A Private Function

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A Private Function
A Private Function.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Malcolm Mowbray
Produced by George Harrison
Denis O'Brien
Mark Shivas
Written by Alan Bennett
Malcolm Mowbray
Starring
Music by John Du Prez
Cinematography Tony Pierce-Roberts
Edited by Barrie Vince
Production
company
Release date
  • November 1984 (1984-11)
Running time
94 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £1.2million
Box office $2,527,088 [1]

A Private Function is a 1984 British comedy film starring Michael Palin and Maggie Smith. The film was predominantly filmed in Ilkley, Ben Rhydding, and Barnoldswick, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. [2] The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival. [3]

Comedy is a genre of film in which the main emphasis is on humour. These films are designed to make the audience laugh through amusement and most often work by exaggerating characteristics for humorous effect. Films in this style traditionally have a happy ending. One of the oldest genres in film, some of the very first silent movies were comedies, as slapstick comedy often relies on visual depictions, without requiring sound. When sound films became more prevalent during the 1920s, comedy films took another swing, as laughter could result from burlesque situations but also dialogue.

Michael Palin English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter

Sir Michael Edward Palin, is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter. He was a member of the comedy group Monty Python. Since 1980 he has made a number of travel documentaries.

Maggie Smith English actress

Dame Margaret Natalie Smith is an English actress. She has had an extensive, varied career on stage, film, and television, spanning over 67 years. Smith has appeared in over 50 films, and is one of Britain's most recognizable actresses. A prominent figure in British culture for six decades, she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990 for services to the performing arts, and received the Companion of Honour from the Queen in 2014 for services to drama.

Contents

Synopsis

In a small Northern English town in 1947 the citizens endure continuing food rationing. Some local businessmen want to hold a party to celebrate the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip and illegally decide to raise a pig for that occasion. However, the pig gets stolen by Gilbert Chilvers (Michael Palin), who was encouraged to do so by his wife Joyce (Maggie Smith). Meanwhile a food inspector is determined to stop activities circumventing the food rationing.

Pig genus of even-toed ungulates

A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the even-toed ungulate family Suidae. Pigs include the domestic pig and its ancestor, the common Eurasian wild boar, along with other species. Related creatures outside the genus include the peccary, the babirusa, and the warthog. Pigs, like all suids, are native to the Eurasian and African continents. Juvenile pigs are known as piglets. Pigs are highly social and intelligent animals.

Cast

Denholm Elliott British actor

Denholm Mitchell Elliott, was an English actor, with more than 120 film and television credits. Some of his well-known roles include the abortionist in Alfie (1966), Marcus Brody in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Coleman in Trading Places (1983), and Mr. Emerson in A Room with a View (1985).

Richard Griffiths British actor

Richard Thomas Griffiths was an English actor of film, television, and stage. He received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Featured Actor and the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, all for his role in The History Boys. For the 2006 film adaptation, Griffiths was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Tony Haygarth English television, film and theatre actor

George Anthony David Haygarth was an English television, film and theatre actor.

Production

Three pigs were used in the filming of A Private Function, all named Betty. Producer Mark Shivas was advised by Intellectual Animals UK that the pigs used should be female and six months old so as to not be too large or aggressive. However, the pigs were "unpredictable and often quite dangerous". During filming of one of the kitchen scenes, Maggie Smith was hemmed in by one of the pigs and needed to vault over the back of it in order to escape. [4]

Mark Shivas was a British television producer, film producer and executive.

Awards

The film won three BAFTA Film Awards: best actress for Maggie Smith, best supporting actress for Liz Smith and best supporting actor for Denholm Elliott. It was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay (Alan Bennett) and Best Film.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image in the United Kingdom. In addition to its annual awards ceremonies, BAFTA has an international programme of learning events and initiatives offering access to talent through workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Alan Bennett English actor, author

Alan Bennett is an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, and author. He was born in Leeds and attended Oxford University, where he studied history and performed with the Oxford Revue. He stayed to teach and research medieval history at the university for several years. His collaboration as writer and performer with Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook in the satirical revue Beyond the Fringe at the 1960 Edinburgh Festival brought him instant fame. He gave up academia, and turned to writing full-time, his first stage play Forty Years On being produced in 1968.

Musical adaptation

A musical based on the film opened in the West End in April 2011, under the new title Betty Blue Eyes . It was produced by Cameron Mackintosh and ran for several months at the Novello Theatre. It starred Reece Shearsmith (of The League of Gentlemen fame) as Gilbert, and actress Sarah Lancashire as Joyce. [5]

West End theatre term for mainstream professional theatre staged in and near the West End of London

West End theatre is a common term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of "Theatreland" in and near the West End of London. Along with New York City's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. Seeing a West End show is a common tourist activity in London.

<i>Betty Blue Eyes</i> musical

Betty Blue Eyes is a 2011 stage musical comedy based on the 1984 film A Private Function, and features music by George Stiles, with lyrics by Anthony Drewe. The book was written for the stage by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, adapted from Alan Bennett's original screenplay.

Cameron Mackintosh British theatre and musical producer

Sir Cameron Anthony Mackintosh is a British theatrical producer and theatre owner notable for his association with many commercially successful musicals. At the height of his success in 1990, he was described as being "the most successful, influential and powerful theatrical producer in the world" by the New York Times. He is the producer of shows such as Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, Miss Saigon,Cats, and Hamilton.

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References

  1. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=privatefunction.htm
  2. Earnshaw, Tony; Jim Moran. Made in Yorkshire (PDF). Guerilla Books. ISBN   978-0-9554943-1-4.
  3. "Festival de Cannes: Quilombo". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
  4. Clarke, Roger (25 April 2008). "Story Of The Scene: 'A Private Function', Malcolm Mowbray, 1984". The Independent.
  5. Dominic Cavendish, Alan Bennett's 'A Private Function' hits the stage, The Telegraph, 13 March 2011