I finally got the Blu-Ray/DVD package of The Bed Sitting Room because it came up in conversation on the J G Ballard group. I have long had a very poor recorded-off-television-on-videotape-then-transferred-to-dvd copy. When the beauty of the photography was mentioned I thought ‘huh?’ and since the dual package was cheap (and meant a copy for each residence) I decided to take the (not especially deep) plunge.
And yes of course it’s Peter Cook and Dud and Spike Milligan and a terrific cast of luminaries and Richard Lester, so of interest naturally to any fans of them all. I remember reading the play written by Spike and John Atrobus in the British Library and trying not to laugh too loud as I always seem to be making too much noise there.
We watched it last night and it’s just as mad as I remember. More a meditation on the absurdity of trying to ‘keep calm and carry on’ in the face of nuclear annihilation than a real story. Some funny moments, but it’s mostly sad. It is indeed beautifully shot though, and filmed (alas) on mostly scouted locations of ugliness, pollution and trash. It’s more a curiosity that works well in bits. You could imagine structuring a lecture about post-apocalypse narratives illustrated with various scenes from it.
I am looking forward to the Braden interviews with Cook, Milligan and Lester, all 20-30 minutes each. When I’ve got a moment between translating bee charms and whatnot.
See all the overlooked gems at Todd’s roundup.