The Case of the Mukkinese Battle-Horn
I am sure that readers are familiar with The Goon Show, despite its being a radio show. There were several attempts to translate its humour to other media - TV in this case and a film called Down Among the Z Men spring to mind. There were a couple of TV series - I'm thinking of doing a series of posts on orphaned episodes, in which case A Show Called Fred will definitely appear.
This isn't strictly speaking TV, but for the sake of this post I am going to stretch the definition of TV to anything you sit and watch, and this was originally a supporting short for the cinema. It's also something I know will appeal to people who like cult TV so I think it can be allowed. Mukkinese Battle-Horn also to my mind feels like a TV programme, but that may be because of its short length. It also feels like a TV show because one of my heroes, the comic legend Dick Emery, replaces Harry Secombe in The Goons line-up.
The plot is a parody mystery taken from the files of Scotland Yard. You all know how I like my atmosphere and the atmosphere here is definitely foggy and Holmesian - in fact so foggy we hear somebody not missing Nelson's Column in the fog! We see the case in which the horn is kept being smashed, and hear the thief return when he realises he's forgotten to steal the horn. I must say a Mukkinese Battle-Horn is a magnificent beast and is definitely the sort of thing I aspire to hang on my wall.
Superintendent Quilt, Sellers's barmy character, will be familiar to many as a clear previous incarnation of his future Clouseau character. I love the visual comedy, and the way when the police turn up to the museum, Sergeant Brown has to be let out of the boot of the car. Another recurring comedic element is ridiculous conversations, such as the conversation between the couple about there being someone at the door.
This film is a dream, it's sooo funny. The curator sends out to Woolworth's for another after he breaks a priceless antique vase. The other Mukkinese Battle-Horn of the pair has a place for used razor blades. The police photographer turns up, takes a posed picture of the police officers and leaves.
In fact it's a work of genius, and draws on so many cultural sources, including at one point silent films. As such there is no criticism possible. It's also incredibly ahead of its time and does things like breaking the fourth wall.
Unfortunately if you want to see this there isn't a commercial release and while it is in several places on the internet it is in an unrestored condition. Was it very obvious that I'm posting about it to try to make it more popular and get a restored version? Here's a clip to be going on with: