BFS Video // 2009 // 68 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart // October 20th, 2010
"You'll have to steal me, of course. My corpse!" -- Albert, planning a very unusual memorial
Albert (Michael Jayston, A Bit of a Do) is dying, and he calls two friends -- Harry (David Jason, A Bit of a Do) and Frank (David Warner, Titanic) -- to the hospital. Albert makes a special request: his wife wants to cremate him, but he wants to be buried. Not only that, but he wants to buried on the hill in Germany that was the site of a life-changing event for the three World War II soldiers.
This, of course, involves stealing the body from the funeral home, reading up on embalming just in case they haven't gotten to it before Albert's stealth posthumous departure, and driving across Europe, a special difficulty for Harry, whose eyesight is failing. Still, that's what it's going to take for Albert's Memorial. Along the way, they pick up a hitchhiker who may know a little more about their mission than she's telling.
If you've recognized the name David Jason, you've probably figured out that you -- and Frank and Harry -- are in for a lot of the typical misadventures, such as, say, dumping the coffin in a lorry to get it through customs and having to follow it, even though the guys don't even know which side of the road to drive on in France. There's also a tendency toward verbal discombobulation from Jason ("If I die, please God, not in a hospital"; read that quote again carefully if you didn't notice the non sequitur). Jason and Warner bicker through this well, genuinely seeming like old friends. They don't generate belly laughs, but you'll smile a lot.
There's also a serious side to the movie, since Albert's request is bringing back a bad memory that his two friends have lived with since World War II. This means it's also a war story, as flashbacks show the young men, lost on the battlefield, and the events leading up to a shocking act of violence. There's also a twist at the end; I was expecting one, but the one that turns up is an unexpected variation.
The European countryside looks bright and cheerful, from narrow French streets to a brilliant field of poppies. The sound also comes across well.
It's an odd little TV movie that you might like, at least enough to put it in a Netflix queue.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BFS Video
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 68 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated