A Private Function. Image shows from L to R: Gilbert Chilvers (Michael Palin), Joyce Chilvers (Maggie Smith).

A Private Function

1984 British comedy film about food rationing and social climbing. Stars Michael Palin, Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, Richard Griffiths, Tony Haygarth and others.

A Private Function. Image shows from L to R: Joyce Chilvers (Maggie Smith), Gilbert Chilvers (Michael Palin).

A Private Function

Satire about food rationing and social climbing, set amidst post-war austerity Britain

Genre
Film
Released
1984
Creators
Alan Bennett and Malcolm Mowbray
Starring
Michael Palin, Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, Richard Griffiths, Tony Haygarth, John Normington, Bill Paterson, Liz Smith and others
Writer
Alan Bennett
Director
Malcolm Mowbray
Producers
Mark Shivas, George Harrison and Denis O'Brien

In post-war, austerity 1947 Britain, life is dominated by food rationing and the strict orders of social climbing.

And in a small Yorkshire town, near the top of the social pecking order are the local property owner, doctor and account; a trio of businessmen who've got together with a local farmer to raise an illicit pig in order to impress county bigwigs by hosting a sumptuous dinner to celebrate heir to the throne Princess Elizabeth's marriage to Prince Philip.

For newcomers Joyce Chilvers and husband Gilbert, a chiropodist, life is very different indeed. She longs to climb the ladder of local society but his business annoys Doctor Swavey from the off, and a series of unfortunate mishaps don't help matters any.

However, with local inspector Wormold on a tyrannical hunt for illegal meat, Joyce spots an opportunity when Gilbert stumbles across the group's pig, Betty, secreted in nearby woodland. It seems that a spot of good old-fashioned blackmail is called for.

Production data