Up Pompeii
Dir: Bob Kellett
Star: Frankie Howerd, Michael Hordern, Lance Percival, Julie Ege
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 1971
Format: Video

"Woe, Woe, Woe, and thrice woe. Citizens of Pompeii hear me, repent your ways or no good will come of this review."

Don't listen to her that 's Cassandra, she's embittered I tell you. Oh yes, embittered. Now where was I, oh yes, the prologue. What? Who am I? I'm sorry how rude, I'm Lurcio slave of the Roman empire. Well I say the roman empire, I really mean my master Ludicus Sextus, all Sex and no tus. He's an important man I tell you, yes important. He's a senator here in Pompeii. What with him, the visit of the Emperor Nero, and the orgies I barely get a moment on my own. "Lurcio, have you found my husbands scroll, I think he dropped here in the bed?" That's my mistress Ammonia. No, don't get me wrong when I say mistress, I don't mean mistress. I mean I provide services for her. Not like that! Well draw your own conclusions. Scrolls! I don't need to tell you what trouble these cause. What, I do? This is the story of me finding a scroll belonging to my master, at least that's what I thought is was. As it turns out it had been mixed up (thanks to my ass. No, stop it) with a scroll detailing Pro-consul Prosperous Maximusís plot to assassinate the Emperor Nero. I can't tell you how heroic I was, what with the vendetta of Maximusís sidekick Bilious and his guards, my prison escape, becoming the Emperors champion, assassinations, and volcanic eruptions. What do you mean you don't believe me? Well suit yourselves.

I'm sorry about that I'm afraid that characters from the film took over the review there for a moment. Normal service has now been resumed. Up Pompeii is one of those seventies British sex comedies, it can be placed somewhere between the Carry on films and the Confessions movies.

Around this time there was a spate of successful comedy series that were expanded to a full feature films (Bless this house, George and Mildred, On the Buses, etc.). This movie follows this trend, the story is longer, the sets are bigger, and the supporting cast has been replaced with film actors. The method of cashing in on established shows has both advantages and drawbacks. The advantages include the popularity of the existing series, and the familiarity of the cast with the characters. The drawback are that often the films come across as long episodes, and that they still look quite cheap.

"Lurico did you hear that? He said that I was cheap." I know young master, but I wouldn't worry about it. You haven't met this one have you? This is Nausius the masters son, a strange boy. Oh yes, well you see he's, how shall I put this, he's unsullied. Trust me he wouldn't know a sully if he fell over it, let alone what to do with it.

Up Pompeii does look cheap, but really it doesn't matter that much. The fact that the film is entirely studio bound leads to small sets and obvious backdrops, however rather than detract from the story jokes are made about it. The script contains a fine selection of innuendo and cheap gags, but they work mainly due to the quality cast. Another difference between the TV and the cinema is the acceptable level of nudity, and here there is plenty of flesh on show.

Ooh, I do love that." Yes, that's the masters daughter, Erotica. So chased.... and so easily caught. She's just been with one of her X lovers, X being the roman numeral for ten.

As mentioned the cast are key to this film, and Frankie Howard who plays Lurcio especially. Frankie Howerd was one of those great British comedy actors (the likes of which we seem to be sadly lacking). "Flattery will get you nowhere". He could make you laugh just with a well placed "ooh", and here he is in top form. Added to this a great supporting cast including Michael Hordern, Lance Percival, Julie Ege and cameos from the likes of Bernard Bresslaw, Roy Hudd, Derek Griffiths, and you have a cast who are able to ring the best comedy out of each of the situations in the film.

This film is not clever, this is smutty juvenile humour. However it is smutty juvenile humour of the highest quality. It may not win any awards, but it is funny. It harks back to a day when this form of comedy could be done with out gross out gags, or swearing (Farrelly brothers take note). If you like the Carry on films you will enjoy this, or try the even better sequel Up the Chastity Belt. It just goes to show we just don't make them like we used to.

Oh, he does go on, doesn't he. I though he would never shut up. Now were was I, yes, the prologue. What? What do you mean its the end of the review? I haven't finished yet. Ah well, as I always say if you've got to go, you've got to go but if you've enjoyed it tell a friend.

Pompeii, Salute, naughty, naughty, Up Pompeii.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home