Back in the ‘70s, Hammer Film Productions had a fair amount of success bringing to cinemas numerous versions of then-popular television sitcoms. Man About the House was the last of these and provided a big-screen adventure for the trio of Robin (O’Sullivan), Chrissy (Wilcox), and Jo (Thomsett) as well as their landlords George and Mildred (Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce). The setup of the film is broadly the same as the series as it finds chef Robin sharing a flat with Chrissy and Jo and - considering that mixed gender house shares weren’t a regular occurrence back then - the hilarious hijinks that ensue with them sharing an unconventional living space.
As it’s a film and not just an episode there needs to be a bigger focus and that’s provided here by a ruthless developer’s attempts to buy and demolish the row of houses the trio’s flat is part of. When they learn of the plan, Robin, Chrissy and Jo start plotting ways to save their home, from a petition through to food poisoning. Complicating their situation further is the fact George has his heart set on making the deal. Can Mildred help the three hip young things save the day? Well, you can probably figure that out.
It’s entirely predictable comedy but none the worse for it. Though there’s absolutely nothing compelling about the film, it’s inoffensive stuff (apart from a mercifully brief cameo from the stars of Love Thy Neighbour) that’s likely to please fans and convert no one else. The central cast is generally good and alongside that there are numerous famous faces, including the likes of Arthur Lowe and Spike Milligan, to hold the attention, but nobody here is doing their best work.
For this Blu-ray, those fans sadly will find nothing to get excited about. The extras are comprised simply of the trailer for the film, an image gallery and some PDF material. At least for a HD picture it is suitably clear and sharp, despite being soft in a few places. That’s not always a plus given that the film was made in a decade that could easily lay claim to be the one fashion truly set adrift. Some of the clothes here are genuinely unpleasant.
For anyone who likes the series this is a fine enough purchase but for anyone else we can’t particularly recommend a reason why you should pick this up.
MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE (1974) / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: JOHN ROBINS / SCREENPLAY: JOHNNIE MORTIMER, BRIAN COOKE / STARRING: RICHARD O’SULLIVAN, PAULA WILCOX, SALLY THOMSETT, BRIAN MURPHY, YOOTHA JOYCE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW