A Private Function

  • Film
  • Comedy
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Set in a small Yorkshire town in 1947, this first feature scripted by Alan Bennett is a pig-movie, about the smells they make and the lengths to which people went to steal one in austerity Britain, when there really was an illicit trade in the animals. Onto this thin premise, Bennett and Mowbray layer a subplot of middle class social warfare as timid chiropodist Palin and his wife Maggie Smith, a Lady Macbeth of the aspidistras, try to scale the heights of Northern society by nicking a porker secretly earmarked for the town's celebration of the coming marriage of Princess Elizabeth. Too downbeat for farce, too whimsical to be an effective observation of the reality of ration-book Britain, the movie seems a mess, despite fine performances.

Release details

Duration: 94 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Malcolm Mowbray
Screenwriter: Alan Bennett
Cast: Michael Palin
Maggie Smith
Denholm Elliott
Richard Griffiths
Tony Haygarth
John Normington
Bill Paterson
Liz Smith
Alison Steadman
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