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    The Very Best of Rising Damp
    Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 120 mins . G . PAL

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    Contract

    A popular British sitcom from the mid ‘70s, Rising Damp has perhaps not enjoyed the long-standing reputation here in Australia that it has in its native. England. Created and written by Eric Chappell, who subsequently wrote many other TV series, it centres around the rather unpleasant and immoral landlord Rupert Rigsby, a decidedly mean and arrogant character who makes life in a low-rent bedsit rather uncomfortable for his tenants - Miss Jones (whom he relentlessly tries to seduce), Alan Moore (the late Richard Beckinsale, best known here for his work on classic British comedy series Porridge), and Philip Smith.

    This “best-of” DVD supplies five episodes out of the 27 that were originally made, and they’re of varying vintage.

    While considered a bona fide classic by many, this reviewer didn’t click with the show especially - comedy is, of course, highly subjective, and while one person may sit in front of this disc and not even raise a mild smirk let alone laugh, there are many, many people for whom this show has stood the test of time well. It’s wonderful to see television of this vintage being released on DVD - now, if only we could see a local release of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus box set, or some episodes of another love-it-or-hate-it TV comedy of the same vintage, The Goodies...

    The episodes of Rising Damp included on this disc are, in order of age and appearance: Charisma, A Perfect Gentleman, For The Man Who Has Everything, Stage Struck and “Come On In, The Water’s Lovely”. The episodes can be played all at once, or separately if desired.

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    Contract

    It bears mentioning that this disc contains material shot in a TV studio on vintage colour videotape (the earlier episodes here were made before Australia even HAD colour television!) and given the age of the source material, the disc looks surprisingly good. Of course, the later episodes fare much better, but the slight greenish tinge to it all (probably deliberate) and occasional visible tape damage might seem off-putting to those used to today’s crisp digital video productions. Nevertheless, this is as good as it’s going to get when it comes to this particular show.

    Sound is, of course, mono - and rather hissy mono at that, though once again this does improve marginally in later episodes.

    There are no subtitles on this disc - and annoyingly, no chapter stops within the episodes, either.


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  •   And I quote...
    "It’s wonderful to see television of this vintage being released on DVD..."
    - Anthony Horan
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS300
    • TV:
          Panasonic - The One
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-AV1020
    • Speakers:
          Klipsch Tangent 500
    • Surrounds:
          Jamo
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Monster s-video
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