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66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In this classic slice of British comedy, John Cleese plays clock-watching headmaster Brian Stimpson, whose fanaticism for time-keeping knows no bounds. But his obsessive punctuality is put to the test when he boards the wrong train on his way to an education converence in Norwhich. What follows is a nightmarish journey involving a catalogue of misunderstandings, ex-girlfriends, unruly Sixth Formers and even the police. With a razor-sharp screenplay by acclaimed author and playwright Michael Frayn (Noises Off, Copenhagen) and great supporting turns from Alison Steadman and Joan Hickson, Clockwise is a lesson in the art of comic timing, with a bravura performance from Cleese at its centre.

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Monty Python's John Cleese makes this lighthearted farce work as a tightly wound, punctilious public school headmaster whose well-organized life unravels in a series of disasters on his journey to a conference. Cleese is a master of fussy, fastidious characters in exasperating situations, bottling up his frustration under good manners and sardonic comments until he finally blows, but he's also startlingly vulnerable as he systematically loses all sense of himself. Dressed in monk's robes and stranded on a lonely country road, he looks down at his naked wrist and sighs, "I've even lost the time." Michael Fryan (the playwright of Noises Off) doesn't really have much of a story behind the situations, but he provides plenty of complications, and Cleese holds the film together with his brittle manner, single-minded drive, and hilarious headmaster's condescending haughtiness. While it will seem slight to many, Cleese fans will love it. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features

  • Clockwatching with Mr. Cleese - an all-new 13 minute interview with John Cleese

Product Details

  • Actors: John Cleese, Penelope Wilton, Alison Steadman, Stephen Moore, Sharon Maiden
  • Directors: Christopher Morahan
  • Writers: Michael Frayn
  • Producers: Michael Cordon
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • DVD Release Date: January 6, 2012
  • Run Time: 1 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005R249
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,104 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Clockwise" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 8, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This is Cleese doing what Cleese does best. Right, I mean insanity by inches.

He starts as a utterly rigid headmaster, the kind so precise that he stops in mid-sentence to make sure that the clock ticks when it should. Right. He sets out, at the precise moment, to accept a major award for himself and his school. Right?


Then just a little thing happens. A very little thing. He asks the way to the train - which is it? Left?


And right he goes. From that point forward, it's a comedy of errors. At each new error, Cleese's character adds a notch to the pressure. Step by step, the frenzy increases, new characters add their bits to the pressure ("sherry glasses", for example), until you expect everyone to burst a vein. Somewhere along the line, Cleese ends up in just his boxers, as required. The ending is very British, with all of the various police jurisdictions politely working out which characters go to which gaols.

I swear, I've had days like that.

There are a few nits to pick here. That high-school girl had more of a twenty-something look about her, for example. But c'mon, the story works, the characters work, the mishaps work, and it all comes together in the perfect "thank gawd it's not me" experience.

If you set your expectations low enough, this is sure to exceed them. It's a specimen of the 'goofy britcom' species, and a stunning one at that. Enjoy it for what it is.

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David L Rattigan on January 29, 2002
Format: DVD
This was clearly designed as a vehicle for John Cleese, cashing in on his international fame as Basil Fawlty. Here, as headmaster Brian Stimpson, he gets to engage in all the familiar Fawltyesque madness with great relish. However, it manages not to descend into meaninglessness and pedantry like so many comedy star vehicles tend to, since it boasts an excellent script by veteran playwright Christopher Frayn. It is all delicately paced, and nicely played out with typical British charm by a host of comedy regulars including Alison Steadman and Geoffrey Palmer.
The movie basically follows a day in the life of the time-obsessed Stimpson as he makes his way to a conference in Norwich, where he is to make a speech as the first ever grammar-school head to be made president of the headmasters association. Beginning with missing his train, we follow Stimpson in his ill-fated attempts to get to Norwich on time. Plenty of opportunity for mayhem and chaos along the way, as well as some laughs stemming from Cleese's irredeemably pedantic character. Nothing deep, but lots of fun.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Bender on October 9, 2001
Format: DVD
John Cleese is the very precise, orderly and punctual headmaster of a common British public school. As such, he rules the school, students and faculty as strictly as possible. Due to his managerial excellence, he wins an award for best Headmaster of the year (a great honor coming from a public school,) and this is where the fun begins! In order to receive the award, he has to attend the award ceremony off in the middle of the English countryside, and getting there is all the fun! (Anything that can go wrong...)

This is, hands down, one of the best movies ever made, and I've been waiting years for it to come out on DVD! It's physically impossible not to incredibly enjoy Clockwise, especially if you're a Fawlty Towers fan. I remembered nearly every single scene in this film from when I saw it as a teenager over 15 years ago! It's that funny. You simply MUST see this movie! (And DVD is the best way to do it.) Enjoy!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By on June 22, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
John Cleesec comes close to re-creating his famous role as Basil fawlty in Fawlty Towers, and is hilarious in doing so. He plays a headmaster who is always firmly punctual but when he is due at a conference in Norwich and he boards the wrong train he is plunged to a cross-country adventure with a school girl and a former girlfriend hot on their pursuit. A simple plot unravels a series of sketches that are fine blends of comedy, complimented by fine performances from the cast. John Cleese is manic from the word go but he never fails to amuse. The razor sharp scripts are witty and perfectly timed. Other familiar faces in the cast include alison Steadman, Penelope Wilton and Joan Hickson. A fine British comedy classic.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. M. Farmbrough on September 24, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This is a must if you like John Cleese. Whilst the script is by theatre writer Michael Frayn, the script is so full of Cleeseisms it could have been written for him (or perhaps Cleese made some revisions). This is a contemporary of Monty Python's Meaning Of Life, and the headmaster in this film would seem to be the Comprehensive School cousin of Cleese's Headmaster in The Meaning Of Life. The supporting cast is a delight, with Joan Hickson giving a wonderfully entertaining portrayal of a dotty old lady worried about who would inherit her late mother's sherry glasses. Much of the cast had featured with Cleese in Fawlty Towers, Geoffrey Palmer, Pat Keen, Ann Way, and if you look closely you can see future Eastenders Leslie Schofield and John Bardon in small roles, and Operation Good Guys' Mark Burdis as a schoolboy. The film is at the same time a joy and a pain to watch. Just as you think poor old Mr Stimpson (Cleese's character) is getting somewhere, he is frustrated by something outside his control. Anyone who gets stressed watching Fawlty Towers ought to avoid this.
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