Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1960s Bed Sitting Room, The (1969)

Bed Sitting Room, The (1969)

The adapted play by Spike Milligan and John Antrobus serves as an ideal springboard for this offbeat anti-war film by Richard Lester which, miraculously, manages to convey its grim message with surreal humour.

The episodic sketches offer glimpses and comments of the 20-odd holocaust survivors of a London shredded by a World War III A-bomb as they dig out of their holes to try and cope with the grey new world.

In the manner of vaudeville blackouts, they soon meld into a general mosaic of stiff-upper-lip acceptance of new conditions, some fizzers but others very amusing.

bedsittingroom1969

Despite its undoubted originality, The Bed Sitting Room failed to transfer successfully from stage to screen and flopped at the box-office.

Highlights include Arthur Lowe turning into a parrot, Mona Washbourne becoming a cupboard and Rita Tushingham announcing that she’s 17 months pregnant.

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore are side-splittingly funny as police officers who float around the country in a dilapidated squad car suspended underneath a hot air balloon urging everyone to “keep moving!” and Ralph Richardson is superb in a relatively brief stint as the die-hard traditionalist who eventually mutates into the furnished bedsit of the title.

A carefully-chosen roster of British character thespians contributes stellar bits in almost impossibly difficult roles.

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Lord Fortnum of Alamein
Ralph Richardson
Captain Dr Bules Martin

Michael Hordern
Father

Arthur Lowe
Mother

Mona Washbourne
Penelope
Rita Tushingham
Alan

Richard Warwick
Nurse Arthur

Marty Feldman
Police Inspector
Peter Cook
Police Sergeant

Dudley Moore
Shelter Man

Harry Secombe
Mate

Spike Milligan
Nigel

Jimmy Edwards
The BBC

Frank Thornton
Plastic mac/Rubber man

Roy Kinnear
The Army

Ronald Fraser
Underwater Vicar
Jack Shepherd
Electricity Man
Henry Woolf
Mrs Ethel Shroake
Dandy Nichols

Director
Richard Lester

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