For the Love of Ada Review
Just as Hammer found success with On the Buses’ bug screen outing (famously their biggest money spinner), so too horror rivals Tigon dipped their toe into the sitcom spin-off market with For the Love of Ada. Largely forgotten now, the series focussed on ageing newlyweds Irene Handl and “poxy old Yorkshire pudding” Wilfred Pickles with sub-plots being provided by her son, Jack Smethurst, and his wife (Barbara Mitchell) and their newborn son.
A flimsy set-up then and one which is undoubtedly going to be stretched to the limits when extended to 85 minutes. Of course, this has been a problem with the vast majority of sitcom spin-offs (The Likely Lads being one of the few noteworthy exceptions) as has the fact that attempts to sustain the narrative for such time often left the screenwriters resorting to the most desperate of ploys (Holiday on the Buses demonstrating the most popular as can be seen from Are You Being Served? to Kevin and Perry Go Large). Surprisingly, For the Love of Ada doesn’t try especially hard in this area- the only major big screen additions being a greater reliance on location work and Gilbert O’Sullivan’s theme song - rather we meet up with the couple on their first wedding anniversary, a day which, unbeknownst to them, is going to conclude with a big do.
In fact, For the Love of Ada doesn’t make much of an effort all round. Certainly, the leading cast members are enthusiastic enough, but the transition to the big screen has been treated in the most cursory of fashions. Director Ronnie Baxter, who worked almost exclusively on television sitcoms (everything from Oh No, It’s Selwyn Froggitt to Rising Damp), doesn’t differ his shooting style in the slightest, instead relying on the medium shot and two-shot standards throughout. Moreover, the plotting shares the ephemeral nature of most sitcom narratives (each episode having to start in essentially the same place) meaning that any dramatic developments are non-existent whilst all complications are sorted out in minutes.
In this respect, For the Love of Ada could be seen as the ultimate sitcom spin-off inasmuch as it never remotely strays from its origins. But then the fact that the original wasn’t much cop in the first place means that it’s hardly a good film.
Accompanied by only the theatrical trailer (which edits together all of the “gags”), you’d have to be a fan to pick up this particular disc. Indeed, only the most accommodating will find favour with the picture quality as the film has been cropped to 1.33:1 (the original ratio looking as though it should be 1.66:1) whilst the Eastmancolour has faded to a near sepia (not that it would have been the sprightliest of pictures in the first place). That said, the image does remain reasonably sharp throughout making the film at the very least watchable. The soundtrack fares better with the dialogue ably captured by a DD2.0 offering that poses few problems. There are slight signs of age, as should perhaps be expected, though nothing distracts unnecessarily.
Last updated: 19/04/2018 09:07:38