The film opens at the end of his life, as Hill (Toby Jones) lies alone dying in his London flat. The rest of the film is a flashback…we see his brutal childhood, his painfully shy schooldays, his struggle for recognition, his celebrity during the show’s golden years, and his slow decline as his addictions and fame alienate those around him. (No idea if any of this was actually true for Benny Hill, but it’s a biopic so it’s gotta be in there.)
The last scene of the movie is also the first: Benny wheezing for breath, alone, at the end of his life. (Hill really did die alone, sitting in front of his television.) He looks up and sees the Spectre Of Death enter the room. Hill weakly protests that he deserves more time, that there are so many more things he wants to do, but the Reaper draws ever closer. Mozart’s Requiem is playing, and the screen is growing dark.
BUT! With the last bit of strength the old man has in his body, he leaps from the chair and begins running away from the Reaper in double time. They run down the stairs and into the London streets as “Yackety Sax” begins playing for the first time in the film, and it’s glorious: Hill’s final defiant action in the face of death. I want to see people laughing and crying from cathartic joy when the sax starts up.
The credits for the film scroll horizontally at the bottom, like all the old Thames shows, as Benny is chased around London accompanied by sight gags and slapstick. About 3/4 of the way through, the Reaper’s robes get caught on a tree limb and are pulled off, revealing…a buxom Page Three girl in a bikini! Now the chase reverses, and Benny attempts to catch her as she runs away.
The credits over, the camera pans up and back as the scene fades out, and the last we see of Hill is him excitedly chasing the top-heavy Grim Reaper out of frame.
I find it weird that every time people personify the Seven Deadly Sins, they’ll make six of them portray the doer (someone who IS angry, someone who IS slothful, etc), but then they go to Lust and portray them as object being acted upon (someone OTHER PEOPLE would lust after).
Like honestly it would be more accurate to make them some scruffy white dude with a fedora than a sexy girl with curves.
"I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is."
"No, I do not wish you success. I don’t even want to talk about it. I want to talk about failure. Because you are human beings you are going to meet failure. You are going to meet disappointment injustice, betrayal, and irreparable loss. You will find you’re weak where you thought yourself strong. You’ll work for possessions and then find they possess you. You will find yourself-as I know you already have-in dark places, alone, and afraid.
What I hope for you, for all my sisters and daughters, brothers and sons, is that you will be able to live there, in the dark place. To live in the place that our rationalizing culture of success denies, calling it a place of exile, uninhabitable, foreign.
I hope you live without the need to dominate, and without the need to be dominated. I hope you are never victims, but I hope you have no power over other people. And when you fail, and are defeated, and in pain, and in the dark, then I hope you will remember that darkness is your country. Why did we look up for blessing-instead of around, or down? What hope we have lies there. Not in the sky full of orbiting spy-eyes and weaponry, but in the earth we have looked down upon. Not from above, but from below. Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourished, where human beings grow human souls."
Ursula K. LeGuin addressing the 1983 graduating class of Mills College in Oakland, California (via wandering-street-radio)