a rather innocent TV series, depicting the lives of suburban family, the Abbott’s.
Led by patriarch, Sid (Sid James), the family battled the typical obstacles and setbacks that befall any family.
Devoid of any real smut, the series also featured very little (if any) near the knuckle humour. Aside from the occasional “bloody”, the show lacked any bad language or contentious material.
Like others of its era, Bless This House was blessed with a film version. Staying true to its roots, the movie retained the majority of the show’s cast, with only two characters being changed.
Assigning future star of British sex romp Confessions Of A Window Cleaner, Robin Askwith, to play the son, the Abbott’s were ready to be unleashed on the big screen.
Middle class civil servant, Ronald Baines (Terry Scott) and his wife, Vera (June Whitfield), move in next door to Sid and Jean Abbott (Sid James and Diana Coupland, respectively).
Of course, the snobby Ronald doesn’t take kindly to the down to earth Sid, and a game of one upmanship is played.
To make things worse, Sid’s son, Mike and Ronald’s daughter, Kate, have begun dating but they have to keep it a secret from their dads.
At this point, the Carry On… films were very popular with cinemagoers, proving to be lucrative. As Sid James was the unofficial “leader” of the gang, many of his solo projects had ties to the long running series, attached.
Produced by Carry On… producer Peter Rogers, when the film version of Bless This House was made, the original director of the show, William G. Stewart, wasn’t part of the deal.
Instead, Rogers brought Carry On… director Gerald Thomas on board to direct the feature. Adding Terry Scott and Peter Butterworth into the mix, Bless This House becomes a Carry On… film, in all but name. A sort of, Carry On In Suburbia.
Like all T.V. to cinema films, the concept can’t sustain a ninety minute run time and often flounders. Writer Dave Freeman, clearly struggled with this film, so resorts to a food fight.
The film captures the spirit of the show, making it all feel like an extended episode. Some of it, is very funny. The rest is too silly and mediocre.
Bless This House is not a bad affair, but neither is it great.
Passable, but no classic.