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A British Comedy Classic!
Holiday on the Buses (DVD)
Member Name: northernlovely
Holiday on the Buses (DVD)
Date: 17/04/10, updated on 17/04/10 (44 review reads)
Advantages: Funny, colourful and innovative
Disadvantages: None! Take it at face value
Even though I'm a child of the 80s, I hold a very dear place in my heart for 60s and 70s British comedy films, the gloriously low-budget, technicolour, slapstick marvels that they are. My husband initially couldn't understand my glee when I went through the TV listings and found an old Carry On movie or Steptoe Rides Again, but after a while he began to appreciate the cheese-fest that is British comedy and love it as much as I do.
Holiday on the Buses is an absolute classic. Released to the big screen (yes, this screened in theatres!) in 1973, it's one of my favourites. There were a few On the Buses movies, but this one shines for me.
Holiday on the Buses tells the tale of Stan Butler, who, with his mate Jack Harper, have been fired from their jobs as bus driver and clippie (it's the 70s..ask someone if you don't know!) and go off to Pontins to be holiday tour bus operators. Of course, it wouldn't be On the Buses if the rest of the crew weren't there, so imagine their dismay when the security guard turns out to be none other than the miserable old Blakey, who was also relieved of his duties as Stan and Jack's inspector in the bus depot.
Stan's sister Olive, brother-in-law Michael (and their son) and widowed mum Mabel all come for a week's stay when Stan manages to swing them a cut price chalet. Their storyline revolves around the kid repeatedly trashing the chalet and their spending the majority of their stay finding ways to repair and repaint the place so they don't have to pay a fine! Mabel manages to pull a randy old pensioner, Stan repeatedly fails to get his end away (despite a few near misses, something always goes wrong!) and Blakey's beloved, betrothed nurse has a bit on the side with Jack!
The film is just so cheerful, it's so cheesy and it's so very 70s. It's fabulous to see kids playing out and good old fashioned Carry On style fun, games and high jinx, it really makes you realise that technology doesn't always mean a better time. It's wonderful to see all the men lusting after curvy, wobbly, beautiful women, it reminds me that stick insects with size zero bottoms haven't always been the norm, and I love to see the old buildings, fashions and so on.
Modern films try so hard to be edgy and to be clever. They pile on the special effects, have everyone looking perfect, and they lose some realism there. Sure, Holiday on the Buses is no Oscar contender but it is what it is. It's got a special little place in mine and many other people's memories as the type of TV film that was on throughout the 80s when I was a kid, and it's great to see them again, usually on ITV3 or 4. In fact, if there was a channel dedicated to old 70s and 80s films and tv shows, I'd be sure to subscribe!
The movie tells a great story and it's great to see the 'Buses' crew outside of their usual setting. You can, if you look closely spot a lot of old-time TV stars, be it in cameos (Wilfred 'Steptoe' Brambell stars as the old-timer love interest, with an Irish accent - classic!) or just prior to their own big break (I spotted Terry of 'and June' fame, for a start, I guess the more of these cheesy movies and TV shows you have seen the more you will notice!).
British film has of course moved on since films like this and that's no bad thing - styles go in and out of fashion and technology has moved on in leaps and bounds. I think it'd be really wrong to dismiss films like Holiday on the Buses as nothing more than an embarrasing spin-off of a TV programme or a cheap British movie. Because it's so much more than that. The British comedies and the actors therein are part of the history of British film and are institutions. Any film student should, I think, have a special place on their DVD collection for films such as this.
All in all, Holiday on the Buses is by far one of the better British Comedy films of the early 70s and still gains laughs now, which means it's stood the test of time. The picture-postcard stylings and the fairly innocent raciness just add to it's charm.
As a movie, it's a 4/5 for me. No, it's no Oscar winner. But it was never designed to be, and I delight in watching it. An utter charm from start to finish!
Holiday on the Buses stars:
Reg Varney as Stan Butler
Stephen Lewis as Inspector 'Blakey' Blake
Doris Hare as Mrs. Mabel Butler
Michael Robbins as Arthur Rudge
Anna Karen as Olive Rudge
Bob Grant as Jack Harper
Wilfrid Brambell as Bert Thompson
You can buy Holiday on the Buses for £5 from most online retailers, or around £7 in larger HMVs. If you invest in a freeview box, it's on ITV 4 every few weeks :)
Summary: Well worth a watch, for all the family