George and Mildred (1980)

“Have your way with me if you must, but you’ll hate yourself in the morning “

It’s probably inevitable that a successful television programme should spawn a full-length feature film, and so often these efforts are less-than-successful. Take the case of George and Mildred–an immensely popular British comedy programme. The programme centered on the domestic life of hen-pecked traffic warden, George Roper (Brian Murphy) and his garishly dressed, romance seeking, social climbing, nagging wife, Mildred (Yootha Joyce). While the series captured perfectly the petty bickering of claustrophobic married life, the film falls abysmally flat.

When the film begins, it’s the Ropers’ wedding anniversary, and the little boy next door reminds George of the event. George hopes to head off Mildred’s more ambitious and much more expensive plans. But as luck would have it, George’s arranged celebration falls flat, and so the Ropers end up with Mildred’s plan. And that means an expensive weekend in a posh London hotel. Over the course of the weekend, the Ropers have their separate adventures in the hotel, and become inadvertently mixed up with organized crime and assassinations. Perhaps this is why the film failed. By abandoning the Ropers’ domestic life, and broadening the themes, the film failed to recreate the subtle nuances of the Ropers’ relationship. Instead, the film clumsily plunges off into fanciful coincidence, and the caustic humour of the series is lost.

Stratford Johns appears as crime boss Harry Pinto, and there’s a little tepid fun here as his accent slips. But apart from that, the film is awful. Directed by Peter Frazer-Jones.

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