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    Derek & Clive Get the Horn
    Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 89 mins . R . PAL


    OK, the specifics are elaborated on below, but this is, without doubt, the worst example of video and audio quality since the days of silent movies - in fact, silence would have been a blessing.

    Derek and Clive (Dudley Moore and Peter Cook respectively) are the comic creations of two generally talented men, but Derek and Clive Get The Horn is a poor example of that talent. Having already carved themselves a successful niche in the world of audio comedy (that's vinyl, cassettes, radio etc to us oldies), Cook and Moore 'reunited' at Cook's behest in 1979, at Townhouse Studios in London (owned by Virgin) to record another of their successful comedy albums. The recipe was simple, so simple in fact that it's a wonder many other idiots didn't just jump on the bandwagon. Actually, many did. Cook and Moore improvised, working unscripted and without direction. They simply interacted at great length, playing off each other (in and out of character) until they had a large body of work from which to compile an album. There is absolutely no editing, no taboo subjects and no boundaries. If they wanted to say it, they did. If they wanted to make it as filthy as they possibly could, they did. Some of it was funny, and in the 1970s it was certainly groundbreaking, mainly because very few acts dared to take filth to these levels. Please understand, I am not offended by the vulgarity, the subject matter, or the incessant and aggressive language, it just fails to be funny.

    So what about Derek and Clive Get the Horn? Well it is a visual record of the recording of the last Derek and Clive album, Ad Nauseum - how apt! The result was over 20 hours of material, edited down to roughly 90 minutes for the VHS (and now DVD) release, and finally to the 40 or so minutes that makes up the album. Much of the final product on the vinyl album is not the same as the video version as it was 'refined' and re-recorded in much the same way a rock band 'works' a song up from an original idea to a finished product.

    The relationship between Cook and Moore was already strained before this recording, and you can see regular glimpses of tension, as well as moments of genuine friendship. Dudley Moore, for much of the time, appears not to want to be there, for in reality he didn't. It was Cook's pleading that got him there, but failed to keep him. With filming set for three days, Moore didn't show up after day two and day three was cancelled. The resulting film, Derek and Clive Get the Horn, was considered too awful for release as far as Moore was concerned, but Cook disagreed and the film was eventually released, even though it failed to get a classification. This straw broke the camel's back, and Cook and Moore never performed as Derek and Clive again.

    Like most Derek and Clive, this is not something you'd want your mother or grandmother to see or hear, or your grandfather either for that matter. It is as crude as anything you will have heard, and back in the 1970s this type of humour worked partly because few others dared to be so blue. There are blowup dolls, strippers, drugs and booze aplenty. However, in 2002 much of the humour is dated, obviously forced, and feels like it pushed boundaries purely for shock value. I have my doubts how well it worked even then, and am convinced it won't work today either. Having said that, Derek and Clive were quite successful, and even Derek and Clive Get the Horn has its admirers. Just how many new admirers this will win is less certain, but I'd be interested to hear from any.

    Personally, I wouldn't even rate this worthy of using as a beer coaster.


    Wow, this is bad. Even the main menu screams "low budget!". It is a minimally coloured still frame with one option - 'play'. From the first nanosecond it is obvious that this is not a quality release. The hiss is almost deafening, and the picture is appalling. There is no other word for it. Presented in full frame, there is not one thing I can find to recommend it. Most of the problems are inherent in the original film, as it was shot without studio lighting and looks like it was filmed in a dungeon or a prison cell. The colours are more washed out than an old man's underpants, to a point where I frequently wondered if it was black and white. Detail is shocking and so bad at times, it is like looking into a dark room. Shadows abound, and there is no detail there at all. Frequently there are entire areas where the screen is black (black? Grey more like - there is no black). There is also constant ghosting, like watching black and white television in the 1960s, with a huge concrete building between your house and the station transmitter.

    Film artefacts are the most numerous I have ever seen. In fact there is more dirt, spots, hairs, scratches, flashes of white, static marks, jumps, black blobs, huge white blobs, black lines, white lines, flecks, and sparkles in this one release than every other release I have seen combined. Am I exaggerating? - unfortunately, no! I can't recall ever seeing a VHS tape this bad. I wonder if the source copy for this DVD has been found in someone's garage, and simply whacked on the "DVD-making machine" sight unseen, because I can't believe that quality this bad would prompt anyone to think, "Geez, this should be on DVD."

    OK, enough of that, what about the audio? The only option is Dolby Digital 1.0. It is generally clear enough and audio synch is fine, but that's where the positives finish. There is a very noticeable background hiss running through the whole thing, and some crackling and distortion supplement this as Dudley Moore displays his considerable talent at the piano. His lyrics and singing voice however, is another thing altogether.

    There is nothing else that deserves comment. The other speakers and subwoofer are not utilised, and that is no loss. This is 95% dialogue anyway. There is no layer change, but if there was I am sure it would have been placed mid-sentence, just to sink this DVD to an even deeper all-time low.

    I can summarise this release in one word, and perhaps the only four-letter word that Derek and Clive don't seem to use - crap! There is nothing here to warrant a recommendation; not the audio or video transfer, not for the (lack of) humourous content, nor even as an historical snapshot of the times. It is 88 minutes of the tedious ramblings of one drunken alcoholic (fresh out of rehab as it happened), and a rising Hollywood star who didn't really want to be there. It's a wonder Russell Mulcahy ever directed again after this. As already mentioned, Derek and Clive had much success, but if anyone can truly say they found this hilarious, then I'll concede that maybe, just maybe, it is me that needs to reassess what I have always considered funny. Can't see it happening, myself.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1579
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  •   And I quote...
    "Not only will you want your money back, you'll demand compensation."
    - Terry Kemp
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
    • TV:
          TEAC CT-F803 80cm Super Flat Screen
    • Receiver:
          Pioneer VSX-D409
    • Speakers:
    • Centre Speaker:
    • Surrounds:
    • Subwoofer:
          Sherwood SP 210W
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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