Sunday, 8 June 2014

"The Full Monty" on BLU RAY – A Review Of The 1997 Film Now Reissued And Remastered Onto BLU RAY In 2013

“…Dare To Bare…” – The Full Monty On BLU RAY

It opens with battered-looking promo footage waffling on about England and the wealth and prosperity Steel has brought it. "Sheffield Is A City On The Move!" – the plumy-voiced commentator enthuses. "Millions flock here…browsing in its shops! The jewel in Yorkshire's Northern Crown!" But then the cheesy music and his 1970’s confidence fade away…

It's 25 years later - and Gary 'Gaz' Schofield and David 'Dave' Horsefall (Robert Carlyle and Mark Addy) are on their way home from an unsuccessful plunder run in the disused Steel Works Factory they were employed in ten years earlier (stealing £20 girders to pay maintenance money). They see a huge queue of local lasses excitedly waiting outside the Millthorpe Working Men’s Club to see a strip gig by a visiting male troupe – The Chippendales. These six-pack dancing lotharios will be there ‘For One Night Only’ – all buffed up, covered in Johnson’s baby oil and wearing tiny detachable red leather sarongs around their presumably mighty nether regions. "Waving his tackle at your missus!" Gaz ruminates to Dave - appalled and amazed at such a thought. But back at the Job Club (which never has any jobs) – Gaz and his mates calculate that at £10 per punter - times a thousand screaming girlies – that’s a lot of wonga that our unemployed Sex Gods don’t have stuffed down into their well manky Marks & Spencer Y-Fronts.

To make matters worse - Gaz's son Nathan (William Snape) is with his ex-wife Mandy (the lovely Emily Woof) who is shacking up with a 'decent' man - Alan. Alan has a job (Dave Hill), a home and can afford the £700 a month it costs to raise a child. Besides – although he loves him – young Nate is tired of Dad’s excuses, scams and getting by. Gaz now knows that he will need to pull out all the stops to keep his son – but he also twigs that in order to outdo the muscle-bound competition – he and his crew of Little and Large lookalikes (who call themselves HOT METAL) will have to pull out a bit more than a stop – they’ll need to get their entire kit off - and do The Full Monty. An idea is planted, secret striptease practice begins in living rooms and disused warehouses to Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" - and soon a lithesome pep is returned to their disco-dancing step…

When "The Full Monty" was released into British cinemas in 1997 – it took the country by storm. It was brutally funny, topically apt and down to earth. And despite its dark back-story about the sapping effect of unemployment – it was properly uplifting in a way that only ballsy English comedy can be. But most of all - it had what the British Government has never had - genuine heart.

So many scenes in this film are gigglesome funny  – the striptease to "Je T'Aime…Moi Non Plus" by a man about as sexy as an Orang-Utan picking his nose, discussing ways of effectively killing yourself after they’ve saved the ginger-haired wimp Lomper (Steve Hulson) from gassing himself in his clapped-out Cortina, their former Foreman and Boss Gerald (a stunning turn by Tom Wilkinson) worrying about getting a stiffy in front of 400 women like he did when he was a kid of 13 in a swimming pool full of teenage girls, the ageing black man Horse (Paul Barber) bemoaning the lack of results from a penis-pump in a red telephone box, Guy (Hugo Speer) dropping his pants and revealing his ample dangler ("The lunchbox has landed!"), the boys swaying their hips and behinds to Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff" as the dole queue shuffles forward…

But then it touches you too – cooking a curry on a hot engine head because they’re broke and hungry, the girls using the men’s toilets at the Chippendales gig when Dave’s wife Jean (Lesley Sharp) stops laughing and says of her husband "It's like he's given up…work…me…everything…" But especially when Lomper’s aging Mum dies and he plays the trumpet at her funeral accompanied by The British Steel Stockbridge Brass Band to a truly gorgeous version of "Abide With Me" (not a dry eye in the house).

Having watched the DVD before the BLU RAY – I’m thrilled to say that the picture quality is vastly improved. It’s beautiful – and that’s not something you’d say of a film like this (it was never meant to be a looker). There isn’t a scratch or a speck to be seen and the steadiness of the image and the extra oomph in the mix allows both the picture and music to punch way above its weight (a top transfer).

The Extras are pleasingly indepth – Two Commentaries – one by Director Peter Cattaneo and Actor Mark Addy- the other by Principal Producer Uberto Pasolini. There are 1998 interviews with actors Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, Hugo Speer, Paul Barber, Steve Hulson and even a very young William Snape beside himself to have gotten the child gig.  There are Deleted Scenes, nearly 15 different trailers in various publicity campaigns, a function called "Music Machine" that allows you play one or all of the songs featured in the film, Derek Malcolm interviews with Producer Uberto Pasolini and Backer Lindsay Law (of Fox Searchlight), Director Peter Cattaneo, Writer Simon Beaufoy and actor Tom Wilkinson. There’s even stuff of the aftermath of the film and its success.

AUDIO is English 5.1 DTS-HD, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian 5.1 DTS, Castellano 5.1 DTS. SUBTITLES are English For The Deaf and Hard Of Hearing, Portuguese, Japanese, Castellano, Italian, Spanish and Japanese. Coding is ABC so all regions.

Mark Addy’s character is Dave – the plumpest of the bunch and the most embarrassed about his body shape. In front of his wife – he breaks down and admits his fears – "Well look at me! Janey – who wants to see 'this' dance?" She tenderly steps up to him, puts her hands on his face and says – "Me Dave. I do."

"The Full Monty" is a fabulous film – just as funny and as moving as you remember it. It received 4 Academy Nominations in 1998 including Best Film - and now in 2013 - it finally has the format to do it proud.

I take my hat off to it…

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