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Wodehouse Playhouse: Complete Collection
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Among the kooky stories: Romance between a pair of ethereal young poets are threatened by a family curse -- which causes an urge to hunt animals. A stammering Mulliner struggles to overcome his "slight hesitance," so he can tell the girl he loves that he loves her. Mischievous Bobbie Wickham spins a web of lies to get rid of a dorky suitor. A young interior decorator finds that the only thing standing between him and his beloved is her very imposing mother... unless he can use her mystery novel against her, and several other stories of love, misunderstandings, and shooting elderly men with airguns.
If the author himself introduces each first-season episode, you can tell that it's a solid adaptation. And P.G. Wodehouse did introduce every episode from the first season -- with a big smile. Not only are the stories very funny, but also very faithful to the original stories.
The writing borders on gut-splittingly funny. "You will marry me, won't you?" "Yes of course I will, Mr... I'm sorry, I didn't catch the name." Not the mention the bloodthirsty poem that an enspelled animal lover writes: "When cares attack and life seems black/how sweet it is to pot a yak..." Yet despite all the absurdity, it's all done with a more or less straight face -- in Wodehouse's world, this is all perfectly normal.Read more ›
The television screen naturally opened up new storytelling possibilities not available in prose. For instance, "Big Business" was able to use a recording of Paul Robeson singing "Ol' Man River" when Reginald Mulliner is supposed to have been sad enough to express it with the proper emotion, adding a new layer of comedy to what could only be hinted at in the original story. However, even when elaborating on the original, David Climie's scripts frequently used dialogue and scenes directly from the stories, and managed to create a near-seamless whole.
The first two series of Wodehouse Playhouse, of seven episodes in 1975, and another six in 1976, starred the husband-and-wife team of Pauline Collins and John Alderton, but the final series of seven episodes in 1978 featured only Alderton. Some in the British audience quibbled with the casting as reflecting the wrong accents and class sensibilities, but American audiences were oblivious to such details. There was overacting in many of the episodes, however, and Collins and especially Alderton played different types of roles, which, while commendable as an acting challenge, robbed the series of continuity in character types. His often secondary part outshined the ostensible romantic lead.Read more ›
"Playhouse" here is used in the old sense to mean minimal sets and staging, with an ensemble troupe consisting primarily of John Alderton and Pauline Collins, both known from "Upstairs, Downstairs", an early presentation in the U.S. on "Masterpiece Theater", as well as in numerous British shows. Both are also known to SF fans also, Alderton from the cult film Zardoz, and Collins from Dr. Who.
There have been numerous attempts to bring Wodehouse to the big screen, to radio, and in a limited way, to TV, many of which are not generally known in the states. When this series came out, however, Wodehouse was over 90 years of age. He gave the Playhouse his stamp of approval, and makes a brief cameo with voiceover at the beginning of each thirty minute show. Each DVD contains three shows, and they are available in three sets of two slipcased DVDs each, as well as in this complete collection.
What a longtime Wodehouse reader would want to know, of course, is how the shows stack up to the books. I tend to say, some better than others. "Anselm Gets His Chance", from set two (and included in this collection), is to my mind a small masterpiece. Others sent me back to the books to reread the stories, which, after all, might be the whole idea.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wodehouse classics from the 70's BBC. They just don't make them like this anymore. Excellent.Published 6 months ago by hawkeye
PG Wodehouse fans are sure to love this collection so I'll address this review primarily to those unfamiliar with Wodehouse. Read morePublished 7 months ago by N. Ellis
This collection was bought as a gift. I have had no feedback from the person who received it..Published 8 months ago by Arch Stanton
I cannot understand why American comedy always pales when compared to the Brits. Well, yes I can... we don't care about language, nuance, and style. Nor wit! Read morePublished 12 months ago by FLimner
When good actors have good starting material, it isn't too surprising that a lot of nice things happen. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Douglas H. Baxter