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Privates on Parade

By Sean Axmaker

Hey, troops, let's put on a show! Befuddled, uptight John Cleese reluctantly commands the Song and Dance Unit South East Asia, a motley troupe of barnstorming performers who dress in drag to entertain the commie-fighting British jungle troops in 1948 Malaysia. Based on the satirical stage revue by Peter Nichols (Georgy Girl), the oddball mix of Carry On farce, military buffoonery, and backstage shenanigans makes an awkward transition to the screen. Behind the double entendres and broad gay caricatures (especially Dennis Quilley, who embraces his flamboyance with gusto as the unit's musical director and star performer) rumbles a murky political satire of the British Empire in decline. The idea is better than the execution, but even as a curiosity it has its moments. Don't skip the credits--a musical reprise with Cleese's only song and dance: a gangly legged goof that draws upon his time with the Department of Silly Walks.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Michael Blakemore

Stars: John Cleese, Denis Quilley, Nicola Pagett, Patrick Pearson, Michael Elphick, Joe Melia

Released: August 18, 1982

Availability: DVD VHS


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