DOC’S JOURNEY INTO HAMMER FILMS #119: HOLIDAY ON THE BUSES [1973]

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Directed by:
Written by: ,
Starring: , , ,

 

UK

AVAILABLE ON DVD

RUNNING TIME: 85 mins

REVIEWED BY: Dr Lener, Official HCF Critic

 

Sacked by the bus company for crashing two buses, Stan and Jack get jobs as drivers ferrying punters to and from a holiday camp in Wales, only to find that their old nemesis Blakey is there as the chief security guard, having also lost his previous job as inspector because of the continual slacking of Stan and Jack. Stan invites his family there, but this causes a series of disasters, while Stan and Jack still can’t stop chasing women half their age….

The third and last of Hammer’s critically derided films based on the TV series On The Buses, Holiday On The Buses is also by far the least. It certainly has its funny moments – I loved Stan accidently blowing up the drains when he throws a cigarette into the toilet, and the same toilet being discovered by two inebriated guys returning from an evening out who think that the toilet had been kindly put there in case anyone needed a wee – but then again my childish mind tends to find toilets amusing anyway, so shoot me. There’s also more bedroom farce than before, which I usually enjoy. But far more time is now spent showing our two reprobates trying to get laid, which means that there’s less variety of comical situations, and I have to that this time I was more on the side of Blakey in his battles with Stan and Jack. It’s nice to see a bit more of this terrific comic character, and he’s given a bit of pathos in this one, but that’s the problem, I felt so sorry for him that I really didn’t like the other two at all, especially when Jack sleeps with the nurse he’s engaged to despite Bob Grant’s teeth being probably more horrifying than anything in the last two horror movies Hammer made. After all, Blakey was only doing his job when he used to be an inspector, trying to get the two layabouts to actually do their job properly. Reg’s sister Olive is also treated really meanly by the script, far more so than before. Her husband doesn’t seem to want her just because she’s supposedly ‘ugly’, and the slow camera pan up her bikini clad body, intended to show that she’s not a ‘looker’, leaves a bad taste.

Every single female in the film appears to be ‘up for it’, even Reg’s mother who, in a slightly sweet subplot, ‘scores’ with an old Irish charmer. It’s all a bit limited, like a later Carry On film with a lesser cast, though little Arthur is now old enough to spray a room with ink, while the characters of Wally and Lil Briggs are from Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney’s other hit L.W.T. sitcom Romany Jones. The ‘Pontins’ name is in nearly every shot, though the greater number of outdoor scenes in a film that was obviously filmed during the summer [as opposed to the winter like the previous two films] makes for a more appealing watch visually. I certainly didn’t hate Holiday On The Buses, which like its predecessors is a rather quaint relic [though there’s a quick flash of boobs in this one when a woman’s top falls off] of a bygone age unless you really are easily offended, and hows how stupidly politically correct we’ve become now [it would never get made today]. But it is extremely repetitious and often has a mean spirited nature, two things which hamper its effectiveness as a simple, old fashioned comedy.

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

Dr Lenera
About Dr Lenera 2266 Articles
I'm a huge film fan and will watch pretty much any type of film, from Martial Arts to Westerns, from Romances [though I don't really like Romcoms!]] to Historical Epics. Though I most certainly 'have a life', I tend to go to the cinema twice a week! However,ever since I was a kid, sneaking downstairs when my parents had gone to bed to watch old Universal and Hammer horror movies, I've always been especially fascinated by horror, and though I enjoy all types of horror films, those Golden Oldies with people like Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee probably remain my favourites. That's not to say I don't enjoy a bit of blood and gore every now and again though, and am also a huge fan of Italian horror, I just love the style.

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