Thanks to Withwine and I for unearthing an early review of the film from an old copy of 'The Daily Mail'. I reproduce his findings at the bottom of this post. Withwine inspired me to have a rummage in the shed and I found this:
REVIEW FROM FARMER'S WEEKLY, 1987
When some London types motored up to Cumberland last year to make a moving picture, we in the farming community were agog to see the result. I've just watched it in Penrith and it's not an unqualified success.
True, a couple of clueless townies are shown how to shut a gate, and there are two excellent sequences starring a Fordson Super Major - a tractor which this reviewer can heartily recommend as providing sterling service on any farm. But on the downside, livestock is represented only by a chicken, a bull and a few sheep. There are no cows, nor women neither.
I wouldn't be doing my duty as a reviewer if I didn't warn readers in Somerset that there is a graphic and gratuitous scene in which cider is contaminated with ice. I felt physically sick. What is the Censor doing giving this film an 18 certificate?
All in all, a wasted opportunity, with far too much time spent following pointless activities in bedrooms and pubs.
VERDICT: Disappointing except for the tractor.
WITHWINE & I'S POST:
I took the liberty of finding the original Daily Mail review:
Withnail and I is a sad depiction of British life. In a part of Camden down so rife with alcoholics and drug abusers, and infested with immigrant Irish, that property prices have sunk so low it is being demolished a pair of hoodlums set out to rejuvenate themselves over a weekend in the country. Meeting with the character Withnail's uncle, a raging homosexual and probable depicable kiddy-fiddler, who at least has the decency to live in a nice house, although what all those vegetables are doing to the property prices one dreads to think, and people like him don't deserve to live in such nice houses, get the paedo out! Meeting with him they indulge in debauched and disgusting drinking practices and eventually end up with the key to a dishevelled shed of a house in the vicinity of Penrith, which itself is a rather nice and decent town full of upstanding citizenry, such as the Proprietor and Miss Blennherhasset, upon whose reputations it can be agreed there is not the slightest smear, good intrepid local businesspeople doing their bit for the community and helping keep the property prices afloat. Anyhow, these layabouts infest the cottage of their disgusting lecherous uncle, whose semi-respectable London life is belied by the atrocious conditions of his country house, reflecting the squalid and depraved nature of the man's mind, attempting to make friends with poachers, travelling tinkers and the like, the scum, the scum! Their boozy habits and the uncle's return result in a seething display of the worst of human filth and depravity, sexual, alcoholic and vicious in every sense! At least before they can do much damage the pair return to London, although despite being pulled over by the police for drunken driving without a licence Withnail is not hanged, drawn and quartered as he should be, string him up we say! At one point he wants to get hold of a child! Dirty pervert! Drunken disgusting paedophile! Lock them all up, lock everybody up! They're hurting the property prices! Hang the travellers, burn the perverts!
At this point the author fell into an apoplectic rage, turned blue and did not regain consciousness for several days.