|Are You Being Served?: The Movie|
|Directed by||Bob Kellett|
|Produced by||Andrew Mitchell|
|Written by|| David Croft|
|Starring|| John Inman|
|Music by||Ronnie Hazlehurst|
|Editing by||Al Gell|
|Running time||95 minutes|
Are You Being Served?: The Movie, is a 1977 motion picture based on the British sitcom Are You Being Served?, which follows the staff of Grace Brothers' Men's and Women's Department as they take a holiday in the fictional Costa Plonka while their department is renovated.
The story is an adaptation of the successful stage version of the show which enjoyed a two year run in 1976 and 1977.
Grace Brothers' requires renovation. To compensate for time off work, Young Mr. Grace (Harold Bennett) sends the staff of the Men's and Women's Department on a two week holiday to the fictional Spanish resort town of Costa Plonka.
The wife of Captain Peacock (Frank Thornton) won't be joining them, and Mrs. Slocombe (Mollie Sugden) sees an opportunity to seduce him. She is as oblivious as ever to the fact that Captain Peacock has his eye – or rather both eyes – on Miss Brahms (Wendy Richard), the attractive young Womenswear junior. Miss Brahms has known of his plans all along, and deflects each advance with ease.
The staff find, to their chagrin, that because of a booking mix-up their hotel has no rooms available, and they are forced to sleep in tents. The single public bathroom only has a lock on the outside, and that the local custom is to sing a song while you are using it to let others know of its occupation. This causes a problem for Mr. Grainger (Arthur Brough), who after a local meal states, "Many more dinners like that, and I shall have to learn a longer song!"
Dinnertime proves to be very eventful, as many of the staff take the opportunity to pass naughty notes to each other. Few of the notes reach their intended recipient. Chaos ensues when Mrs. Slocombe receives a note, presuming it to be from Captain Peacock, when really it was from Mr. Lucas (Trevor Bannister) to Miss Brahms.
Mr. Humphries (John Inman) is popular with the girls – and the men. He receives the advances of Conchita (Karan David), a señorita working at the hotel. She frequents Mr. Humphries' tent at night, with the hopes that he will "make her happy".
The holiday makers then find themselves in the middle of a revolution and are confined to their hotel during the uprising.
After a closing sale, the staff of Grace Brothers prepare for their holiday to the Don Bernado Palace Hotel, Spain. Mr. Humphries and Mr. Lucas sell a pair of trousers to a visiting Emir and Mr. Harman of packing introduces Mrs. Slocombe to the inflatable swimsuit. There is a temporary setback when Captain Stephen Peacock takes her to the passport studio and accidentally takes four increasingly embarrassing pictures. Mr. Lucas buys a set of chattering teeth after flirting unsuccessfully with the girl at the counter and hides them in a display model's underwear. The chattering startles the others and ultimately results in Mr. Humphries being bitten by them twice. Eventually everyone boards the plane, though Mr. Granger takes a while to adjust (having never been abroad before).
Upon arrival, the staff discover that due to a misunderstanding (thinking that Grace Brothers meant two actual brothers), they won't have rooms until the following day. The staff decide to spend the night in a series of tents. Mr. Harman is given luxurious treatment by pretending to be an Earl. The staff make the acquaintance of Conchita, a señorita working at the hotel, who catches the eyes of Mr. Lucas and Captain Peacock. The Manager, Don Carlos Bernardo (Andrew Sachs), is also attracted to Conchita and plans to take advantage of her.
Unbeknownst to the staff, Carlos is being threatened by Cesar Rodriguez (Glyn Houston), a ruthless terrorist and revolutionary, into pimping out the female staff. Cesar takes a fancy to Mrs. Slocombe after seeing a deceitful photograph of her and intends to seduce her that night.
The staff dine under the stars in the evening and are mocked by onlookers. Mr. Lucas attempts to send a love letter to Miss Brahms, but it is received by Mrs. Slocombe, who thinks that Captain Peacock sent it. She writes a response love letter to Peacock, who thinks Miss Brahms sent it and his own response love letter is received by Mr. Humphries. Conchita makes advances On Mr. Humphries and tries to persuade him to let her sleep with him, leaving him paranoid and on-edge.
