Rising Damp – The Movie, 1980
Almost two years after the TV series finished, Rigsby hit the big screen with Rising Damp – The Movie.
Failing to capture the magic of the TV series, there was no new storyline, effectively the movie “cobbled together” several story lines from the TV series. There is a slight twist to the film in that it is revealed that Phillip is not the son of an African chief, but from Croydon, adopting his false persona to start a new life and gain respect. When Rigsby finds out, he tells Philip that he believes he must have some royal ancestry and he does not tell the rest of the characters about his deception. This plotline is from the original stageplay The Banana Box.
The character of Alan gets a brief mention as having left, as Richard Beckinsale had died the year before. In his place is a new character – art student, John played by Christopher Strauli (Only When I laugh).
Meet Rupert Rigsby, a suspicious, meddling, prejudiced landlord who lets out rooms in his crumbling, moldering townhouse in an unnamed English city. Regular tenants include Philip (Don Warrington), a black medical student who claims to be an African prince with ten wives, and Miss Ruth Jones (Frances de la Tour), an oversexed, hopelessly romantic spinster who covets Philip, and who avoids the lecherous Rigsby at all costs. (sound familiar so far ?)
With Alan having left there’s a room to let, enter John (Christopher Strauli), a hopelessly naïve art student whom Rigsby cons into sharing a room with Philip (another familiar plot line).
Rigsby’s got competition for Miss Jones in the form of new lodger, Seymour (Denholm Elliott), a smooth, hustling sharpie who has eyes for Miss Jones…and her money.
Leonard Rossiter – Rigsby
Frances De La Tour – Ruth Jones
Don Warrington – Phillip Smith
Christopher Strauli – John
Denholm Elliot – Charles Seymour
Written By: Eric Chappell
Produced By: Roy Skeggs
Directed By: Joseph McGrath
Release Date: 3rd May 1980