"Can watch again and again and again"
"One of the few comedy DVDs worth owning - hilarious,
"A 100% Classic English Comedy"
The complete twelve episodes plus interviews with
Fawlty Towers - Series 1 and 2
Often hailed as the greatest ever British sitcom, Fawlty
Towers is closer to the more elaborate tradition of farce. Comprising
two series made in 1975 and 1979, the total of just 12 episodes were
painstakingly constructed by writers John Cleese and Connie Booth. Unlike
most British farce, however, Fawlty Towers deals with the big themes -
death, psychology, xenophobia and even sex-o-phobia (Basil's
marriage to Sybil is the most sterile ever depicted in a sitcom). Basil's
contempt for his guests is, of course, legendary. It takes little from
patrons to unleash his sledgehammer sarcasm: "Rosewood, mahogany, teak?
Sorry, I was wondering what you'd like your breakfast tray made out of",
he sneers at a guest who dares to request breakfast in bed. Like every
Englishman, he wants to be king of his own castle and resents having to
take in lodgers to maintain the place, especially the open-necked younger
generation, whom he regards as sub-human. Mostly, though, Fawlty
Towers is comedy of exasperation - who can forget the "damn good
thrashing" Basil gives his clapped-out car, or the nervous breakdowns he
almost suffers trying to make himself understood to Manuel? It's also
comedy of embarrassment. The very fear of losing his dignity generally
leads Basil into the most spectacularly undignified of predicaments. His
inevitable misery is our sheer delight.
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