February 24, 2017


The Bed Sitting Room – 1969 | 90 mins | Comedy | Colour


Plot Synopsis

The Bed Sitting Room

The adapted play by Spike Milligan and John Antrobus serves as an ideal springboard for this offbeat anti-war film by Richard Lester which, miraculously, manages to convey its grim message with surreal humour. The episodic sketches catches glimpses and comments of the 20-odd holocaust survivors of a London shredded by an A-bomb as they dig out of their holes to try and cope with the grey new world before they, too, become animals. In the manner of vaude blackouts, they soon meld into a general mosaic of stiff-upper-lip acceptance of new conditions, some fizzlers but others very amusing. Despite its undoubted originality, The Bed Sitting Room failed to transfer successfully from stage to screen and flopped at the box-office.

Arthur Lowe turning into a parrot, Cook and Moore are side-splittingly funny as government bureaucrats, Mona Washbourne becoming a chest of drawers and Rita Tushingham announcing that she’s 17 months pregnant, it’s clear that this is a most bizarre romp. Ralph Richardson is superb in a relatively brief stint as the die-hard traditionalist who eventually ‘becomes’ the title’s bed-sitting room, but all in a carefully-chosen roster of British character thespians who contribute stellar bits in almost impossibly difficult roles.

Production Team

Richard Lester: Director
David Watkin: Cinematography
John Victor-Smith: Film Editing
Ken Thorne: Original Music
Richard Lester: Producer
Oscar Lewenstein: Producer
Assheton Gorton: Production Design
Spike Milligan: Script
Charles Wood: Script
John Antrobus: Script
Gerry Humphreys: Sound Department


Rita Tushingham: Penelope
Ralph Richardson: Lord Fortnum of Alamein
Peter Cook: Inspector
Harry Secombe: Shelter Man
Dudley Moore: Sergeant
Spike Milligan: Mate
Michael Hordern: Bules Martin
Roy Kinnear: Plastic mac man
Jimmy Edwards: Nigel
Richard Warwick: Allan
Arthur Lowe: Father
Mona Washbourne: Mother
Ronald Fraser: The Army
Dandy Nichols: Mrs Ethel Shroake
Frank Thornton: The BBC
Marty Feldman: Nurse Arthur

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