A Private Function Review

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The locals of a ration-years Yorkshire town struggle to conceal a blackmarket pig in time for the royal wedding celebration.


Based on Alan Bennett's first feature script, this is a very English affair: a dark, exquisitely-observed comedy, funded by George Harrison's Handmade Films and starring the cream of British talent, including Maggie Smith (tremendous as a cabbage patch Lady Macbeth), Denholm Elliott and Liz Smith, who all won BAFTA awards. But it's Michael Palin - as a mousey chiropodist persuaded to steal the "unlicensed" porker by his snobby wife (Smith) in post-War Yorkshire - who provides the heart.

Director Mowbray's sense of toilet humour at times threatens to overturn Bennett's carefully observed farce, but the performances really save the film.

A bit of a mess really, but redeemed by some fine performances.