Post by Alan Hayes on Sept 14, 2020 0:06:58 GMT 12
Basing my comments here on the animated version released in 2016, which I watched for the first time today.
It's Frazer's turn to get the spotlight in this episode, and John Laurie milks it for all it's worth - one of his great performances from the early days of Dad's Army.
This is what people now refer to as a 'bottle story', one where the action takes place entirely in the main setting for the series (in this case, the church hall and Mainwaring's commandeered office that adjoins it). The episode features no location filming.
With the return of Colonel Square (last seen in Command Decision), we get some nice continuity references about their last meeting with him, and also the pay-off to something that occurred in that episode (Square believing that the currants that Mainwaring finds on his desk and eats are flies) when Square gives Mainwaring a gift - a jam jar containing some flies as he knows Mainwaring "likes them". I suspect this mystified some viewers both at the time and when the animation was released (and ditto for The Lost Episodes adaptation which contains the same joke, with no explanation). It is worth noting that there was a 7 month gap between the original BBC1 transmissions of Command Decision and A Stripe for Frazer. Maybe audiences had better memories then!
If the episode has a weakness, for me it's the way that Jones - competing with Frazer for the promotion Corporal - doesn't really get that much to do and is just carried along with the action. He is completely drowned out by Frazer's power-crazed mania.
I'd rate this one as a 7/10 mainly because it lacks the ambition of the four episodes that preceded it - particularly in terms of it settings.
Last Edit: Sept 14, 2020 0:07:32 GMT 12 by Alan Hayes
This theme with Frazer’s ”power hunger” seems to be recurring through the series. For example both ”If the cap fits” and - to some extent - ”When did you last see your money” explore the subject. There are probably more episodes but I can’t come up with any more here and now.🤔
”By Jove, that’s the sort of talk I like to hear!”
Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 15, 2020 15:03:02 GMT 12
One of the great episodes, Frazer is my favourite character and John Laurie was brilliant. Such a shame the visuals are lost. The recent remake isn't a patch on the energy of the real thing heard in the 1960's soundtrack and the radio episode.
Post by Alan Hayes on Sept 15, 2020 20:21:42 GMT 12
Having watched the animation and then - after I reviewed the episode - the Lost Episodes remake, I can only agree. They are good for filling in the gaps but they can never be replacements. I must say I've revised my opinion a little about them. I don't think they're terrible, but they do look under rehearsed. As for the casting, I think Mathew Horne is the standout actor, with Timothy West also doing well. I think they succeed because they're both trying to play the part, not the trying to play the original actor playing the part (which is nigh on impossible).
Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 17, 2020 10:02:57 GMT 12
That's exactly how I see the three remakes, good fillers but woefully under-rehearsed. They are not comfortable in the characters and it shows. Some of the actors look self conscious about it, the guy who played Frazer especially. And Pike was just a terrible casting choice. The real Dad's Army were playing themselves so did not have to fit into a mould, whereas the new cast have been poured into a mould but were not yet properly set when used.