Bill chuckles away merrily at an old silent movie on TV ("This pie could be one in the eye for Luckless Larry"), but Tim, who is sitting next to him, is totally bored and unimpressed by it. Bill remarks that the movie industry "should still make films like that" as Graeme unveils his all-new pocket movie camera (a full-sized camera on a tripod that squashes in the huge pocket of Graeme's special trousers!) but all of the British movie studios are being closed down. Tim reads out an ad in the paper for the sale of Pine Tree studio on a 99-year lease for just "25 quid", so in a Pathe News report, the Goodies don long noses ("Cop a load of this hooter, Grandma!") and huge cigars (as a send-up of TV and film mogul Lew Grade) and ride away on the trandem to become film producers in a bid to revitalise the motion picture industry.
The Goodies take 18 hours to review the films that the studio directors (including Warhol, Zeffirelli and Fellini, who all are gathered together in a nearby room) have been working on, but the films are so boring and pretentious (with the Goodies booing at some movies and refusing to even start watching 'Kung Fu With A Bucket Of Blood And A Bathful Of Giblets'!) that an angry Tim decides to fire all of the directors in one hit (even "poor Ken" Russell - despite him having Oliver Reed burned to death! – as Tim tells him "If you're going to cry, Russell, can't you go outside and do it!") so that the Goodies can become directors as well as producers. Their first production is Macbeth, but there is precious little of it left to act out after Graeme has removed all of the killing and violence from the script. The wizened old actor who plays Macbeth is somewhat hard of hearing and is also fired after Tim has virtually torn his own tonsils out yelling "ACTION!" repeatedly with no result. Therefore the Goodies become actors as well as directors and Graeme decides to inject a bit of "family interest into this pretentious drivel" with a change to "Macbeth Meets Truffaut The Wonder Dog"!
The 'stars only' premiere screening is graced by a gorgeously tarted-up Tim, who has really taken his role of Lady Macbeth to heart, much to the horror of projectionist Graeme, who parades around in own his flashy sequined suit in a very camp manner. Bill staggers in with a bottle of whisky in hand and drunkenly bellows "I want to see me fillum!" (to which Graeme minces "Deary me, the poor man's Richard Harris has arrived!"). Bill takes quite a fancy to Tim's sexy new image (as Tim stridently yells "Get your hand off my knee!" at Bill shortly after Graeme turns the "lighties out"), but he soon wants to drown his sorrows even further ("I'm gonna drink til it comes out of me eyeballs!") when the film proves to be a litany of disasters upon screening. The many problems include sets that fall over or won't budge when required (such as the door that Bill tries in vain to open), Tim's "out out, damn spot" which ends up on his nose and Truffaut the Wonder Dog being lazy and unresponsive until finally it attacks Bill (after he has had a piece of meat tied to his wrist to spark the dog's interest), eagerly pursues the trees of Birnam Wood and ultimately slobbers all over the camera from close range. Following Bill's declaration that "The film's a failure, I'm gonna get drunk!", a bitchy name-calling, glass-smashing row ensues and all three Goodies stalk out (with the studio collapsing as the exit doors are huffily slammed shut) as each vow to never make another film again.
Despite this promise, Tim re-enters the studio to make a Roman epic only to find Bill already in there painting all of the furniture black and white in preparation for his silent classic. An annoyed Tim tells Bill to "buzz off and learn your lines", but Bill has no such requirements for his film (though he needs to control his bodily noises – "Imagine. 'Enter our hero. Burp! Beg your pardon?' It just wouldn't do, would it?!"), so he manages to mess Tim up by calling him "Sambo" instead of Samson, which Tim repeats inadvertantly when he rehearses his script, much to his frustration. However both Tim and Bill are soon in strife when Graeme the wild west gunslinger turns up and declares that "this place ain't big enough for the three of us. I want you on the first stage out of Pinetree!" Tim's request that their "efforts be combined to make my epic" falls on deaf ears as he and Graeme argue over the merits of making an epic or a western (until Bill holds up a 'My Silent Classic' placard, to which the other cover their ears and yell at him to "Shut up!"); therefore they each attempt to produce their own films only to frequently get in each other's way.
Graeme's high noon shootout is firstly interrupted by Tim's Roman Centurions and then by Tim himself (in a vigourous wrestle with a lion, which draws a volley of gunfire from an irate Graeme and his sparring partner), with Samson and Delilah being invaded in turn by Bill and then his accomplices, the Keystone Kops. Graeme also fires his pistol repeatedly at Bill and the inevitable collision of camera crews sees equipment and films being strewn about everywhere as they argue and fight with each other. Graeme's posse and Tim's army fire shots at each other, while Bill's Keystone Kops arm themselves with custard pies for the inevitable confrontation. After he survives an epic encounter with Moses and the Ten Commandments, Bill releases Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy from the archives, who annoy Graeme with great style before they disappear again. The three Goodies come together and argue as a barn wall collapses around them (with Buster Keaton coming along and taking notes afterwards) and Graeme decides to summon up his reinforcements. The Indians ride in over one hill, the cavalry appear over another and the most fearsome threat of all comes over the third hill - Julie Andrews and kids singing 'The Sound Of Music'!
