Making its Blu-ray debut with a glorious remastering, John Cleese stars in classic British comedy Clockwise. Meet Brain Stimpson (Cleese), an uptight headmaster of a comprehensive school who prizes punctuality and good timekeeping above all. Rewarded for his efficiency, Brian is given an award and invited to give a speech at a prestigious conference.
However, en route to said Headmasters conferences, all manner of mishaps befoul Brain in his attempt to get there on time and in one piece. Trains are missed, speeches are lost, the police get involved, and Brain’s marriage might not survive the whole ordeal. Uptight, strict, prone to rants, frequently unstable, words to that effect could be used to describe many of Cleese’s creations, and Stimpson is no exception. Here on full Basil Fawlty mode, Cleese is in his element in this often overlooked gem. Brian has worked hard to mend the previously disorganised ways of his youth, and as such, all the spontaneity (and joy) from his life has gone.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this film on TV growing up in the 90s; this was when HD was little more than a dream. I’ve not seen Clockwise in more than a decade, and full credit to the remastering process, it looks marvelous. While it might not be deemed an essential film to be remastered, I’ve frequently said ALL movies should get a full HD upgrade so they can live on as they were intended to be seen.
In true British comedy form, there is an undercurrent of misanthropy that is mined for humour, not drama. Even the ending doesn’t submit to cliche and offer a neat and happy ending, just like life, not everything can be resolved in 90 minutes. Ably supported by Penelope Wilton and Alison Steadman, Clockwise is a frequently funny road-trip comedy with Cleese doing what he does best.
The extra features are a little thin, with the lone new addition being an interview with writer Michael Fraynbut. However, the glorious remastering more than makes up for it. Clockwise is out now on Blu-ray.