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Case Number 06194

Buy Benny Hill Complete And Unadulterated: The Naughty Early Years, Set Two (1972-1974) at Amazon

Benny Hill Complete And Unadulterated: The Naughty Early Years, Set Two (1972-1974)

A&E // 1972 // 500 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dennis Prince (Retired) // February 16th, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge Dennis Prince says play that Yakkety Sax again! He's pining for yet another Benny Quickie, aren't you?

The Charge

Blanche: Drink and sex. That's what killed your uncle. Drink and sex.
Harry: Yeah. He couldn't get either, so he shot himself!

Nicholas Parsons: Are Thames executives against attractive nude women?
Fred Scuttle: Not as often as they'd like to be!

Opening Statement

That rapscallion of the ribald, Benny Hill, is back in another three-disc volume from A&E Home Video, sure to tickle your funny bone, to tempt you to grin at his egregious goings on, and to titillate…uh…well…it's all quite fun, you know.

Facts of the Case

By 1972, it was clear that Benny Hill was just the act to help buoy the fledgling Thames Television. Although his unapologetic assortment of sexual assertions and seemingly insensitive innuendos should have been a flash pot of controversy, Hill grew an audience that enjoyed an indiscreet snicker now and again. Despite charges that Hill's approach was sexist, look closely and you'll see that, although he did enjoy exposing the…er…talents of the females at hand, it was always the male character who wound up holding the short end of the stick (what with those curious little blue pills not yet invented). Hill's characters were cads, letches, and leering louses, but they effectively tapped a bit of that inappropriate urge in us all. Of course, Hill's audience remained confined to the shores of the U.K. until 1979, when stateside television distributor Don Taffner saw the global appeal of the base Brit's undeniable humor. Whittling the shows from their original one-hour format to a lean 30 minutes, Hill reached even higher heights of stardom as his show became an immediate cult hit, as had Monty Python's Flying Circus some years earlier.

The Evidence

Benny Hill was certainly a writer and performer overflowing with material, and, as such, packed each of his hour-long shows from start to finish with non-stop skits, songs, and other assorted visual treats (or is that "indiscretions"?). Anyway, in this The Naughty Early Years: Benny Hill Complete & Unadulterated Set Two release, which covers episodes beginning with the second half of Season Three through the complete Season Five (each season only featured four episodes, as each show required a full three months to rehearse and record), you'll find Hill at his bawdy best. Here's what awaits you:

Disc One

• Episode 1
Benny Quickie: Sweet Chess/ Benny's Ballad: Oh Zandoona/ Fred Scuttle's Health Farm and Keep Fit Brigade/ Fam and Fufan: A Poem by Folomon Faint John/ Pierre De Tierre: Avant-Garde French Filmmaker/ The Lonely Miss Fox/ Sylvia McNeil: I Don't Know How to Love Him/ Percy Thrower interviews Amos Thripp, Head Gardner/ Benny's Quickies: Television Secrets/ Chow-Mein at Customs and Immigration/ Benny's All Star Finale

• Episode 2
Benny Quickie: Undercover Nazis/ Benny's Ballad Wild, Wild Women/ Nicholas Parsons talks to the children of St. Solomon's School/ Trespassing at Lakeside Park/ Medical Memory Lane/ Air Travel and Benny's Duet: Those Days/ Benny Quickie: Nemo The Fastest Quick Change Artist in the World/ Television Director Fred Scuttle; Scuttlevision/ Poor Prunella/ Noel Coward's Little Things/ Meeting People: Chow-Mein meets Nicholas Parsons/ Benny's Ballad: Harvest of Love

• Episode 3
Benny Quickie: Slot Machines/ Benny's Ballad: The Dustbins of Your Mind/ Meeting People with Hugh Paddick/ Benny's Ballad: Fad Eyed Fal/ Woodstick/ Autumn Fashion Parade/ Berlin Youth Choir Recital

• Episode 4
Benny Quickie: Church Mission/ Benny's Ballad: When I Was a Lad/ Benny's Television Bloopers/ Fred Scuttle Striptease Cabaret/ The Christmas Booze-Up/ The Ladybirds: Don't Stop the Music/ Benny's Advertising Bloopers/ Yackanory/ Benny's Ballad: Portable TV Set/ An American in Britain and Benny's Ballad: The Common Market Square Dance

Disc Two

• Episode 5
Benny Quickie: Dearest Heart Take/ Benny's Ballad: Carol/ Fred Scuttle: Security Guard/ Programme Planner/ Benny Quickies: Television Secrets/ The Orange Blossom Sound: What Am I Doing Hanging Round/ Chow-Mein At Home with Henry McGee II/ Jackie Wright's Holiday/ Benny's Duet: Lover Come Back to Me

