Skip to main content

I should advise a degree of alacrity, your Grace.

Jeeves and Wooster
3.2: The Full House 
(aka Bertie Ensures Bicky Can Continue to Live in Manhattan)

Ferdinand Fairfax took on directing duties for Season Three and reproduces the series' look and tone fairly seamlessly, although he's undoubtedly presented with challenges for the New York scenes he simply can't overcome; there's never any doubt this is making do in the tradition of threadbare productions unable to afford a hop across the Pond. Episode Two continues the use of Carry On, Jeeves, entwining two consecutive chapters to provide a compare-and-contrast of dominating relatives of Bertie's chums who inevitably put a cramp in his style.


BertieThe last time that anything remotely interesting happened here was in 1842, when a tree fell over. They still talk about it in the village.

Of the two, the Rocky plotline is the more effective, despite my not liking Jay's performance very much and the Bicky Bickersteth (Julian Firth) story featuring the inimitable John Savident as the latter's father, the Duke of Chiswick. Heather Canning is a particularly formidable presence as M Rockmetteller, treating Bertie as a wastrel hanger-on ("You seem very much at home here, young man") and presuming to take his room when she stays. 


This is preceded by an amusing montage sequence in which Jeeves, volunteering to write to Rocky’s aunt regarding the New York nightlife (lest Rocky be cut out of her will) while her nephew continues the quiet, poetic life, types and narrates, as we see him playing double bass, the piano, and generally socialising his meticulously ironed socks off. The setup for this, taken from the original, so it isn’t Clive Exton's fault, is on the contrived side (that M isn'’t well enough to enjoy New York herself, so wishes her nephew to experience it vicariously for her), and even more so that she should then rock-metteller up, having been rejuvenated by his missives. 


Still, it all turns out right in the end, in suitably seamless fashion, the abstinence preached by Jimmy Mundy (Lou Hiesch, an actual American, shockingly, who voiced Baby Herman in Who Framed Roger Rabbit) getting to M Rockmetteller when Jeeves "mistakenly" drags her to one of his meetings ("The man has very little intelligence"). 


ChiswickMy son employs a man servant?

If she makes Bertie's Aunt Agatha look positively benign, Chiswick is much less formidable, but the pickle his arrival produces is the more prodigious one. Bicky, working as a writer, is distraught that Chiswick wants him to learn ranching in Colorado. Jeeves' ruse that Bicky is doing exceedingly well in city – meaning he must take up residence in Bertie’s apartment as proof of his wealth –  rather backfires when Chiswick thinks he's doing so well that he can dispense with his allowance. 


Birdsburg VisitorWhat message have you for Birdsburg, Duke?

Various money-making schemes arise (Bicky wants to start a chicken farm, which he eventually gets the money for from dad), including the rather laboured Birdsburg convention, paying to shake the Duke's hand; even allowing for rampant Anglophilia, it feels a tad tenuous, and the addition of their calling the police for the inevitable slapstick chase sequence when they become annoyed that Chiswick is an imposter ("Eighth duke? We want the first or nothing") fails to dispel this. The highlight might be Laurie trying to make Ricco Ross corpse in Birdsburg-packed elevator.


The tie-up is as in the story, however, with Jeeves suggesting Bicky sells the Birdsburg story to a newspaper if the Duke doesn’t capitulate to the chicken farm demand (although, on the page, Chiswick offers his son a secretarial position in London). Another variable effective episode, then, but worth it for Jeeves' reaction to Rocky's admission that he doesn't usually get out of his pyjamas until five in the afternoon.



Sources: 
Jeeves and the Hard-Boiled Egg (Carry On, Jeeves, Chapter 4)
The Aunt and the Sluggard (Carry On, Jeeves, Chapter 5)


Recurring characters:

Rockmetteller “Rocky” Todd (3.1, 3.2)
Liftman Coneybear (3.1, 3.2)














Agree? Disagree? Mildly or vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Prepare the Heathen’s Stand! By order of purification!

Apostle (2018)
(SPOILERS) Another week, another undercooked Netflix flick from an undeniably talented director. What’s up with their quality control? Do they have any? Are they so set on attracting an embarrassment of creatives, they give them carte blanche, to hell with whether the results are any good or not? Apostle's an ungainly folk-horror mashup of The Wicker Man (most obviously, but without the remotest trace of that screenplay's finesse) and any cult-centric Brit horror movie you’d care to think of (including Ben Wheatley's, himself an exponent of similar influences-on-sleeve filmmaking with Kill List), taking in tropes from Hammer, torture porn, and pagan lore but revealing nothing much that's different or original beyond them.

She writes Twilight fan fiction.

Vampire Academy (2014)
My willingness to give writer Daniel Waters some slack on the grounds of early glories sometimes pays off (Sex and Death 101) and sometimes, as with this messy and indistinct Young Adult adaptation, it doesn’t. If Vampire Academy plods along as a less than innovative smart-mouthed Buffy rip-off that might be because, if you added vampires to Heathers, you would probably get something not so far from the world of Joss Whedon. Unfortunately inspiration is a low ebb throughout, not helped any by tepid direction from Daniel’s sometimes-reliable brother Mark and a couple of hopelessly plankish leads who do their best to dampen down any wit that occasionally attempts to surface.

