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Benny Hill - how much is NOT on any DVD release yet?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Steve_Smith, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. William B.

    William B. Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is that the bloopers in The Benny Hill Collection (as it's called) don't come from the show itself (some footage included him with Leslie Nielsen); and the audio-based songs, came from the ill-fated Benny Hill - The Best of CD which was initially released after Mr. Hill's death (you know that one - the cover had him crossing Abbey Road, where it was recorded; clips of sessions from that project were also included in this DVD, to my knowledge).
     
  2. William B.

    William B. Well-Known Member

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    And it's official: With the Jan. 30, 2007 release of Complete & Unadulterated: The Hill's Angels Years - Set 6: 1986-1989, the only one of Hill's works that hasn't been put out on DVD will be the Australian Down Under special. More's the pity, if you ask me . . . means I'll have to keep my Best of . . . Vol. 3 VHS (the same one later repackaged as Video Sideshow) and the syndie episodes taped off the air . . .
     
  3. AppleSpider

    AppleSpider Active Member

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    If we're real lucky, maybe if ever the Australian special gets released, it might included the uncensored versions of his February 6th 1980 and January 7th 1981 episodes, instead of what A&E released in it's Set 4 compilation.
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    What would you folks consider to the the funniest out of
    all the Benny Hill DVDs that are available.

    Is there any one (or group) that stands out amongst the others?

    Thanks!
     
  5. WillLon

    WillLon Active Member

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    What's censored about these 2 episodes on A&E Set 4 ?
    [February 6th 1980 and January 7th 1981]
     
  6. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Well-Known Member

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    Yes, do tell! I wasn't aware that anything was edited from the A&E sets (other than the ad-break captions).

    A&E leaving out the Down Under special is just tragic. Wonder if it's a right issue, or if they just forgot about it/weren't aware?

    Hopefully, if those two episodes are different from the original, televised versions, perhaps Network Video will release the correct versions on their R2-PAL releases. Same goes for the Down Under special. Perhaps that will turn up on the Network discs.
     
  7. William B.

    William B. Well-Known Member

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    To my knowledge, it involves the Hill's Angels routines - and that they've been that way for years. They may've been toyed around after their original airing, from what I gather. Sounds like the Hill version of the editings to Monty Python episode #38 (the disappearance of the "Choreographed Political Party Broadcast" opening, for instance) - the "unedited" versions of the two programs may or may not exist (I understand the original 2" quad videotapes as pre-early-to-mid-'80's no longer exist, they're only on a digitally-based medium). In that context, that the complete March 16, 1983 show with Louise English's impersonations (which had been cut for years due to Tommy Cooper's 1984 death) exists today is remarkable. (Which itself sounds similar to John Cleese's Michael Miles impression in Python episode #20.)
     
  8. William B.

    William B. Well-Known Member

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    It may have been a jurisdiction issue, as the rights to BHDU are held in Britain by FremantleMedia, parent of Thames - and the show, as the title implies, originated from Australia. Thus there may be a tangled web as to worldwide rights. A&E tried to secure its release for DVD, but as of this juncture was unsuccessful, from my understanding.
     
  9. William B.

    William B. Well-Known Member

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    In terms of the eras, I'd say the first three (covering 1969-77) are the most highly recommended. I'm glad, though, that A&E has been releasing all the shows - we see the many paths the show took over its two decades at Thames TV (that, plus enabling me to chuck the old tapes I made off of Comedy Central in the '90's). One of the real standouts, of course, is the first set, with the three B&W shows. Only two bits from which were ever circulated anywhere - the "Love Will Find A Way" sketch (Jan. 27, 1971) which was shown in sepiatone both in The Best of Benny Hill movie and in the half-hour U.S. syndie package; and the interview bit with Benny as poet "St. John Bossom" and Lesley Goldie as "Joanna Bakewell-Tart" from the Feb. 24, 1971 "Uplift With Humphrey Bumphrey" sketch, which was on the Benny Hill: Words and Music (a.k.a. This Is Benny Hill) LP. Everything else was a very pleasant surprise - and suffice to say I preferred the original B&W "Egyptian Flu" gag over the remake as featured in Set 5, just as one example.
     
  10. AppleSpider

    AppleSpider Active Member

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    Regarding the censored episodes in A&E's Set 4 of Benny Hill.
    Here is a breakdown of what has been changed:

    For the January 7th 1981 episode, only 1 shot has been removed (to my knowledge). This episode is the 1st on disc 3 of A&E's Set 4. It occurs from....
    32:52 - 33:06 - The scene in this spot in the censored version plays in slo-mo, even though the rest of the segment is normal speed. The reason for the slo-mo is because that scene is being slowed down to cover up the censored scene. Which if memory serves me correctly was a very extreme close up of a gal's rear end.