• Episode 6
Benny Quickie: Beanz Meanz Beanz/ Benny Accompanies Lee Gibson: Mad About You/ Confrontation: Mervyn Cruddy Speaks Out/ Reflection Ballet/ Poetry Corner/ The Deputy/ Lee Gibson and John John Keefe: Happy Together/ American Generation Gap/ Benny Quickies: Advertising Bloopers/ The Dalton Abbott Railway Porter Choir

• Episode 7
Benny's Quickies: Bad Cling/ Benny's Ballad: News of the Family/ Spot Black. Germany Calling/ Fun at the Flicks/ Berry Cornish: A Child's Question/ Benny Quickies: Misunderstandings/ Los Zafiros/ Phone In with Ludovic Kennedy and Humphrey Bumphrey/ The Band in the Park: Continental Capers

• Episode 8
Benny Quickie: Batman!/ Benny's Ballad: Dapper Dan the Lady Killer Man/ Fred Scuttle's Channel Tunnel/ Benny Quickies: Indiscretions/ The Great British Dancing Finals with Terry Wobegone/ Anne Shelton: Galilee Song/ Departure Lounge with Mervyn Cruddy/ Benny Quickies: No Milk!/ The Ladybirds sing Broadway Melodies/ Bo Peep: Nursery Rhyme Interpretations

Disc Three

• Episode 9
Benny Quickie: Romantic Pipe Smoker/ "Faith" by E.M. Barrister/ Senor Benny Presents Diana Darvey and El Sidney: Sway/ Spy Games/ Benny Quickies: Three Beans on Toast/ Design: Second Love/ Film Time: Director Sam Speiler/ Benny Quickies: Counting/ The Minstrel Boy/ Mr. TV Times Contest

• Episode 10
Benny's Quickie: A Little Boy?/ Benny's Musical Sermon: The Good Book/ Benny's International Bloopers/ Fred Scuttle: Scuttle's Escorts/ Benny Quickie: You Say Hawaii/ Match of the Week: Golden Goalies and their Silver Saves/ Judith Durham and the Hottest Band in Town: Strut Your Stuff/ Coalpits/ The Ladybirds: Yesterday Once More/ Benny Quickie: Hooch/ The Short and Unhappy Romance of Ted Tingle/ Benny Quickie: Hooch II/ Mexican Medley

On this new DVD, these complete and uncut episodes look quite good in their standard 1.33:1 full frame format. The color is absolutely striking (far beyond what I recall from those early Eighties UHF broadcasts) and the detail level is quite high, sometimes causing me to cringe a bit at the overachieving patterns and styles of the Seventies fashion proudly on display. There were occasional moments of compression artifacting, but generally the transfers are very clean and stable. The audio is offered in a somewhat beefed-up Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix, slightly expanding the sound field of the original mono tracks. As for extras, A&E outshines most other studios' TV releases by including decent extras—both in this boxed set as well as in the studio's previously-released Benny box—that are sure to please fans. This time around you'll find A&E's original biography production, Benny Hill: Laughter and Controversy. Hosted, as usual, by Peter Graves, the 48-minute program provides an in-depth look into the life of this very funny yet often troubled man. There's also a fun trivia challenge game that will provide some moments of head-scratching hilarity.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Well, if you want to take offense, go ahead—because there's plenty here that will offend the more sensitive among us or those politically-correct afflicted who actively seek out cultural scapegoats. You've been warned, so don't be shocked if you see something here that makes you want to shout out, "Somebody should do something about this!" Prude.

Closing Statement

Saucy, silly, and, more often than not, shocking, The Benny Hill Show has enjoyed international acclaim from those who enjoy its unrefined appeal. For fans who have been longing to finally own complete episodes, this second boxed set from A&E Home Video confirms that your prayers have been answered. Enjoy!

The Verdict

While this court can't necessarily issue a condoning statement that the content found in this second Benny Hill boxed set will appeal to all viewers, this court can certainly enjoy a good guffaw from time to time. Benny Hill, of course, is found not guilty of anything truly offensive outside of the intentional rough-edged show. A&E Home Video is likewise found not guilty thanks to this second well-produced release. Case dismissed.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 93
Audio: 89
Extras: 87
Acting: 91
Story: 91
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: A&E
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 500 Minutes
Release Year: 1972
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Comedy
• Foreign
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• A&E Biography episode: "Benny Hill: Laughter and Controversy"
• Benny Hill Cheeky Challenge Trivia Quiz

Accomplices

• IMDb








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