During the night, a caterpillar creeps into Miss Brahms tent and frightens her. She swaps tents with Mr. Humphries, who swaps tents with Mrs. Slocombe, who attempts to seduce Captain Peacock. Mrs. Slocombe chases Captain Peacock out of his tent and Mr. Lucas sneaks into Miss Brahms' tent to wait for her. Conchita mistakes him for Mr. Humphries and almost sleeps with him, but she is frightened off by the caterpillar. Cesar comes to Mrs. Slocomb's tent, forcing Mr. Humphries to impersonate her using a wig, a dressing gown and inflatable swimsuit. Cesar tries to seduce him and ends up chasing him through the hotel, disturbing Mr. Granger who looks on in bemusement. Cesar eventually finds the real Mrs. Slocombe and chases her towards the beach.
The following morning, Mr. Humphries turns up disguised as a nun. Conchita is revealed to have spent the night with Mr. Harman. With his uprising cut off, Cesar's men take over the hotel and threaten to take any remaining guests down with them. The hotel comes under attack, forcing the staff to hide behind some overturned tables. Mr. Lucas runs back to the tents to retrieve Mr. Rumbold's (Nicholas Smith) bowler hat, in an attempt to alert the attackers to the presence of British citizens. Unfortunately, the plan fails.
The staff then decide to write "HELP BRITISH" on a tablecloth and hang it from the hotel's publicity balloon. Having lost all of his men, Cesar takes shelter in the outdoor lavatory and leaves everyone else to be shot down by jet fighters. With the sighn finished, the staff raise the balloon into the air, but it catches on the lavatory, lifting Cesar into the air and exposing him to direct fire. He surrenders to the troops by waving Mrs. Slocomb's patriotic underwear (implying he slept with her). A tank comes crashing through the wall and the staff make a dive for safety. Fortunately, the driver turns out to be Young Mr. Grace, who says to them, "You've all done very well", to which the staff reply "Thank you Mr. Grace".
The senior sales assistant on the men's counter and Mr. Lucas' best friend. His ambiguous sexuality is the main source of this character's humour. He wears colourful outfits and uses feminine hygiene products. He is the target of Conchita's affections and is willing to change tents in order to avoid her. He becomes paranoid after receiving a love letter from Captain Peacock, which he intended to send to Miss Brahms. Of all the staff, he is the most involved in the hotel's affairs. He disguises himself as Mrs. Slocombe to deceive Cesar and eventually ends up getting chased around the hotel, before taking refuge in a nunnery. It is Mr. Humphries who has the idea of sending a message to the troops using a balloon.
The head of the ladies department, the main female protagonist and Cesar's love interest. She is a respectable character but secretly desires male companionship. She has a prominent crush on Captain Peacock, but is equally as attracted to Cesar. Her catch phrase is "I am unanimous in that!". Her passport photograph gets mixed up with a holiday picture of her sticking her head through a hole, making her look like an attractive model. This confuses the spanish characters. She accidentally receives a love letter from Mr. Lucas and thinks it came from Captain Peacock. She sends a reply to him, saying that she will come to his tent at night. She is known to wear union flag coloured underwear, which she gives to Cesar, eventually saving him from being gunned down. It is suggested that she has slept with Cesar.
The floor walker at Grace Brothers. He is respectable, but very snooty. He repeatedly picks on Mr. Lucas because of his repeated insolence and gets annoyed when Mr. Rumbold undermines his authority. Despite their dislike of one another, he and Mr. Lucas have a similar fascination for women. He decides not to take his wife on holiday with him, in the hope of getting a date with Miss Brahms. His nickname is "Sexy Y-fronts", which Mrs. Slocombe assigned him in a love letter he thought was from Miss Brahms. He writes a reply, requesting that he come to her tent that night.
The junior of the men's department. He likes the ladies a little too much and is notorious for making inappropriate jokes. He has a crush on Miss Brahms and is the cause of the confusion that ensues during the night. He sends a letter to Miss Brahms, asking her to come to his tent and watch the moon rise with him. He pretends to be Mr. Humphries in an attempt to sleep with Conchita, but she is scared away by a caterpillar. He suggests using a bowler hat to show an army of attackers that the staff are British and is clearly the most heroic staff member, as he is seen running through an onslaught of bullets to retrieve the hat.