An Indian's arrow in her chest from long range promptly polishes Julie off (as the Von Trapp kids merely shrug their shoulders and casually walk away) but an epic chase scene between the Goodies takes place throughout several film screens and rows of seating. Bill sends a truck crashing through the screen at Graeme, while Tim scares away the Frankenstein monster and a giant Bill reaches out of the screen to pick Tim up with an evil cackle and drop him from a great height. The Goodies come together again and belt each other up with giant letters from 'The End' credit and are eventually carried skywards into the sunset, as they hang onto another 'The End' credit which has risen from the bottom of the screen.
* Bill (about great silent comics): "Keaton, Chaplin, Harry Langdon, Lavatory Meadows ..."
Graeme (incredulously): "Lavatory Meadows?!"
Tim: "He means W.C. Fields."
* Bill (discussing the films that the Goodies are reviewing): "Whose is this one then."
Tim: "Jane, Ken or Bertrand?"
Bill (smirking): "Lets hope it's the one with the big knockers, hey?!"
Tim (deadpan): "Yeah, Bertrand!"
* (Tim and Bill are chanting "What a load of rubbish!" after watching Ken Russell's film)
Graeme (pretentiously): "No, no, no. Didn't you feel that it had a certain surreal symbolistic quality, just captivating the very futility of life, death, indeed the very existence of God himself, indeed reflected in the microcosm, didn't you feel?"
Bill (taken aback): "Load of old cobblers!"
Graeme (fiendishly): "Certainly!"
Tim (berating the directors): "I can honestly say that fifty percent of what we've been watching has been very boring or extremely pretentious, and in many cases, both … and yes, I am looking at you, Fellini! (frowns) And don't do that at me! It is simply not enough to stick together a few unrelated images, a white-faced clown and half a dozen dwarfs and expect to win the Cannes Film Festival … well yes, I know you did! You might be able to con the Froggies but you don't impress me!"
* Bill (when Tim wants to fire all of the directors): "Fair enough, they deserve it. It's just old Ken (Russell). He did do 'The Boyfriend' with Twiggy and the dancing … that was nice."
Tim (dismayed): "He also had Oliver Reed burned to death!"
Bill (keenly): "Yeah, so he can't be all bad, can he?!"
* Tim (as Lady Macbeth, haughtily): "This is my new screen image. This is how my public sees me."
Graeme (shocked at a tarted-up Tim): "If they see you like that, they'll have you arrested! You like it, don't you, that's what it is. You're peculiar, you like it!"
Tim (dramatically): "It's not what I like, it's what they like. To them out there, I'm no longer Tim Brooke-Taylor, I am Lady Macbeth!"
Graeme (in an exaggerated manner): "You are peculiar!"
* Tim (looking around the studio): "You've painted everything black and white!"
Bill: "Certainly. I'm making a black and white film."
Tim: "Don't be ridiculous!"
Bill: "This is a hard job. God blimey! No wonder they went over to colour!"
(and a little later …)
Bill: "You underestimate us silent comics, you, mate. Buster Keaton … Buster Keaton, he must have spent three weeks painting the whole town black and white, right? Then a ruddy great building falls on him and he doesn't make a sound. No. Not even so much as a 'My God, that was close!'"
*After Tim says "You can't just make films, you know. They tell me it's quite difficult.", Graeme responds with "Ah well, it wouldn't be so difficult if they used my latest invention. A pocket movie camera." and produces a full-sized camera and tripod, to which Bill scornfully tells him "You can't get that in your pocket!" An indignant Graeme replies "Course you can! … Mind you, you have to wear the special trousers." and crams the camera into a huge pocket stretching almost half the length of his trousers, with the tripod sticking out and almost knocking Bill's block off! A sort-of impressed Tim remarks "Brilliant. That could … that could revolutionise the whole film industry."
* The Goodies reviewing Visconti's movie 'Death In Bognor', in which an old codger shuffles slowly along a sunrise-lit beach for an hour or two, causing Bill in particular to get impatient for him to snuff it. Cries of "Come on, let's have the death then!", "Why are we waiting?!" and "Come on you blighter, die! C'mon, die!" are finally rewarded when the old man kicks his heels in the air in a magnificent death dive (it could only have been Graeme in disguise!) and sprawls flat on the sand. The movie then continues for another 90 minutes, in which absolutely nothing happens, though Tim comments "At least it's better than 'Death In Venice'!"
