Dinner For One (1963)


“[as Mr Winterbottom, now affected by what he has drunk so far] Here’s to one of the nicest little women… *hic!*… one of the nicest little WOMEN!… that’s ever breathed… ever breathed… [James hesitates, then looks closely at Miss Sophie for a moment] [after partly composing himself] … ever breathed. I now declare this bazaar open, and so forth. [James drinks Mr. Winterbottom’s drink and belches loudly]” – James

Number of Times Seen – 1 (12 Jun 2017)

Brief Synopsis – An elderly woman holds a festive dinner for four deceased friends while her butler has the job of impersonating each of the guests in order to make her feel good.

My Take on it – This is a film that I had never heard of before yesterday when my good friend Emma From Emma K Wall wrote about recently watching this.

The premise intrigued me and I decided to check out this film that apparently has become a mainstay in Germany and many other countries ever since its debut 54 years ago.

I loved the way that this was done because despite only being 18 minutes long, it works really well.

Freddie Finton is perfect as the Butler who slowly gets drunker and drunker as the story moves along yet continues to complete his duties.

He perfectly executes the slapstick needed for the role which is made ever funnier by the fact that he is supposed to be a prim and proper English butler.

The fact that parts of the story repeat themselves (slightly altered each time) makes it even funnier because each of the two characters manage to do things perfectly despite changing their manners a bit each tie around due to their alcoholic consumption.

I’m still a bit baffled as to why this skit has become a mainstay in Germany and numerous other countries on New Years Eve because it’s quite good, but not superb.

Nevertheless, this film is able to fulfill the promise of being both sweet and short and is definitely worth taking a look at if you’ve never seen it.

Check it out here on YouTube

Bottom Line – Amazing idea for a sketch that works really well. Frinton is hilarious as James the Butler and he is able to perfectly execute so much slapstick into his character who should be a clean-cut butler. The fact that parts of the same ideas keep getting repeated (yet altered slightly) makes this even funnier to watch because it is enacted so well by both characters. I can’t say I understand why this has become a film that is constantly shown every New Years Eve most predominantly in Germany, but nevertheless, it fulfills the promise of being both short and sweet. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Freddie Frinton didn’t originally like the sketch at all, and almost refused to do it. But after seeing it several times he agreed to adopt it and make it his own. It was recorded in Hamburg’s ‘Theater am Besenbinderhof’ on 8 July 1963. It was recorded in English as Freddie Frinton refused to do it in German due to his long-standing hate of Germany because of WW2. To this day Germany still shows the original English version in respect of Freddie Frinton (making it one of the only shows presented that way on German TV). (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy

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4 thoughts on “Dinner For One (1963)

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