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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

'Till Death us do Part' DVD: "All in the Family' Britcom Style


[EDITOR'S NOTE: This Region-Four DVD from Australia will not play in a standard U.S. player; it requires a roughly $75 international player.]

Australia-based DVD distributor/producer Madman Entertainment continues demonstrating the awesomeness of the Britannia film collection, which is the Madman division that releases feature-film versions of classic Britcoms. Like the title for today, "Till Death us do Part," many of these Britcoms provide the basis for equally classic American shows. "Death" particularly is very similar to the homage series "All in the Family."

Like Archie Bunker of "Family," Alf Garnett is a politically conservative blue collar hero. Alf and Archie further share the characteristic of having multiple prejudices that are based on ignorance, rather than hatred. Alf and his American cousin in background and attitude further have loving and long-suffering wives. "Silly old moo" Else is the British counterpart of "dingbat" Edith Bunker.

Like other movies in the Britannia collection, the "Death" movie has a grander scale than the show on which it is based. In this case, the story starts literally at the days leading up to World War II (a.k..a the Big One) and continues to the '60s in which "Death" the series is set.

Alf is his usual hilariously ignorant loud mouthed self from the opening scene in which he is asserting during a newsreel that Hitler is not a threat; this sets the stage for some of the best WWII-themed humor outside "Hogan's Heroes." Highlights include slapstick revolving around bomb shelters and big-talking Alf receiving a draft notice.

The action subsequently shifts to the '60s and related political humor. These scenes in which Alf clashes with his liberal daughter Rita are straight out of "Family." Rita even marries a tall man named Mike, and this couple lives with Alf and Else.

Sitcom style segments from this portion of the "Death" film include Alf being highly offensive and otherwise acting up during the reception for the wedding of Rita and Mike, Mike and Alf attending a championship football (my people call it soccer) match between England and Germany, and Alf stubbornly opposing community redevelopment.

These plots (and the plethora of other hilarious moments) in "Death" show the universal nature of this type of humor (a.k.a. humour). It additionally provides a terrific look at an alternate universe version of the Bunkers of "Family."

The DVD extras include the original theatrical trailer and .pdf versions of the film pressbooks and scripts.

Rather than stifle, anyone with questions or comments regarding "Death" or "Family" is strongly encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.