Benny Hill Complete and Unadulterated - The Naughty Early Years, Set Two (1972-1974)

 
9780767073080: Benny Hill Complete and Unadulterated - The Naughty Early Years, Set Two (1972-1974)

Benny Hill--Britain's baron of bawdy buffoonery--bursts into full bloom in this boisterous collection from his golden fan-favorite era, The Thames Years! Wildly popular all over the globe thanks to his trademark smirk and affinity for comic naughtiness, Benny rejuvenated the sketch-variety genre with his multi-award-winning THE BENNY HILL SHOW. Satirizing everything under the sun, but sanitizing nothing, Benny and his crackerjack team of entertainers invented a squadron of crazy caricatures: lovable imbecile Fred Scuttle, avant-garde French filmmaker Pierre De Terre, and the verbally challenged Mr. Chow Mein. Backed by Benny's half-dressed flock of frisky foxes, THE BENNY HILL SHOW continues to stand the test of time by making the world laugh itself silly.THE NAUGHTY EARLY YEARS: SET TWO features all 10 riotous episodes from 1972-1974. DVD Features: "Benny Hill: Laughter and Controversy" Episode of A&E’s Award-Winning Series BIOGRAPHY; The Benny Hill Cheeky Challenge Trivia Quiz; "Liner Notes" DVD Insert Booklet; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection

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Review:

Benny Hill Complete and Unadulterated: The Naughty Early Years, Set Two (1972-1974), a sequel to the delightful Set One (1969-1971), continues opening the vaults on Hill's burlesque and satiric legacy at the Thames Television network. After enjoying stardom on the BBC, Hill made the leap to Thames at the end of the '60s, where he enjoyed creative freedom and the deluxe benefits of a color broadcast. Set Two reveals no slowing down of Hill's prolific imagination, mastery of sketch comedy, or cheeky wit with that old Brit favorite, the sex farce. It does suggest that Hill was willing to gently bite the hand that fed him, however, as several sketches skewer the wisdom of Thames management.

Set Two includes 10 original episodes, never before seen in the U.S. in their complete form. As always, Hill kicks off every show with a "Benny Quickie," or blackout gag, followed by a silly song. ("Oh, Zandoona," a ballad about a willowy young miss, finds Hill--accompanied by house vocal group the Ladybirds--confessing, "Luckily she was blessed with two warts on her chest / Or she'd have no figure at all.") One of the most inspired sketches is an interview with "avant-garde French film director" Pierre de Tierre (Hill), who dismisses heady critical praise from a fawning interviewer. (Calling Pierre a genius for shifting from color to black and white in one of his features, the host is flattened by the filmmaker's response: "No, no. I ran out of color.") Other good things include Hill's impression of singer Shirley Bassey (in a deep-plunging, backless dress, no less), a short film about married thieves (to the tune of Noel Coward's "Little Things"), a lecherous ballet set in a park, and an interview with Hill's crusading, Fleet Steet scandal-monger, Mervyn Cruddy. Another interview, with Hill's slightly dotty Fred Scuttle, is laced with light sarcasm about the state of British TV and, of course, includes much naughty schoolboy humor. (Asked what he would program on a proposed new Thames channel, Fred suggests "A Sale of Two--er, A Tale of Two Cities.") Incorrigible. --Tom Keogh

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