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1980s, Comedy - Adult

Withnail & I (1987)

Withnail

Duration 1h 47m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story An (unpublished) book of the same name by Bruce Robinson
Director Bruce Robinson
Writers/Script Bruce Robinson
Starring Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths, Michael Elphick

Elevator Pitch: In 1969 two out of work actors live in a shabby flat in Camden Town, spending most of their time in the pub, when they have any money and searching for clean crockery in the flat’s kitchen. In desperation they visit Marwood’s Uncle Monty who plies them with booze and lends them the key to his cottage in the L:ake District. When they get there they are in even more distress. It is raining and the cottage has no electricity, no firewood, no food and most importantly no booze. And then Uncle Monty turns up in his Roller. He replenishes the alcohol supply but he has an agenda.

Content: The pair spend a lot of time in the pub back in London. They are exasperated by their own failing as housekeepers. They drink with Uncle Monty and they set off for the Lake District in their decrepit Mark II Jaguar. They finally arrive in the dark and in the rain. The cottage is in a desperate state and the locals are hostile. Their only food is a live chicken which they are required to kill and pluck. When Uncle Monty arrives it turns out that he has a thing for”I” who is then required to defend himself, finally by having to say that he and Withnail are a closet gay couple.

A View: When this film came out it replaced Flash Gordon as my sons’ favourite, and it was great to see it again on TV the other day. Every scene is both excrucuating and entertaining. This has become a cult film and there is a drinking game requiring you to keep up with Withnail while he drinks 9.5 glasses of red wine, half a pint of cider, one shot of lighter fluid, 2.5 measures of gin, 8 glasses of sherry, 13 shots of whiskey and half a pint of beer. So still a wonderfuly entertaining outing well worth your time (if this review did not put you off).

Additional Info: Richard E. Grant is actually allergic to alcohol.  There is time spent on the motorway on its way to the North but it seems that the unopenned M25 was used.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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