Rising Damp (1980) Movie Review

Rising Damp (1980)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Leonard Rossiter and Christopher Strauli in Rising Damp (1980)

Didn't Rise for Me

Rigsby (Leonard Rossiter - Oliver!) is not only a crotchety landlord but a devious one as well, always with a way of scamming his tenants. That is exactly what he does when John (Christopher Strauli), an art student, gives him a deposit on a room thinking he will have it all to himself only to discover he will be sharing with Philip (Don Warrington), a sportsman. Rigsby also has a thing for another of his tenants, Miss Jones (Frances de la Tour - Private Peaceful), but she is a lot more interested in the attention of both John and Philip. But Miss Jones also has to deal with the attention of Charles Seymour (Denholm Elliott - Robin and Marian) who isn't really interested in her but is a conman with an eye on her money.

I reckon I was too young for "Rising Damp" when the sitcom aired, or maybe it was because back then there was only one TV in the house and I had to watch what ever my parents liked and I don't remember them watching "Rising Damp" either. I mention all this because whilst I enjoy watching the various movie spin-offs which came from the British sitcoms of the 70s "Rising Damp" the movie failed to do that much for me.

Don Warrington and Frances de la Tour in Rising Damp (1980)

Now there are a few things worth knowing about "Rising Damp" the movie; one of which is that Richard Beckinsale, one of the original stars of the sitcom, died before the movie was made and so Christopher Strauli was brought in, not to play Beckinsale's character but to play a similar one. The other thing worth knowing is that Leonard Rossiter wasn't overly impressed with the original script and instead they repurposed various parts of the sitcom to create this movie. I reckon the second of those two things might explain why fans of the sitcom have mixed feelings with some loving it and others feeling like it was just a watered down version of the sitcom. For me it is a case of "Rising Damp" being entertaining in parts thanks to some of the jokes but over stays its welcome as I didn't have that connection to it.

What this all boils down to is that "Rising Damp" was to be frank nothing special for me and became a little boring after a while due to it feeling like ideas for sketches squeezed together. But I can understand why those who watched and enjoyed the original sitcom probably enjoyed this when it came out and might still do.