Ooh... You Are Awful

Cliff Owen (UK, 1972, 92 min.)

Like Are You Being Served?, this film is a feature-length spin-off of a long-running television series, in this case, the Dick Emery Show, which ran from 1963 to 1981. "Ooh... You Are Awful (...but I like you)" (as seems to be the full title) features many of the characters Emery developed on the show, but doesn't translate as well to an American audience, which probably explains why it's not a PBS favorite over here. Emery, a master impressionist, plays Charlie Tully, a con man who cheats the Mafia "out of a fortune...[and] trusts his partner to stash the loot in a Swiss bank. As the number of the account is tattooed on the rear of one of his girlfriends, a cheeky undercover operation begins." The dvd box is filled with other bad puns involving "the bottom line," "butting in," and "bum rap," so we know what kind of humor we're in for.

The film itself is actually not that bad, and features a classic comedy/crime plotline that has one group of thugs trying to kill Charlie, while another group tries to keep him alive so he can claim the money...and then they can kill him. He's blissfully unaware of the second group, so he manages a series of miraculous escapes thanks to his unseen benefactors. When he's finally nabbed after withdrawing the money, he convinces the Mafia to let him work for them, as he seems so good at parting the rich from their money.

After his partner dies, Charlie Tully (Dick Emery) realizes that the bank name and account number is tattooed on four women, whom he then seeks out so he can claim the money. The first woman he finds, Jo Mason (Cheryl Kennedy), works as an announcer at Waterloo Station. Posing as a solicitor named Partridge, Emery convinces Jo that Reggie has left her 10,000, but that he needs to make a positive identification before he can give it to her. The photo booth in the station provides the right combination of privacy and documentation, so they head downstairs to take the photos.

Update August, 2008: This film, including the photobooth sequence, was remade a year later in Denmark as Mig og mafiaen.

Contributed by Brian

A Photo-Me booth, though the motto is unfamiliar.
Charlie and Jo approach the booth.
He provides her with the change, after convincing her one more time that it's the right thing to do.
As Jo closes the curtains, Charlie heads around the other side of the booth.
In order to pose properly to photograph the tattoo, Jo can't insert the coin.
Charlie puts the coin in.
Charlie, shocked and pleased at what he sees.
Waiting for the photos to develop, which will take about ten seconds.
Enter the comic relief, in the form of an uptight businessman who peeks in and expresses his disgust. "Passport photos," Charlie replies. "We're going Down Under." Cue the cymbal crash.
The photos are ready.
Dick Emery has particularly expressive teeth, used for comic appeal throughout the film.
He's got the digits.
The lascivious look, just before Jo's brother Sid Savage opens the other side of the curtain and vows to kill Charlie.