I’ve been a Monty Python and John Cleese fan since I was a kid, and I had seen Clockwise at least twice before I was offered the chance to do the commentary track for Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray reissue of this 1986 film. Thus, I enjoyed the opportunity to work on this project.
Cleese parodies the perpetually punctual type of man who plots everything down to the second. His British school principal character is set to give a speech at the annual Headmaster’s Conference, but his perfectly planned day gets derailed and leads him to drastic measures. After missing his train, principal Brian Stimpson (Cleese) asks senior student Laura Wisely (Alison Steadman) to drive him to the event, thereby causing her to miss school which is already a sin in his world. A series of unfortunate encounters and problems set them further and further back, and as they journey further from the city and deeper into the country towards the event, their increasingly manic quest clashes with their tranquil surroundings.
This is an underrated, charming, and rather low key comedy given the time it came out. Written by Michael Frayn and directed by Christopher Morahan, Cleese’s comedy of errors faced stiff competition from commercial American comedies in a year that included Crocodile Dundee, Back To School, Ruthless People, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
I discussed that fact and delved into the film’s production, its cast and crew, and how Cleese watching one of Clockwise‘s few American screenings inspired him to change and Americanize his script for A Fish Called Wanda which became a global hit in 1988.
The following are reviews for my work on Clockwise. Click on a logo to go to each review site directly.
“In this new audio commentary, journalist and author Bryan Reesman, obviously a fan of Clockwise, discusses in great detail the production of Clockwise, the characterizations and some of the key themes the film tackles, [and] the witty humor.”
“I’m a big fan of Reesman’s commentaries… [He] does his usual great job of sharing trivia, interesting stories, personal anecdotes, and more.”