    For the February 8th 1980 episode, there are 5 censored moments. This episode is the 1st on disc 2 of A&E's Set 4. All the censored moments are from the disco club segment of "Hill's Angels' Grand Gala". In this segment, one girl is wearing a top that is completely see-through. All shots that focus on her have been replaced with shots from other pieces of this segment, as follows...
    26:35 - 26:38 - We get a slo-mo shot of a scene that comes in it's proper form at 27:42 - 27:44
    26:43 - 26:45 - We get a quick shot of Louise English that will show up at 28:37 - 28:49.
    26:57 - 27:00 - We get a video-effected shot of a scene that comes in it's proper form at 28:30 - 28:37.
    27:08 - 27:12 - We get another video-effected shot of a scene that comes in it's proper form at 27:54 - 27:59.
    27:59 - 28:06 - We get a "mirrored" imaged of Sue Upton instead of seeing the girl next to her.

    As regards this last bit of censorship, the "mirrored" Sue Upton shot, I do have a link to a clip of the proper shot. The gal
    in the see-through top mostly has her back to the camera, but she does do a very quick spin around. This shot can be seen at....
     
  11. William B.

    William B. Well-Known Member

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    Which seems to contradict producer/director Dennis Kirkland's assertions, as quoted in Mark Lewisohn's book Funny, Peculiar, that the slowing-down of that footage in question was to fill time so it clocked in at the 50-51 minute mark, claiming Mr. Hill was being "difficult" on the day that segment was taped. (The implication of his version of the editing was that Benny was to follow the two girls on the hobby horse and land on his crotch - a gag he'd done many times before, and would again in the very next show {the "Keep Young and Beautiful" section of Feb. 11, 1981}.)

    But wouldn't these "censorings" be A&E's equivalent of their use of the "censored" version of "Summarize Proust" in the Python box sets?
     
  12. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Well-Known Member

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    Might be, but doesn't really excuse it in either case. A&E should've retained the services of someone who is knowledgeable on the subject. In the case of Python at least, I'm sure several people would've donated time/services to plough through various copies of episodes to determine whether there are edits or not.

    The fact that the unedited versions (of Python at least) have been previously issued on home video (the Paramount VHSes, for instance) makes this unexcuseable, IMO.

    I am eagerly anticipating the upcoming R2 Python releases that are being worked on by fans, so hopefully, none of the episodes will be the censored ones. Plus, maybe there'll even be some decent extras this time out (including the B/W film sequences returned from Australia and the recently discovered Political Party sketch that was mentioned previously).

    As to the disco scenes, does anyone remember whether the "uncensored" version was previously issued on home video (VHS or DVD), or was the poster referring to an off-TV version he saw?
     
  13. AppleSpider

    AppleSpider Active Member

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    I only ever saw the "uncensored" version on TV in the half hour version of the Benny Hill Show.
     
  14. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Well-Known Member

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    Wow, first I've heard of this. Have a link for more info?
     
  15. wildwestfan2001

    wildwestfan2001 New Member

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    I think we need to find a way to track this Angels footage down - somebody MUST have a copy of it all somewhere... Applespider: is the youtube clip your own copy taken from the 1983 broadcast? If not, can you reveal where you found it?
     
  16. AppleSpider

    AppleSpider Active Member

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    It's from an old VHS tape I had of the half hour version of the Benny Hill Show. The station that showed it in my area used to show the whole sequence, but I guess someone must've complained, because by the time I got around to buying a VCR, whenever they showed that episode they would go to a commercial break before that sequence and then come back from the break with the sequence already in progress so that all I ever got on tape is just the bit at the end. I wish had the whole sequence. But I don't.
     
  17. wildwestfan2001

    wildwestfan2001 New Member

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    Thanks for the info Steve. That seven second cip is worth every moment!
     
  18. William B.

    William B. Well-Known Member

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    Sounds to me like that shot had been futzed around in Britain after original airing, due to the inevitable complaints - and that such "futzed" version was later used when the whole U.S. syndication package was revamped in 1987.
     
  19. wildwestfan2001

    wildwestfan2001 New Member

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    Out of interest Steve, which ITV region do you live in?
     
  20. AppleSpider

    AppleSpider Active Member

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    As far as I know the half hour version was just for the North American market, and I live in the U.S., not in the U.K. So I don't live in any ITV region.
     

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