* The next movie for review - 'The Life Of Pablo Casals' by Ken Russell - where a robed nun slowly does a striptease, causing the old violinist accompanying her to gradually overheat to the point where flames are leaping from his violin and smoke is pouring from his ears. The nun is then revealed as a white-faced clown to chants of "What a load of rubbish!" from Bill and Tim, with Graeme's pretentious attempts to praise the movie for its "surrealistic symbolistic qualities" being dismissed by Bill as "a load of old cobblers!"
* The preview screening of the Goodies' disastrous film 'Macbeth Meets Truffaut The Wonder Dog', with Tim taking his Lady Macbeth role seriously by dressing to kill as a glamourous movie queen in a shimmering black dress, enormous feather-adorned hat and bright red lipstick, Graeme also strutting about with a glittering suit and camp voice ("Where's Billykins?!") and Bill staggering in as the quintessential drunken Irish playwright; sitting on one of Tim's poodles, then trying to kill it by stomping on it and drowning it with his bottle of whisky.
* The Goodies' spiteful argument after the film's failure, which is started off by Tim moaning at Bill "How is an actress of my calibre supposed to work with an ape like you?! Ooh, you've ruined the film!" and then rapidly degenerates to include insults such as "raddled old has-been" (from Bill to Tim), "clapped out old queen" (Bill to Graeme), "let's face it darling, you're no Glenda Jackson, are you?!" (Graeme to Tim) and "you bitch!" (Tim to Graeme), before Tim and Bill smash glass items over each other's heads (while Graeme proclaims "You imps!" and lamely tosses a glass to the floor!) and they all storm out separate exits, slamming the doors so hard that the studio falls apart behind them.
* All of the scenes where they get in the way of each other's films, especially Graeme's high noon shootout in the wild west being interrupted by Tim and his Roman soldiers, Bill knocking on the door of the Pony Express office in desperation to escape from a gun-toting Graeme only to find a Roman soldier in the loo, the Keystone Kops waddling through Samson and Delilah's bedroom and Bill hanging grimly from a skyscraper window ledge, only to have Tim walking across the side of the building fighting a lion, with Bill then sitting on the ledge, throwing his arms out in disgust and falling backwards through the window.
* The entire final chase scene with literally dozens of brilliant visual gags; the pick of them being Bill opening the door of the Epics Dept. only to have his head sandwiched by Moses with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments, Laurel and Hardy bowing courteously to Graeme, then decking him, the barn wall falling around the three Goodies who are standing in the window slot (with Buster Keaton scribbling down notes afterwards on how it was done), Julie Andrews being mercilessly terminated by an Indian arrow to the chest, the chase through the various theatre screens and seats (which is an amazing piece of editing), the truck bursting through the film screen at Graeme (also editing perfection) and a huge Bill reaching out of the screen to pick up Tim before dropping him into a hammock held by the silent comedy stars, from where he is lobbed onto the real Bill in another screen.
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
One of the most brilliant visual episodes of The Goodies backed up with a very funny and cleverly pieced-together script. The entire second half of the episode contains some of finest and funniest stuntwork and trick photography ever produced and the show thoroughly deserved the Silver Rose that it won.
BLACK PUDDING RATING
Graeme with his new invention; the pocket movie camera (and special trousers!)
"It's noses, noses all the way" as the Goodies become film producers
The producers watch 'Death In Bognor'
The steamed-up violinist in Ken Russell's 'Pablo Casals'
Graeme has the "camera running"!
"ACTION!" call to a deaf Macbeth
Tim as Lady Macbeth at the premiere
Graeme in his "new suit" (and poodles!)
"The poor man's Richard Harris" has arrived!
Bill pours his whisky on a "stupid poodle"!
"Out, out, damn spot!" from Lady Macbeth
"Is this a dagger I see before me ...?"
No, it's an idle Truffaut the Wonder Dog.
Truffaut gives Macbeth Bill a hard time
"You clapped out old queen!"
Things get bitchy as "the film is a failure"
Tim and Bill argue over studio space
Tim and Graeme don't want to know about Bill's 'silent classic'
Graeme's western is interrupted by the Roman Centurions, then Tim and his lion
Samson and Delilah receive a visit from Bill and the Keystone Kops
Bill's 'dangling from a skyscraper window ledge' routine is brought
undone by Tim and his lion
Singing cowboy Graeme aboard his 'horse'
Bill and his Keystone Kops ready for a custard pie duel
Bill about to receive the Ten Commandments in a most painful way
Charlie Chaplin annoys Graeme
Tim - berrr!
Buster notes down how it was done
The hills are alive to the sound of screaming ... !
Graeme under attack from Bill and comedians
Bill sends a truck through the screen at Graeme
A giant Bill drops Tim from a great height
Hold onto those credits!