I can only presume there’s a never-ending pile of Young Adult fiction poised for big screen failure, all of it comprising multi-novel storylines just begging for a moment in the Sun. Every time an adaptation crashes and burns (and the odds are that they will) another one rises, hydra-like, hoping…

There's something wrong with the sky.

Hold the Dark (2018)
(SPOILERS) Hold the Dark, an adaptation of William Giraldi's 2014 novel, is big on atmosphere, as you'd expect from director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin, Green Room) and actor-now-director (I Don’t Want to Live in This World Anymore) pal Macon Blair (furnishing the screenplay and appearing in one scene), but contrastingly low on satisfying resolutions. Being wilfully oblique can be a winner if you’re entirely sure what you're trying to achieve, but the effect here is rather that it’s "for the sake of it" than purposeful.

You can’t just outsource your entire life.

Tully (2018)
(SPOILERS) A major twist is revealed in the last fifteen minutes of Tully, one I'll happily admit not to have seen coming, but it says something about the movie that it failed to affect my misgivings over the picture up to that point either way. About the worst thing you can say about a twist is that it leaves you shrugging.

Outstanding. Now, let’s bite off all the heads and pile them up in the corner.

Venom (2018)
(SPOILERS) A 29% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes can't be wrong, can it? To go by the number of one-star reviews Sony’s attempt to kick-start their own shred of the Marvel-verse has received, you’d think it was the new Battlefield Earth, or Highlander II: The Quickening. Fortunately, it's far from that level of ignominy. And while it’s also a considerable distance from showing the polish and assuredness of the official Disney movies, it nevertheless manages to establish its own crudely winning sense of identity.

Well, you did take advantage of a drunken sailor.

Tomb Raider (2018)
(SPOILERS) There's evidently an appetite out there for a decent Tomb Raider movie, given that the lousy 2001 incarnation was successful enough to spawn a (lousy) sequel, and that this lousier reboot, scarcely conceivably, may have attracted enough bums on seats to do likewise. If we're going to distinguish between order of demerits, we could characterise the Angelina Jolie movies as both pretty bad; Tomb Raider, in contrast, is unforgivably tedious.

If you want to have a staring contest with me, you will lose.

Phantom Thread (2017)
(SPOILERS) Perhaps surprisingly not the lowest grossing of last year's Best Picture Oscar nominees (that was Call Me by Your Name) but certainly the one with the least buzz as a genuine contender, subjected as Phantom Thread was to a range of views from masterpiece (the critics) to drudge (a fair selection of general viewers). The mixed reaction wasn’t so very far from Paul Thomas Anderson's earlier The Master, and one suspects the nomination was more to do with the golden glow of Daniel Day-Lewis in his first role in half a decade (and last ever, if he's to be believed) than mass Academy rapture with the picture. Which is ironic, as the relatively unknown Vicky Krieps steals the film from under him.

The whole thing should just be your fucking nose!

A Star is Born (2018)
(SPOILERS) A shoe-in for Best Picture Oscar? Perhaps not, since it will have to beat at very least Roma and First Man to claim the prize, but this latest version of A Star is Born still comes laden with more acclaim than the previous three versions put together (and that's with a Best Picture nod for the 1937 original). While the film doesn't quite reach the consistent heights suggested by the majority of critics, who have evacuated their adjectival bowels lavishing it with superlatives, it's undoubtedly a remarkably well-made, stunningly acted piece, and perhaps even more notably, only rarely feels like its succumbing to just how familiar this tale of rise to, and parallel fall from, stardom has become.

Yes, cake is my weakness.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
(SPOILERS) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is good fun, and sometimes, that’s enough. It doesn’t break any new ground, and the establishing act is considerably better than the rather rote plotting and character development that follows, but Jake Kasdan’s semi-sequel more than justifies the decision to return to the stomping ground of the tepid 1995 original, a movie sold on its pixels, and is comfortably able to coast on the selling point of hormonal teenagers embodying grown adults.

This is by some distance Kasdan’s biggest movie, and he benefits considerably from Gyula Pados’s cinematography. Kasdan isn’t, I’d suggest, a natural with action set pieces, and the best sequences are clearly prevized ones he’d have little control over (a helicopter chase, most notably). I’m guessing Pados was brought aboard because of his work on Predators and the Maze Runners (although not the lusher first movie), and he lends the picture a suitably verdant veneer. Wh…

I take Quaaludes 10-15 times a day for my "back pain", Adderall to stay focused, Xanax to take the edge off, part to mellow me out, cocaine to wake me back up again, and morphine... Well, because it's awesome.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Along with Pain & Gain and The Great Gatsby, The Wolf of Wall Street might be viewed as the completion of a loose 2013 trilogy on the subject of success and excess; the American Dream gone awry. It’s the superior picture to its fellows, by turns enthralling, absurd, outrageous and hilarious. This is the fieriest, most deliriously vibrant picture from the director since the millennium turned. Nevertheless, stood in the company of Goodfellas, the Martin Scorsese film from which The Wolf of Wall Street consciously takes many of its cues, it is found wanting.

I was vaguely familiar with the title, not because I knew much about Jordan Belfort but because the script had been in development for such a long time (Ridley Scott was attached at one time). So part of the pleasure of the film is discovering how widely the story diverges from the Wall Street template. “The Wolf of Wall Street” suggests one who towers over the city like a behemoth, rather than a guy …