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Funny, Peculiar: The True Story of Benny Hill [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Mark Lewisohn


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Kurzbeschreibung

12. April 2002
Benny Hill's saucy smirks and lascivious glances at underdressed women are relished across all continents by all creeds. Yet he cut an unlikely figure of global admiration: he was a deeply private individual, a loner, uninterested in money and the trappings of success. With the circus and sex in his background (his father sold condoms worldwide from a Southampton backstreet shop), Benny combined the two in a career that, after many struggles, took off in the earliest days of television. Acclaimed in the 1950s as the first British TV comedy superstar, loved for his pioneering ideas and mild 'seaside-postcard' humour, Hill's popularity remained undimmed for decades. But in the 1980s, just as he became a hit in more than 100 countries, he was reviled in Britain. His innuendo-strewn humour was branded sexist, a charge he could not comprehend. Unmarried and emotionally enfeebled in his few meaningful relationships, Benny's primary aim was to be seen in the company of scantily clad women. His TV show enabled this, but its sudden end in 1989 was followed by a self-inflicted decline in his health. Benny died in 1992, his body lay undiscovered for two days and the destiny of his GBP7m estate was controversial.

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'Riveting and unexpectedly sympathetic' Craig Brown, Mail On Sunday; 'A revelation... entertaining and exhaustively researched' Kathryn Flett. Observer -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Synopsis

Benny Hill's saucy smirks and lascivious glances at underdressed women are relished across all continents by all creeds. Yet he cut an unlikely figure of global admiration: he was a deeply private individual, a loner, uninterested in money and the trappings of success. With the circus and sex in his background (his father sold condoms worldwide from a Southampton backstreet shop), Benny combined the two in a career that, after many struggles, took off in the earliest days of television. Acclaimed in the 1950s as the first British TV comedy superstar, loved for his pioneering ideas and mild 'seaside-postcard' humour, Hill's popularity remained undimmed for decades. But in the 1980s, just as he became a hit in more than 100 countries, he was reviled in Britain. His innuendo-strewn humour was branded sexist, a charge he could not comprehend. Unmarried and emotionally enfeebled in his few meaningful relationships, Benny's primary aim was to be seen in the company of scantily clad women. His TV show enabled this, but its sudden end in 1989 was followed by a self-inflicted decline in his health.

Benny died in 1992, his body lay undiscovered for two days and the destiny of his GBP7m estate was controversial.


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Amazon.com: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  14 Rezensionen
27 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An exemplary biography of a misunderstood man 6. November 2002
Von Neil L. Inglis - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is one of the finest biographies I have read in years -- it penetrates deeply into the formative experiences and motivations of this strange and reclusive figure, and brings him vividly to life. Many interviewees discouraged the author from this task, but he persevered, and we have much to thank him for. All Benny Hill fans will now watch and enjoy his familiar sketches -- shamelessly recycled over the years -- with an added appreciation for their origins and rationale. Lewisohn helps us to delve into the psyche of this mysterious man, at once the embodiment of little Englishness, yet also a sensitive soul and a student of foreign cultures and languages.
The book is not unblemished. Benny's 50s farce, "Who Done It", is not nearly as abysmal as the author suggests (it's adequate slapstick with a few laughs -- how many 50s British movies has Lewisohn seen, there are many worse!). Benny's frugality is surely comprehensible in a man who had withstood wartime privations; and that character trait, combined with the much-hyped locker-room chit-chat with Bob Monkhouse, was regrettable but entirely standard male behavior for the 1950s. Despite all the conventional wisdom to the contrary, Benny did evolve. And--again with respect to Lewisohn--Benny scaled some of his finest heights of inspiration during his latest years with Thames. I am thinking of the Chubby Dodds documentary, and Murder on the Orient Express, and the "Family" skit, which bring smiles and laughter without fail, though I know them back to front. Of course, he was a comedian who operated rather too comfortably within his decent but clearly defined artistic parameters. Yet what was comforting for Benny was also reassuring for us... Lewisohn is right that Benny Hill's work will return to favor some day. It deserves to.
18 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen All of Benny Hill is exceptional 24. Dezember 2005
Von Peter Bros - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Good but slightly flawed

I bought this book not only because BCCA started to run the half-hour series again, but because I remembered reading a story in the paper a number of years ago how Benny Hill died alone in a sparsely furnished apartment, unloved.

