Futtock’s End (1970)

Futtock’s End is the name of General Futtock’s country estate, and the film’s plot revolves around what happens when a motley assortment of guests descend on the town of Pease Green to spend the weekend with the General. Written by the late great British comedian Ronnie Barker–who also stars as General Futtock–this approximately 47-minute film contains no dialogue. Instead there are brilliantly selected sound effects, music, and incoherent mumblings.

The guests include a slightly dotty deaf painter, Futtock’s aunt, who’s a crazed knitter, two young girls (one is Futtock’s niece), and an upper class twit (Julian Orchard). Somehow or another, a lost Japanese businessman becomes mixed in with the visitors, and he becomes an unwilling guest for the weekend in the rambling, decaying mansion.

The events of the country weekend are quite hilarious–thanks in part to the lascivious butler (Michael Hordern) who’s prepared to go to any lengths to sneak a peep at the mini-skirted guest. The fact that this film contains no dialogue accentuates the comic genius of the talented Ronnie Barker (of The Two Ronnies fame). And Barker fans will appreciate his role as the monocle-sporting, slightly befuddled, fusty General Futtock. This is very funny stuff–from the inebriated dinner guests, and late night hanky panky, to the Golden Retriever who retrieves all the wrong things.

Although the picture quality is not as sharp as newly released material, this DVD release of Futtock’s End is good news for Ronnie Barker fans. From director Bob Kellett


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