By Donald Liebenson
Pleasures do not come any guiltier than The Benny Hill Show. If
Austin Powers had a favorite TV show, this would definitely be it, with
its "yeah, baby" lascivious grins, "oh, behave" bawdy
bits, and cheeky compromising positions, all set to the frolicsome
"Yakety Sax" by Boots Randolph. This two-DVD set contains four
shagadelic compilations previously released on VHS: Benny Hill's One
Night Video Stand, Benny Hill's Video Spotlight, Benny
Hill's Video Follies, and Benny Hill's Video Spotlight. The
stateside success of Monty Python's Flying Circus paved the way for
the introduction here of Hill, whose mostly visual humor, while every bit
as silly, was born not of Cambridge university, but of burlesque and the
music hall. For Hill, the world is divided into the cuckolded husband and
the playboy on the make, the goosed and the gooser. Setting feminism back
even further into the Stone Age are Hill's Angels, the scantily clad
objects of lust--among them, Frasier's Jane Leeves (check out the
"Gay Caballero" musical number that opens disc two). Depending
on your place on the evolutionary ladder, this is either timelessly funny
or outrageously dated. Will it make you horny, baby? Perhaps not, but it
will make you laugh, often in spite of yourself.
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Although I love all the Benny Hill episodes, I really love the episode "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?". He plays the roles of both Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Even if you haven't seen the movie, it is hilarious, the way they fight with each other. I'm sorry that he's not here, but he is still making us laugh. Nobody did that type of comedy better. He was great!
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