I was disappointed to not understand this one very well. I appreciated that a movie with a dull-as-dirt period-drama-sounding title turned out to be a post-apocalyptic absurdist comedy, but all the references to British places and culture flew over my uncultured American head, leaving me only with some Airplane-style puns and the welcome sight of Marty Feldman (in his first film, hence the “introducing” title card, though he was already a TV star with his own show).
I suppose the central characters, if there are any, are a young couple in love (Rita Tushingham of The Knack, with a great surname for comedy, and Richard Warwick of If…) and her parents, mother Mona Washbourne (of Billy Liar), who eventually turns into a (perhaps Dali-inspired) cupboard due to nuclear mutation, and father Arthur Lowe (the only actor I liked in The Ruling Class), who later turns into a parrot. Captain/Doctor Bules Martin (Michael Hordern, memorable as Jacob Marley in Scrooge) marries the girl after paying off her father, but she still only sleeps with Richard Warwick. Ralph Richardson (butler in The Fallen Idol) is Lord Fortram, who mutates into a bed sitting room (just a one-room apartment, I guess), where everybody gathers for the climax.
Some stuff I liked: Frank Thornton (Are You Being Served) is a newsman who wears the top third of a ragged suit and frames himself with a TV cutout. “I am the BBC, as you can see.” Also, the short-lived third world war is referred to as “the nuclear misunderstanding.” When the men think they’re being addressed by God, they sing “for he’s a jolly good fellow”.
The fourth movie I’ve seen with famed comedian Spike Milligan and I still don’t know who he is – the closest I got was recognizing which character he played in History of the World Part 1. Here he played “Mate,” whatever that means. Perhaps he’s the guy driving a wrecking ball with Dudley Moore.
Looking at the screen shots after the fact, it seems like a much more remarkable movie.