The Bogie Man (TV Movie 1992) Poster

(1992 TV Movie)

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7/10
Comic to TV transitions
grahamfarquhar0421 June 2006
Now, this is a bit of an oddity. It was 15 years ago that I first saw it and despite the fact that I videotaped it - and now have what is probably the world's only copy of it - I've only watched it once, since then. So my memory is going to be a bit sketchy.

The Bogie Man started off life as a comic mini-series in which the protagonist - Francis Forbes Clunie - thinks he is Humphrey Bogart. In the comic, he also LOOKS like Bogart. So it just takes a couple of props before he really fits the part. The trademark clothing are first, and any random object he encounters that his troubled psyche can make use of just help. Then a frozen turkey becomes the Maltese Falcon - and a vanload of them become a potential treasure trove. It also helps that he escapes on New Year's Eve and his behaviour doesn't initially seem to be particularly odd in the midst of all the drunkenness and partying.

(Note to all non-Scots out there. I called that particular festival "New Year's Eve" simply so that you'd recognise it and know which one I was referring to. In fact, New Year's Eve is a pale, watered-down imitation of what we celebrate in this country - and we call it Hogmanay).

Of course, that was the comic. The BBC screenplay version of the story inevitably made some changes, though. Particularly to the plot... in that they added one. The comic was just a random series of encounters, with Clunie drawing everybody around him into his fantasies, which - truthfully - was all that was needed. All sorts of other elements were added to the TV version.

As with most TV and film adaptations, a viewer's opinion will usually be fairly dependant on how familiar with and fond of the original concept they are. Changes to stories tend not to go down all that well, even if they are improvements on the story. In this case, my own opinion is that the changes weren't really all that much of an improvement at all. Particularly the conclusion, which was just irritating.

The casting, on the whole, is variable. Robbie Coltrane doesn't look even remotely like Humphrey Bogart, but the physical similarity wasn't all that important in the context of the TV version. The sadly missed Jean Alexander was particularly welcome in her role of Clunie's temporary landlady. Also present were Craig Ferguson, Fiona Fullerton and - bizarrely - Midge Ure.

On the whole, it's worth watching. The gags were mostly hit and miss, and the dialectic ones may require at least a passing knowledge of Scottish colloquialisms. The best one involved Clunie asking for a gun - and it's fairly likely that the average Scot can anticipate how that one goes. Definitely watch it if you ever get the chance. It has - to the best of my knowledge - been transmitted only once and never been released on either video or DVD. So your chances might sadly be slim.

Oh... one addition to the story that WAS welcome was a bit of dialogue.

"His father was a heather beater - unfortunately, Heather was his mother."

Tasteless, yeah... but funny as...
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8/10
Quite Dark
dewi-griffiths23 August 2010
I did have a copy on video - long lost after several house and country moves!

Based on the Bogie Man comic series, with Clunes (Coltrane) escaping from an asylum, while the medical staff celebrate new year. He's delusional and his reality is very fluid resulting in the different circumstances and people he encounters while on the streets are woven into his reality and into a crime that needs to be resolved. At first it's random but soon involves a real crime.

If I remember Fiona Fullerton's character was Dr Olive Branch and Midge Ure was a haulage owner with a less than legal side line.

Overall I thought it worked well enough and may be worth a budget DVD release - well they'd sell one copy at least.
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