Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (film)

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Sir Henry at Rawlinson End
Directed bySteve Roberts
Written byVivian Stanshall and Steve Roberts
Produced byTony Stratton-Smith
Spencer Tandy
StarringTrevor Howard
Patrick Magee
Denise Coffey
J. G. Devlin
Harry Fowler
Sheila Reid
Jeremy Child
Liz Smith
Narrated byVivian Stanshall
CinematographyMartin Bell
Edited byChris Rose
Music byVivian Stanshall
Distributed byDigital Classics DVD
Release date
  • 1980 (1980)
Running time
73 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Sir Henry at Rawlinson End is a 1980 British film based on the eponymous character created by Vivian Stanshall (see Rawlinson End, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (recording)). It stars Trevor Howard as Sir Henry and Stanshall himself as Henry's brother Hubert. Unusually, the film was released in sepia-toned monochrome. After a long wait, while the film obtained cult status, it was finally released on DVD in 2006. The bonuses include a commentary track with the director, Steve Roberts, as well as Sheila Reid (Aunt Florrie) and Jeremy Child (Peregrine Maynard), as well as a picture gallery, synopsis, the script of unfilmed scenes, and actor biographies.


The plot of Sir Henry at Rawlinson End revolves around attempts to exorcise the ghost of Humbert, the brother of drunken aristocrat Sir Henry (Trevor Howard) who was accidentally killed in a drunken duck-shooting incident whilst escaping trouserless from an illicit tryst. It transpires that Humbert's ghost will not rest until it is supplied with replacement trousers. Until then the ghost walks the corridors of Rawlinson End, often accompanied by that of Humbert's dog Gums which has repossessed its own body, now stuffed and mounted on a trolley.

Amongst the eccentric family members, mad friends and grudgingly loyal servants involved are Hubert, Henry's other (earthworm fixated) brother, the eternally knitting Aunt Florrie, the tapeworm-obsessed Mrs. E, Lady Philippa of Staines (Liz Smith), who enjoys the odd 'small' sherry and the ever-present Old Scrotum, Sir Henry's wrinkled retainer.



  • 'It's impossible to do justice to the film's arrant and quite unique lunacy.' – The Financial Times
  • 'Sir Henry is a comic masterpiece.' – NME
  • 'This extraordinary film is one of the most haphazard British comedies I've seen. It is also a long time since I've laughed so much... a cult in the making.' – The Guardian
  • 'You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll jab your eyes with fingers still trembling from the trauma of being made a child again. You'll jab your eyes just to check you've just seen what you think you've seen.... Sir Henry is a film to be experienced as closely and seriously and often as possible, a work of art that should sink under the skin and into the bones and do its good work like vitamins and (Captain Beefheart's) Trout Mask Replica. I can't recommend it highly enough so I won't even start. It's out there if you want it. And in here (tap skull and chest) whether you want it or not, Englander pig dog. A talking picture. And what could be more wonderful than that?' – Plan B
  • 'It wouldn't be a million miles wide of the mark to call "Sir Henry at Rawlinson End" a missing link between Monty Python and "Withnail & I", but as the brainchild of Vivian Stanshall - pack leader of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - it has a place in the pantheon of sophisticated English silliness all of its own.' ***** – Time Out
  • 'Although it truly is in the grand wazoo of weird, the film remains surprisingly unknown and unscreened since its release in 1980. I remember a grainy VHS furtively passed around at school, and even this clear as a bell DVD version feels a bit naughty... The movie equivalent of cheese before bed, this film guarantees nightmares, but in a good way.' – The Big Issue


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