What I got was a tremendous insight into English vaudeville and its morphing into radio and then television. I also got a tremendous amount of information about Hill's life, as other reviews note. I would, however, like to focus this review on the author's highly critical look at Benny Hill's work after he brought together the Hill's angels. The author unabashedly takes the feminist line that these programs were sexist, and there's no doubt that while the programs themselves were probably enough to get the feminists atwitter, now that BBCA is showing the uncut hour long shows, Hill's on air ridicule of the feminists was what really did it. I hadn't seen the hour long shows when I read the biography, so I more or less took the author at his word. Now that I've seen them, I have two comments. In no way are the Hill's Angels in any way objectionable. The author's comment, what did they have to do with comedy, is misdirected because they had everything to do with framing the skits that were carried within the performances. I think some of Hill's best work was done in these years.

My second comment is more of a revelation. I've always wondered exactly what it was that set Hill apart, the quality that no one else could or ever will duplicate. I realized watching these later shows that Hill had done something no one else had ever been able to do. He brought vaudeville, in its true form, to television. From childhood, he was steeped in, although unsuitable for, vaudeville. Television gave his strength, an acute eye for vaudeville, and his weakness, an inability to project beyond the tenth row of seats, the perfect format. It happened once, and that's the only time it will ever happen.

Finally, as to his death alone in a sparsely furnished room. The picture of Hill dead looks pretty bleak. However, the author makes one thing clear. Benny Hill did in life exactly as he pleased, lived his life exactly the way he wanted to live it, and knowing he was going to die soon, died exactly the way he wanted to die, eating candy bars, drinking, and watching his beloved TV. He had no regrets about anything in life and he was surrounded by people who loved him dearly. Even his failed romances weren't romances, but attempts to reach for unattainable women so he never had to make a commitment that would limit his freedom to do as he pleased. The one time he was expected to make a commitment, he ran fast. Hill did what he wanted in life, and to do that, he had to live and travel alone, and that's exactly what he did. Definitely buy this book, but don't let the author's prejudices dissuade you from enjoying all of Hill's work. As to the author's hope the British return to an appreciation of Hill, it'll never happen, but that doesn't stop us from enjoying him.
14 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen good evening viewers! 4. November 2004
Von Tim Brimelow - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
An excellent biography of the funniest man who ever stole a gag from another comedian. Yes it's Benny Hill, a man who took a name because is sounded Jewish and wrote some of the funniest songs ever using the most recycled of jokes.

His humour was what the people wanted in the seventies, coarse slightly obscene and saucy. He deserved the title of the the worlds most popular comedian. It was a shame that Benny ended up as a target for feminists and other politically correct groups and was eventually sacked for his humour. The people that hounded him must have been very humourless, cold hearted people indeed.

The book is great though there are few mistakes here and there with respect to show titles and content. I recommend anyone who is interested in British actors and theatre read this book.

Tim Brimelow

Melbourne Australia
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Absorbing, Recommended 9. August 2002
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a fascinating, first-rate biography of one of the twentieth century's most beloved comedy figures; a man who is now largely overlooked in his home country despite having been its most successful comic export outside of Charlie Chaplin. Benny Hill was a complex man who led a simple (if somewhat peculiar) life, and this book provides tremendous insight into not only his personal foibles and professional endeavors, but also the motivations and reasons for his intriguing private behavior and public rise and fall. Drawing on extensive research and fresh interviews with many of the key figures in Benny's life, Mark Lewisohn's writing combines warmth, empathy and humor with analysis, objectivity and attention to detail -- the comic inventiveness and outright stealing of other artists' ideas; the abnormally excessive frugality; the sexual indulgences and hopelessly failed relationships... whether you want to know about the man's career, his love life or the fact that he just loved a quick game of Kalooki, it's all here. Buy this book!
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Meh Very Informative but highly biased 2. August 2013
Von Richard Weigel - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
This book is the most informative you will find on Benny ,for that alone I would recommend a read. However as another reviewer pointed out the bios reads as if Hill is a mass murder and not a comedian. He goes out of his way to accuse Hill of ripping off old jokes and gags(Never heard this about guys like Berle,Gleason,Brooks etc and it's true for them as well.Everyone brought Vaudeville and stage jokes and gags to TV ). The writer also does little to point out Hill's originality (Which has since been copied many times by everyone including Monte Python.) And while he does a good job of telling us about Hill's personal affairs he never really gets a feel of who Benny Hill really was. I would rate this A for effort (The sheer information alone.) but a C for insight and fairness.
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