Starring: Michael Palin, Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott
Director: Malcolm Mowbray
Running Time: 94 mins
A Private Function is a British film about a married couple in a small North Yorkshire village in post-Second World War austerity Britain who become wrapped up in the flourishing bacon black market of the era and some of the mad schemes that come with it.
Well, this is a great display of a brilliantly British comedy, a great story, and some fantastic performances that all come together to make one hugely enjoyable film.
Basically, this whole film revolves around the black market of bacon during rationing in the late 1940s, and the funniest thing about this is how the film, very farcically, presents this a a really underhand, dangerous crime ring, almost like Prohibition, with police surveillance, illegal deals and everything, even though all that’s involved is bacon.
Also, there’s nothing funnier than watching fairly innocent, law-abiding Brits try to get involved in a crime of any sort, especially when you’ve got people like Michael Palin playing Mr. Nice Guy all throughout, yet desperately trying to make a mark on the black market.
But it wasn’t just Palin, Maggie Smith was a hilariously domineering housewife, Richard Griffiths proved a fantastically funny and endearing character, however I thought that the best performance was by Denholm Elliot, as the snobbish, upper-class head of the bacon trade, who was just so brutal and evil throughout, but in the funniest of ways.
However, one of the most impressive things about this film was that it wasn’t all about the comedy, and actually had a pretty good story to it too. Obviously, it was a bit of a light caper, but at the same time it felt unpredictable, exciting, and despite being a farce about bacon, quite an intriguing concept to look into amidst the historical context.
Overall, then, this gets a 7.8, because of its fantastically funny cast and comedy, as well as its impressive plot.