Watch The Bed Sitting Room
- 1 hr 31 min
In the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, the entire population of Great Britain has been decimated - with the exception of a handful of survivors. Among these is the aristocratic Lord Fortnum (Ralph Richardson), who has retreated to a well-appointed bed-sitting room that features a bath, a grand four-poster bed, and even a fireplace. Alongside him is his daughter Penelope (Rita Tushingham), an ethereal creature who drifts through the ruins in a wedding dress, and a ragtag collection of fellow survivors.
As the film opens, we see Penelope wandering through the rubble-strewn streets, encountering a variety of eccentric characters - from a blind postman who has taken to living in an abandoned mailbox to a pair of nuns who have fused together, forming a two-headed entity.
Back in the bed-sitting room, Lord Fortnum and his companions, including Penelope, pass the time by engaging in a series of nonsensical, absurdist conversations. They discuss the etiquette of sitting on a toilet in front of a lady, the possibility of a tribe of people living in the stomachs of other people, and whether or not green cheese would taste better on a square plate. The dialogue is surreal, often hilarious, and occasionally profound.
The film is directed by Richard Lester, who had previously directed The Beatles in A Hard Day's Night and Help!, as well as the cult classic How I Won the War. With The Bed Sitting Room, he turns his attention to the post-apocalyptic genre, but approaches it in a uniquely irreverent way. The film is filled with sly jabs at the British class system, and the characters are all buffoonish caricatures of various societal archetypes.
Peter Cook, of the legendary British comedy duo Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, co-stars in the film as Inspector Arthur, a bumbling policeman who stumbles through the ruins in search of survivors. Cook is his usual brilliant self, imbuing the character with a sarcastic wit and a hapless charm.
Visually, the film is striking. The bleak, desolate landscape is offset by the colorful, flamboyant costumes worn by the characters - everything from Lord Fortnum's top hat to Penelope's flowy white dress. The set design is also notable, with Lord Fortnum's bed-sitting room serving as a kind of fantastical oasis in the midst of the bombed out city.
The Bed Sitting Room was not a commercial success upon its release, but it has since gained a cult following among fans of British comedy and post-apocalyptic films. It is an incredibly strange, hilarious, and thought-provoking film that deserves to be seen by a wider audience.
The Bed Sitting Room is a 1969 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 31 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.1.