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A Private Function


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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Palin, Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, Richard Griffiths, Tony Haygarth
  • Directors: Malcolm Mowbray
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 1, 2003
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000089733
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,603 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Private Function" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Michael Palin (A Fish Called Wanda) teams with OscarÂ(r) winner* Maggie Smith (Gosford Park) in this uproarious comedy in which 'the laughs come fast (Variety) and the upper class becomes furious! Co-starring Denholm Elliott, Pete Postlethwaite and one divine swine, this hilarious comedy is alive and unruly, [and] the humor keeps boiling up (Pauline Kael, The New Yorker)! Life isn't easy in 1947 Yorkshire, where strict post-war rationing is putting the squeeze on the townspeople. But when a married working-class couple (Palin and Smith) discovers that the town's wealthy elite has been secretly fattening up an illegal pig for their own selfish gluttony, they hatch an outlandish kidnapping scheme that gives new meaning to the phrase bringing home the bacon ! *1969: Actress, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie; 1978: Supporting Actress, California Suite

Customer Reviews

Of course things work out--but not in the way anyone was expecting.
K. Harris
I didn't know how post WWII England was like when it had to ration meat, especially pork, during it's lean times.
Amazon Customer
Maggie Smith is delicious, and Liz Smith and Richard Griffiths are uproariously funny.
Bartolo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. A. Towey on August 23, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
What a surprise that this perfect gem is not better known...such a loss. Britain during the early fifties had much to look forward to and much still to do. Everything was still rationed just as in the war years principally because the treasury was sacked to pay for the arms and munitions needed to fight it. The Empire (or what was left of it) was broke too and most that had not already done so went the autonomous route now, taking revenue away from London...though all quite peaceably and with everyone's best wishes. It would be ten years after the war ended (that makes roughly fourteen in all) until rationing would end for these isles, celebrated with the fantastic Festival of Britain in 1955, and people could at last look forward into a new Elizabethan age, rather than back on that darkness. My god Britain paid for that war in every way possible...really. What a period then to set a comedy I suppose...except that this particular story required those lean and austere times for the telling of it. Fresh meat you see...gammon, bacon, joints roasted and slavered with apple sauce...mouth watering! Imagine then the lengths you might go to for some of that after, let's say, eleven years of powdered egg.
Michael Palin as the hen pecked chiropodist, Maggie Smith as the social climbing hen, Liz Smith as the batty scatty mother-in law who'll stuff virtually anything and everything in her gannet gob, Denholm Eliot (as the doctor) who refuses to be impressed and so must be made so...along with everyone else in town who matters....I have never laughed so much. They are all that generation who would have been children (more or less) in this time period and all say how they never felt they went without....how they enjoyed their childhood's and wish it could be the same always...when you watch this you can see their point. This film and everyone's performance in it is superb. Please...for your good health and for your better and more cheerful disposition...buy this movie.
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Format: DVD
When the incredible Maggie Smith shares top billing in a film with a pig, it is simply too delicious to resist. That is much the way I feel about 1984's "A Private Function." This delightful British comedy didn't get a lot of attention upon its release and is still relatively unknown stateside, but those that appreciate a droll skewering of class politics will be enchanted by this rude, yet smart, film. "A Private Function" won three British Academy Awards (BAFTAs) for Best Actress Maggie Smith, Best Supporting Actress Liz Smith, and Best Supporting Actor Denholm Elliott in addition to being nominated for Best Film and Best Screenplay. Headlined by Michael Palin, "A Private Function" is more akin to a classic Ealing Studio's comic caper than to contemporary Python. Bizarre and uniquely British in tone and temperament, I hope a new DVD release will raise awareness of this quiet gem. And there's a pig in it!

Set in a small town in post-war 1947 Britain, "A Private Function" introduces a world were deprivation and rationing are still every day occurrences. When the local town bigwigs want to impress for an impending Royal wedding, they set aside a pig for slaughter. It's all rather hush hush, though, as the very act they intend to commit violates the law. When Palin, as the put upon husband of Dame Maggie, is pushed too far by his socially carnivorous wife--he abducts the prize porker. Mayhem ensues as the town falls to pieces and Palin and Smith desperately try to hide their porcine concubine from prying eyes. There are plenty of gags, many at the expense of Smith's daft mother Liz Smith, who fears senility from all the strange new odors at home. Of course things work out--but not in the way anyone was expecting.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 12, 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
A great cast and story. It's so witty as only the English can make. It's not a current movie, so don't expect any of the current stars with the exception of Maggie Smith, who is one of England's greatest actors. I didn't know how post WWII England was like when it had to ration meat, especially pork, during it's lean times. The story comes to a funny and entertaining climax at the end. Without giving the story away, I felt sorry for the pig. Although, I just couldn't stop laughing. I highly recommend this movie to adults with a great sense of humor. Let your children watch the cartoon channel. They just wouldn't appreciate the adult humor. I'm a "Carry On" fan so expect the same humor. The quality of the blu-ray is very good, if you into blu-ray movies.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on December 14, 2003
Format: DVD
Michael Palin of Monty Python and 'Fish Called Wanda' fame teams up with Maggie Smith ('Prime of Miss Jean Brodie', 'Room With a View', 'Gosford Park') to form one of the most eccentric married couples in English history. To top it off, the couple live with her mother played by the acctress who portrays the eccentric female vestry member (always knitting and creating strange kitchen concoctions) in the 'Vicar of Dilby' series.
Palin is "foot doctor" who spends his days bicycling from house to house in post-War II Yorkshire tending to female patients. In his travels around and about he crosses paths with a syndicate of "business men" who are raising an illegal pig for a "private function" to be held the day the Princess Elizabeth (II) marries.
Following a farcical turn of events, Palin kidnaps the pig named "Betty" planned for the roast. Urged on by Smith's character (pure Maggie), the couple "keep" the pig in their bathroom and try to kill it. Soon enough, the syndicate members discover the kidnapping and are hot on the tail of the missing pig. In the meantime, a zealous copper is hot on their tails.
Other wonderful actors in this romp include Denholm Elliot ('Room With a View'), Alison Steadman ('Singing Dectective', 'Pride and Prejudice'), Pete Postlehwaite ('Name of the Father', 'Brassed Off') and other very familiar faces. An uplifting film, but not suitable for those who are weak of stomach.
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