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Dinner for One (1963)

Der 90. Geburtstag oder Dinner for One (original title)
Not Rated | | Short, Comedy | TV Short May 1963
At Miss Sophie's 90th birthday dinner, her butler James must fill in for her four departed friends - and that includes lots of drinks before every course!.
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Freddie Frinton Freddie Frinton ... James
May Warden May Warden ... Miss Sophie
Heinz Piper ... Narrator
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Storyline

The sketch presents the 90th birthday of elderly upper-class Englishwoman Miss Sophie, who hosts a celebration dinner every year for her friends Mr Pommeroy, Mr Winterbottom, Sir Toby, and Admiral von Schneider. (The plot has nothing to do with New Year's Eve. There is a "Happy new year" toast, but this is purely a reference to Miss Sophie's birthday.) The problem is that due to Miss Sophie's considerable age, she has outlived all of her friends, and so her equally aged manservant James makes his way around the table, impersonating each of the guests in turn. Miss Sophie decides on appropriate drinks to accompany the menu: Mulligatawny soup (Miss Sophie orders dry sherry), North Sea haddock (with white wine), chicken (with champagne), and fruit for dessert (with port) served by James, who finds himself raising (and emptying) his glass four times per course. That takes its toll, increasingly noticeable in James's growing difficulty in pouring the drinks, telling wine glasses from vases... Written by Simon Slade

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

May 1963 (Switzerland) See more »

Also Known As:

The 90th Birthday, or Dinner for One See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The second course - North-Sea haddock - is considered a tribute by Frinton to his place of birth, Grimsby, on the north coast of England, which is at times called "Home of the Haddock". Frinton had worked in a local fish-factory when he was 14 years old. See more »

Goofs

After James burps, Miss Sophie takes hold of her chair's armrests probably in anticipation of James almost tipping her chair backwards. See more »

Quotes

James: [impersonating Mr Pommeroy] Happy New Year, Sophie dear!
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Alternate Versions

Several versions of this sketch were recorded/broadcast or released on DVD/video:
  • the original B&W version with an audience as produced by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) in 1963. 18 minutes
  • a changed B&W version where an english spelling error in the intro narration was digitally removed. Shown on German TV since the end of the 90s.
  • a changed B&W version without the audience sound. Shown by Danish TV who also omit the introductory narration, bringing the sketch to a 14 minutes runtime
  • a computer colorized version produced by the NDR in 1999. Due to massive protest from fans this version is almost never shown
  • an alternative B&W version as produced by Swiss TV. This version has no intro narration and misses some gags. This version can be recognized by the much simpler set decoration (no table cloth, smaller/simpler pictures on the walls, much smaller stairs). Released on DVD in Germany. 11 minutes.
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Connections

Referenced in Marienhof: Kabale und Liebe (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The best sketch of the world
2 July 1999 | by giraffeloverSee all my reviews

Every evening on the new years eve is a very special television event in Germany. It's called "Dinner for One". It tells the very funny story of an old lady called Sophie who celebrates her 90th Birthday. Her butler James represents Sophie's friends which have died long years ago. During the meal with various courses the butler has always drink to the old lady and he has to play all the deceased persons. At the end of the sketch the butler is totally drunken. The sketch was founded in England at the beginning of the 60s. But it was surprisingly no success there. It runs since 35 years in Germany and it belongs to the most popular television shows here.


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