Derek Winnert


This article was written on 05 Aug 2015, and is filled under Uncategorized.

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Work is a Four-Letter Word * (1968, David Warner, Cilla Black, Elizabeth Spriggs, Zia Mohyeddin, Alan Howard, David Waller) – Classic Movie Review 2783


A classy star in David Warner.

Henry Livings’s award-winning absurdist play Eh? about giant magic mushrooms gets a livelier title and the then Sixties pop princess Cilla Black, plus a classy star in David Warner, posh theatre director in Peter Hall and a good cast including many members of his Royal Shakespeare Company as well as stalwarts of British realist drama.

The result, though intriguing and promising, is unfortunately a totally forlorn, hideously dated swinging 60s satirical futuristic comedy fantasy. But there is a little fun to be found in Warner’s skilled and oddly appealing offbeat performance as Valentine Brose, the happy chap who grows and eats the psychedelic mushrooms after he finds the boiler room in the ultra-modern corporation of his dreary industrial town has the perfect climate to assist him in his hobby. But first, he has to get the job in the boiler room.

{Spoiler alert] Brose marries Betty, but is keen to get her to clean the boiler room so he can take care of the mushrooms.


Sixties pop princess Cilla Black.

Unfortunately Cilla Black seems a bit lost here acting on the big screen as Brose’s fiancée Betty Dorrick, who wants him to settle down. However, it is charming as well as funny to see her looking so young back then, though, in a poignant piece of nostalgia.

It turned out to be her one and only acting role in a cinema movie, though she appeared briefly as herself in Ferry Cross The Mersey in 1965. Cilla recorded the theme song for Work is a Four-Letter Word, which was released as the B side of ‘Where Is Tomorrow?’ in 1968, which reached only number 39 in the UK Charts.


Sadly, Work is a Four-Letter Word never was really any good and time hasn’t been very kind to it either.

Also in the cast are Elizabeth Spriggs (in her acting debut) as the personnel manager Mrs Murray, Zia Mohyeddin, Joe Gladwin, Alan Howard, David Waller, Julie May, Jan Holden, John Steiner, Roger Booth, Tony Church, Derek Royle, Cyril Cross, Gladys Dawson and Royston Tickner.

Jeremy Brooks adapts Livings’s play.

The film was shot on location in Birmingham, with interiors at Shepperton Studios.


Priscilla Maria Veronica White OBE (27 May 1943 – 1 August 2015).

English singer, actress and entertainer Priscilla Maria Veronica White OBE (27 May 1943 – 1 August 2015), known by her stage name Cilla Black, had 11 Top Ten hits on the British charts between 1964 and 1971. ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ was the UK’s biggest selling single by a female artist in the 1960s. In the 70s, 80s and 90s, she became the highest-paid female performer on British television. Adios, Cilla, dear departed.

Sir Peter Hall.

Sir Peter Hall died on 11 aged 86.

© Derek Winnert 2015 Classic Movie Review 2784

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Happy days: Cilla Black and husband Bobby.




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