Loveable comedy. A roughneck poacher is discovered by journalists and brought to the big city so that people can laugh at him. Hilarious scenes ensue as he tries to acclimatise to the difference between civilisation and Hull. He’s survived the most hostile and primitive land known to man. Now all he’s got to do is make it through a week in charge of the country.
Starring: Paul Hogan as the rough diamond providing innocent humour as he fails to understand the rules of modern life, such as the difference between public and private property, why sexual predation of your staff is wrong, that sort of thing.
CH verdict: who can possibly forget the great final scene with two people shouting their love to other other across a crowded underground station because the official Jaguar’s been taken off him, too.
DAVY CROQUET, KING OF THE WILD FRONTIER
Much-loved Disney classic. A truly moving story. A poor boy from the boondocks with limited literacy grows up fighting with bears and other wild animals like a couple of jaguars, living among savages in the seaman’s union. Finally he gets elected to public office. Then, surrounded by thousands of enemies who pop up out of nowhere, he falls in a desperate last stand on the croquet field at the Battle of Dorneywood.
Starring: oh, nobody special.
CH verdict: Did you know that Davy Crockett had three ears? A normal left ear, a normal right ear, and a wild front ear.
THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE
Luis Bunuel’s incisive satire of social mores and class hypocrisy. Six outwardly respectable socialists attempt to have dinner together and discuss the latest croquet scores, talk about the price of country houses and sympathise with each other over the difficulty of remembering how many mortgages you’ve got. But they are repeatedly disturbed by a series of increasingly surreal interruptions: marriage to a tax-dodger laundering money on behalf of a foreign leader; selling peerages; taking a mistress to a memorial service; releasing foreign prisoners into the community; handing out national insurance numbers to illegal immigrants; auctioning signed copies of reports into the suicide of civil servants; you know how it is. Finally their truly shocking hidden secret shame is uncovered: they are all members of the Cabinet.
Starring: some foreign actors – after all, that sort of thing could never happen in modern day rule-of-law Britain, could it?
CH verdict: A plotless swirling fog of enigmas within mysteries within dreams, making no sense and having no coherence. Very true to life.
Grim dystopian vision of the (very near) future. In the aftermath of economic and moral collapse, the country succumbs to a wave of crime and anarchy. The authorities cannot cope. In desperation they decide to build a cybernetic policeman – who immediately proves his ability to assimilate with the remaining humans in the Home Office by going on holiday to France. On his return he starts a wild one-man war to round up illegal immigrants (which should make for some interesting judicial review lawsuits a few months later). But flaws in the cyborg’s programming soon emerge as memories of his former life drift back into his consciousness: am I the Scottish Secretary? Or the Defence Secretary? No, surely I’m the Health Secretary? It’s time to get to grips with the Northern Ireland Office! Or the Leadership of the House? Err, whirr, whirr, clunk, does not compute….
Starring: Peter Weller as the almost convincing life-like Home Secretary
CH verdict: Part man. Part machine. All crap. The future of law enforcement.
CHI-CHI CHI-CHI BANG BANG
Heart-warming musical based on sound family values. An eccentric group of inventors build a flying car so they can escape from the clutches of a dangerous set of un-British pseuds and poseurs. One of them also invents some musical "Toot-Sweets" which turn out to be very effective, er, dogwhistles.
Starring: Dick van Dyke as a gen-you-ine ing-er-lish cock-er-ney with absolutely no pseudery or poseurishness about him whatsoever; Lionel Jeffries as a man who lives in a shed
CH verdict: Baron Bomburst’s policy of caging children and making them illegal should now be seen as an early prototype for New Labour’s whole approach towards school truancy which was simply thirty years ahead of its time.
Is it worth continuing with this column: Yes or No?