Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Benny Hill Annual 1976 (1976) Film Review
The Benny Hill Show divides people. For some, it is a classic piece of harmless, seaside, music hall humour, known and loved worldwide. For others, it's massively sexist, xenophobic and racist, showcasing the worst prejudices of the people of the UK. Regardless of personal opinion, it is an absolutely irrefutable part of British comic history that ran for 34 years, part of a century-long transition between the burlesque shows of the 19th century to modern comics, such as Matt Lucas and David Walliams.
Three full and apparently uncut episodes of the 1976 Benny Hill Show are presented in all their tacky glory, featuring the usual array of smutty jokes, bawdy songs, awful puns, old - and I mean prehistoric - gags and enough innuendo to floor a rhino. They also feature burlesque cabaret acts, like Love Machine - a quartet of girls whose only real talents appear to reside in their diamante bikinis - and completely missable singers. Some of the skits are inoffensive enough, but others, like the Chinese cooking with Fanee Claddock, or the wild jungle girl's song, are almost unwatchable and the near continuous scenes of emaciated girls in miniscule skirts being leered at by the somewhat porcine Hill seem very, very creepy.
It's interesting to compare The Benny Hill Show to post-politically correct era shows like Little Britain; but the differences are massive and a good thing. Hill seems cruder and almost predatory - there's a dangerous whiff of exploitation and the tackiness of the presentation doesn't help.
The Benny Hill Show is a bit of vintage pornography. While it's not as fully frontally graphic as modern material, there's something about the way it looks and feels that makes it much more sinister and distasteful.
Personal opinion will be what matters. If you like Benny Hill then you'll forgive all of its crudeness, but unless you have fond memories, it's a definite no-go.Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2006
If you like this, try:The Benny Hill Annual 1977