The junior of the ladies department and Mrs. Slocombe's friend. She is lusted after by Mr. Lucas and Captain Peacock and her nickname is "Sexy Knickers". The spanish characters have little if any interest at all in her. She expresses an interest in Mrs. Slocombe's love life. Despite her appearance, she is strong willed and impervious to flirting.
The head of the men's department and the oldest member of the staff. He is a kind hearted gentleman but is slightly dopey. His character plays a more important role towards the beginning of the film and his inexperience with foreign travel is his main source of humour. He is the only character who is gentlemanly towards Mrs. Slocombe (in contrast to the television series) but can be very insulting when annoyed.
The incompetent manager of the floor. He is constantly mocked because of his bald head and big ears. He enjoys giving commands to the other staff members (in particular Captain Peacock), but he is on friendly terms with Mr. Lucas.
The head of Grace Brothers department store. Though rarely seen, he is responsible for setting up the holiday. He is easily distracted by female beauty and is unaware of how inexperienced his secretary is. He appears at the end of the film to see how the staff are enjoying the holiday.
The head of the packing department. He inspires great jealousy amongst the staff, by earning more money than anyone else and being able to trick Carlos into giving him a luxury suite at the hotel. He uses almost as much innuendo as Mr. Lucas. He claims himself to be a revolutionist in order to avoid getting shot.
- Karan David as Conchita:
A young waitress who works at the hotel. She is the object of Carlos' and later Mr. Lucas' affection and is very naive. She has an obvious crush on Mr. Humphries and wishes for him to take her back to England with him. She rejects Carlos' advances and resorts to sleeping in Mr. Humphries' tent. She ends up in bed with Mr. Lucas and mistakes a caterpillar crawling over her for Mr. Humphries taking advantage of her. She eventually goes to Mr. Harman for comfort.
- Glyn Houston as Cesar Rodriguez:
The main antagonist. Cesar is a ruthless terrorist, who plots revolution. He has killed 12/13 men with his bare hands and is ready to let all the hotel guests and staff die alongside him. He holds Carlos at gunpoint and forces him to give him Conchita. He sees Mrs. Slocombe's holiday photograph and thinks she is more beautiful than she actually is. He chases Mr. Humphries around the hotel thinking he was Mrs. Slocombe before finding the real one and chasing her to the beach. His men take over the hotel and use it as their final battlefield. He attempts to avoid being shot by hiding in a lavatory, but it is lifted into the air on a balloon, taking him with it. He eventually surrenders by waving Mrs. Slocombe's underwear at the enemy. It is likely he slept with her, as she was concerned for his safety and it would explain how he was able to get a hold of her underwear in the first place.
- Andrew Sachs as Don Carlos Bernardo:
The manager of the hotel and a secondary antagonist. He makes several mistakes that result in the Grace Brothers' staff sleeping in tents, such as assuming that Grace Brothers were two actual brothers and that tents were called penthouses. He lusts after Conchita and tries to take advantage of her by taking the bolt off the door to her room. He is threatened by Cesar into letting him into Mrs. Slocombe's tent so that he can have his way with her.
- Derek Griffiths as The Emir:
A customer who comes in to buy a pair of trousers. He won't allow Mr. Lucas or Mr. Humphries to take his inside leg. The two gentlemen take the measurement by firing a balloon up his leg (a process he seemed to enjoy). He then ordered one pair of trousers and a hundred balloons.
- Nadim Sawalha as The Emir's Interpreter:
A gentleman dressed in a similar fashion to The Emir.
- Penny Irving as Miss Nicholson:
Mr. Grace's secretary. She is a dumb blond and takes a whole day to finish typing a letter.
- Sheila Steafel as Hat Customer:
Mrs. Slocombe accidentally sells this woman her own hat.
Links to episodesEdit
Many of the gags are adapted from those used in various episodes.#
Are You Being Served?: The Movie received generally poor reviews, for instance described by Michael Stailey as a film that is "guilty of violating almost every law of comedy and film." The film is widely considered to be lacking in originality, plot, and focus.
- ↑ "DVD Verdict Review - Are You Being Served? The Movie". Dvdverdict.com. 2002-09-06. http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/areyoubeingserved.php. Retrieved 2010-08-12.