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 Bertie's chums' dominating relatives, 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, types and narrates his experiences; 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. M isn'’t well enough to enjoy New York herself, so wishes her nephew, who would rather live the quiet, poetic life. to experience it vicariously for her. The consequence of his failure to do so will be cutting him out of her will. Even more contrived is that M should then rock-metteller up in New York, 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) gets 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 M 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, for which he eventually gets the money 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 a Birdsburg-packed elevator.


The tie-up is as in the original story, however, with Jeeves suggesting Bicky sells the Birdsburg account 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

You're not only wrong. You're wrong at the top of your voice.

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
I’ve seen comments suggesting that John Sturges’ thriller hasn’t aged well, which I find rather mystifying. Sure, some of the characterisations border on the cardboard, but the director imbues the story with a taut, economical backbone. 

She was addicted to Tums for a while.

Marriage Story (2019)
(SPOILERS) I don’t tend to fall heavily for Noah Baumbach fare. He’s undoubtedly a distinctive voice – even if his collaborations with Wes Anderson are the least of that director’s efforts – but his devotion to an exclusive, rarefied New York bubble becomes ever more off-putting with each new project. And ever more identifiable as being a lesser chronicler of the city’s privileged quirks than his now disinherited forbear Woody Allen, who at his peak mastered a balancing act between the insightful, hilarious and self-effacing. Marriage Story finds Baumbach going yet again where Woody went before, this time brushing up against the director’s Ingmar Bergman fixation.

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…

My name is Dr. King Schultz, this is my valet, Django, and these are our horses, Fritz, and Tony.

Django Unchained (2012)
(MINOR SPOILERS) Since the painful misstep of Grindhouse/Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino has regained the higher ground like never before. Pulp Fiction, his previous commercial and critical peak, has been at very least equalled by the back-to-back hits of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Having been underwhelmed by his post Pulp Fiction efforts (albeit, I admired his technical advances as a director in Kill Bill), I was pleasantly surprised by Inglourious Basterds. It was no work of genius (so not Pulp Fiction) by any means, but there was a gleeful irreverence in its treatment of history and even to the nominal heroic status of its titular protagonists. Tonally, it was a good fit for the director’s “cool” aesthetic. As a purveyor of postmodern pastiche, where the surface level is the subtext, in some ways he was operating at his zenith. Django Unchained is a retreat from that position, the director caught in the tug between his all-important aesthetic pr…

You must find the keys for me!

Doctor Who The Keys of Marinus
Most of the criticisms levelled at The Keys of Marinus over the past 50 years have been fair play, and yet it’s a story I return to as one of the more effortlessly watchable of the Hartnell era. Consequently, the one complaint I can’t really countenance is that it’s boring. While many a foray during this fledgling period drags its heels, even ones of undeniable quality in other areas, Marinus’ shifting soils and weekly adventures-in-miniature sustain interest, however inelegant the actual construction of those narratives may be. The quest premise also makes it a winner; it’s a format I have little resistance to, even when manifested, as here, in an often overtly budget-stricken manner.

Doctor Who has dabbled with the search structure elsewhere, most notably across The Key to Time season, and ultimately Marinus’ mission is even more of a MacGuffin than in that sextology, a means to string together what would otherwise be vignettes to little overall coherence…

Poor Easy Breezy.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)
(SPOILERS) My initial reaction to Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was mild disbelief that Tarantino managed to hoodwink studios into coming begging to make it, so wilfully perverse is it in disregarding any standard expectations of narrative or plotting. Then I remembered that studios, or studios that aren’t Disney, are desperate for product, and more especially, product that might guarantee them a hit. Quentin’s latest appears to be that, but whether it’s a sufficient one to justify the expense of his absurd vanity project remains to be seen.

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 …

Nobody trusts anybody now. We’re all very tired.

The Thing (1982)
(SPOILERS) The Thing has been thesis fodder for years, as much so as any given pre-1990 Cronenberg movie, and has popularly been seen as a metaphor for AIDS and even climate change. Now, of course, provided we’re still in a world where film is studied in the aftermath and we haven’t ball been assimilated in one form or another, such staples are sure to be scrubbed away by an inundation of bids to apply the Coronavirus to any given text (much in the way Trump has been popularly overwritten onto any particular invidious fictional figure you care to mention in the most tedious shorthand). And sure, there’s fertile ground here, with rampant paranoia and social distancing being practised among those in Outpost 31 (the “virus” can even be passed on by pets). That flexibility, however, is the key to the picture’s longevity and effectiveness; ultimately, it is not the nature of the threat (as undeniably and iconically gruey and Lovecraftian as it is), but rather the response of…

Oh man, they wronged you. Why they gotta be like that? You exude a cosmic darkness.

Mandy (2018)
(SPOILERS) Sometimes you're left scratching your head over a movie, wondering what it was about it that had others rapturously raving while you were left shrugging. I at least saw the cult appeal of Panos Cosmatos’ previous picture, Beyond the Black Rainbow, which inexorably drew the viewer in with a clinically psychedelic allure before going unceremoniously off the boil with a botched slasher third act. Mandy, though, has been pronounced one of the best of the year, with a great unhinged Nic Cage performance front and centre – I can half agree with the latter point – but it's further evidence of a talented filmmaker slave to a disconcertingly unfulfilling obsession with retro-fashioning early '80s horror iconography.

It always seems a bit abstract, doesn’t it? Other people dying.

Game of Thrones Season Six
(SPOILERS) The most distracting thing about Season Six of Game of Thrones (and I’ve begun writing this at the end of the seventh episode, The Broken Man) is how breakneck its pace is, and how worryingly – only relatively, mind – upbeat it’s become. Suddenly, characters are meeting and joining forces, not necessarily mired in pits of despair but actually moving towards positive, attainable goals, even if those goals are ultimately doomed (depending on the party concerned). It feels, in a sense, that liberated from George R R Martin’s text, producers are going full-throttle, and you half-wonder if they’re using up too much plot and revelation too quickly, and will run out before the next two seasons are up. Then, I’m naturally wary of these things, well remembering how Babylon 5 suffered from packing all its goods into Season Four and was then given an ultimately wasted final season reprieve.

I’ve started this paragraph at the end of the eighth episode, No One (t…