Imagine my joy when purchasing the DVD/Blu-Ray release of the film Lunch Hour to find this cult classic gem included as a bonus feature – the obvious link is that both have the same director – James Hill – (not, presumably, the beardwonderful former television football pundit). The availability of Lunch Hour on Blu-Ray baffled me – but the inclusion of The Home- Made Car and two other early and equally rare James Hill colour films, Skyhook and Giuseppina, made this release make sense. The Home Made Car is about a young, mechanically minded car enthusiast who buys a scrap bull-nosed Morris from a junk yard at an exorbitant price and proceeds to restore it to concours standard in the unbelievable comfort of his home garage with the bare minimum of tools in less than 28 minutes; (imagine Wheeler Dealers but with a little less bullshit), limited knowledge; the distraction of the girl next door (Penelope Mortimer, in a selection of delightful flared skirts and dresses, including a gorgeous pleated skirt and heels, setting off for work at, conveniently, and far too parochially, the office of the local BP garage); her kid sister who is a dead shot with a water pistol, and, crucially, the assistance of the proprietor of same local BP filling station – a skilled mechanic, blacksmith and artisan. I say crucially because the film was commissioned by British Petroleum (aka Bullshit Promotions) to promote their image globally (that's why nobody speaks a word in this film). What it actually ended up becoming was a "trade test transmission" used by the BBC to promote the advent of colour television transmissions; and it was screened as such on countless occasions until its final transmission ((as legend would appear to have it) on 23rd August 1973)). Technically, that argument falls flat, because colour, and our perception of it, is subjective not objective – hence its replacement with what we now know and has entered into yet more legend as "Test Card F" (we should not let our imaginations run riot too extensively on what the "F" stood for) – an attractive pre-pubescent girl engaged in what must surely be a fruitless game of noughts and crosses with a potentially psychopathically frightening stuffed toy surrounded by a selection of numbers and geometric lines and five shades of grey presumably intended to assist knob-twiddlers in their twiddling to made medeiaval colour tellies perform to the best of their limited abilities. This film thus entered the landscape of legend - helped by the fact that the BBC never announced beforehand when the film was to be shown – one therefore had to sit in front of a TV set tuned to BBC2 for hours on end (during the daytime, when you should be either at WORK or at SCHOOL) (thus ensuring a bond between the potential viewer and this film's hero) and hope this one got shown. Thusly, I don't think I ever saw it from beginning to end. Recordings of this film were rarer than rocking horse urine – I mean – who - apart from Bob Monkhouse and Bob Crane - owned a video recorder in 1973? Needless to say our hero wins his babe – her former beau failing the "door service" test (although being in possession of the far more valuable and much prettier car – an Austin Healey 3000). Watch this film and marvel at the street our hero lives on – it's wider than the Heathrow to M4 section of the M25, but with considerably fewer parked cars (three, as I recall) and only the errant rag and bone gentleman with his hayburner and cart to constitute "traffic". My only quibble with this film is why hasn't our hero got to get up in the morning and go to work like everyone else and can spend hours working on his car? If he is unemployed and receiving benefits, then his exploits, however noble or industrious, should not be celebrated or glamourized, let alone allow him to become the cult star of a hitherto unobtainable movie. We can only hope that, at the conclusion, our hero, his work on his car completed, may now join the rest of the majority of the human race in a mundane and underpaid job for which he will receive the minimum reward for the maximum labour, but, as we must surely deduce, he cannot be anything other than a newly qualified school teacher: we can tell that on his first day of term his fantastic car will be parked alongside the headmaster's Jaguar Mk 2 and the games teacher's Austin A30 and that these will be the only vehicles in the school's massive car park. We also know that when he addresses his first class the little sister of next door's big girlfriend will be sitting in the middle of the back row smirking at him - this film really is that good – and really that good at foretelling the future.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this