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Stiff Upper Lips
updated 4.27.2001

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I have to comment on the other comments. I happened to check out Stiff Upper Lips from a video rental shop rather than watch it on PBS -- shame on me! -- but I think it was a good selection for Masterpiece Theatre. Everyone needs a bit of a send-up now and then, and Stiff Upper Lips certainly furnishes that for all of us who are devoted Ivory and Merchant Anglophiles! As for the film itself, I found it mostly very funny, although a bit overdone as it progressed. Yes, there are some over-the-top (translate: vulgar) scenes, but nothing that a Masterpiece Theatre aficionado shouldn't be able to deal with. Some shrewder story editing might have helped, but -- scene by scene -- Stiff Upper Lips was a nice break from the formality we are so used to, and a good poke in the ribs as well!

Janet Whitcomb

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I thought Stiff Upper Lips was fall-on-the-floor funny. I only read the first page of comments from viewers, mostly positive, but everyone seems to miss what was happening: it was a merciless parody on British costume dramas in general and the various films made on works by E. M. Forster in particular. I have rewatched my videos of A Passage to India, A Room with a View, Maurice, Where Angels Fear to Tread, and Howard's End many, many times. The broad, sometimes vulgar, parody of these films in the 90-minute Stiff Upper Lips was an enormous delight.

Yes, I love the ironic novels of Forster and his 19th century twin, Austen. Yes, it is refreshing to pull back from time to time and laugh at how seriously they take themselves.

Thank you for showing Stiff Upper Lips. You may be assured I'm adding it to my video library. (Now, when is someone going to make something cinematic of Forster's 2nd and possibly best novel, The Longest Journey?)

John-Michael Albert
Dover, NH

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoy Masterpiece Theatre productions, and especially this one, Stiff Upper Lips. It is quite refreshing to see that even a most elegant and established institution as Masterpiece has a sense of humor and the self-assuredness to poke fun at itself. Only the truly great can laugh at themselves. Thanks again, and keep up the wonderful work.

Douglas Jacobs
Plano, TX

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation. Thank you.

Algonac, MI

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I thought this film was so funny. It played up certain forays without going completely over the top. I also loved the various puns that they used, and Emily and George's baby being born so suddenly, and with a silver spoon in his mouth, was hilarious.

What I want to know is when it will be shown again (if ever) and where I can buy a copy of it on video.


Though there is currently no date for Stiff Upper Lips to reair, the film is widely available for sale in video stores and online.

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I watched the movie Stiff Upper Lips, and I thought it was great. I have to comment that I thought Emily looked exactly like the singer Christina Aguilera. I would like to know in what year was this movie filmed. Thank you.

Haley Leonard
Morehead, KY

The film is from 1998. The Internet Movie Database online is a good source of this sort of information.

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I thought that Stiff Upper Lips was a really funny parody of British aristocracy. In fact, I actually called all of my friends to tell them about it. I really liked the way Masterpiece Theatre decided to put a little comedy in their forum.

Denise Rodriguez
Dallas, TX

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Thank you for being brave enough to show Stiff Upper Lips. Oh, my God! You saved a Monday. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. This is my favorite program on PBS. Keep up the good work. My whole family has been watching Masterpiece Theatre for years.

Omaha, NE

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Prudery is not in my lexicon. That said, Stiff Upper Lips was offensive, not for the unsubtle sexual allusions but for the prejudicial attitudes of folks who put it together. Although I am not an Anglophile, I was offended by this prurient and holier-than-thou look at the British. Unless the viewer had previously seen the films that were burlesqued, this parody was nonsensical. The bits of Italian opera seemed to be "stuck in" to assure us we were in Italy, and they floated across the Indian Ocean.

I did not see his name in the credits, but I was reminded of a Ken Russell production. In closing, this was not what I have come to expect and usually admire from Masterpiece Theatre.

Don Slagel
Waldoboro, ME

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Stiff Upper Lips was very funny. I could not believe I was watching Masterpiece Theatre.

Todd Cohenour
Cedar Rapids, IA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
My family and I often enjoy our Sunday evenings with the classics via Masterpiece Theatre. Imagine my shock when we turned on Stiff Upper Lips. What had been advertised as a light comedy turned out to be little more than one obscene joke after another. I'm just glad my children were not watching.

Dr. William E. Morton
Carroll, IA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Your selection for Masterpiece last night was the ultimate insult to the decent-minded viewer. Not only did it insult our sense of intelligence, but more importantly our sense of decency. We tuned in a little late but were captured by the visual splendor of the production as happens frequently when we tune in to a PBS offering. Unfortunately, even the visuals could not hold us captive in this production, and within a matter of moments our enthusiasm dropped like a lead balloon. You have taken advantage of our "hospitality," I'm afraid, and invaded our homes with deceptive smut. Your liberal views are not welcome, be it be your promotion of homosexuality or just plain bad taste. We are fed up with the bombardment of your morals, or should I say lack of them, and your sophistry. Until you change your agenda to enlighten and "broaden" people's ideas and way of thinking, you will notice that there will be a significant lack of support and consequently funding for your cause. Kindly take note. The battle is just beginning!

Antonia Swift
Mountain View, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I thought Stiff Upper Lips was one of the funniest and campiest programs yet. The actors played their roles to the T, and all were hilarious. I would love to see it again and even purchase it. Cora Unashamed was beautifully done, and I loved it as well. I love Masterpiece Theatre!

Margaret Amanda Pemberton
Houston, TX

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Stiff Upper Lips was a pathetic, puerile, tasteless attempt at satire. Why did PBS demean itself by broadcasting such costumed and stupid vulgarity?

Boston, MA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Stiff Upper Lips was so funny! I didn't realize the Victorian-era women were so outrageously amorous!

Doris Collier
Nashville, TN

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