Withnail And I Starring: Richard E Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths Director: Bruce Robinson The film: 'A badly shot film with brilliant dialogue,' was how director Bruce Robinson described this semi-autobiographical cult movie he scripted about two out-of-work actors who 'go on holiday by mistake'. Robinson's glib comments on the film's technical drawbacks could perhaps be put down to a first-time director's self-deprecation. Such an attitude would have been worthy of Marwood, played by Paul McGann, the 'I' of the title. Richard E Grant plays the tortured, self-obsessed Withnail, the drunken doyen with the ready Shakespearean soliloquy and insult who gets the equally eloquent Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths) to lend the duo his cottage for the weekend. From a bitterly cold and pre-gentrified Camden Town of 1969, they begin their misadventure with a journey north from London in a bid to escape what was becoming a calamitous comedown from drug abuse. One incident in the hellish bedsitland environs sees McGann imploring Withnail not to imbibe lighter fluid because he 'shouldn't mix his drinks'. Indeed, the dialogue carries the film and devotees won't be disappointed with the chance to select those verbal gems for pause and repeat. 'If I spike you, you know you've been spoken to,' as Danny the Dealer warns Withnail. Monty's unrelenting reflections on his days as a gay but unfulfilled undergraduate at Oxford also deserve praise. Certainly the script is peppered with phrases that have now taken their rightful place in the canon of barbs spouted by those who have come to adore this black comedy. Misadventure in the plot is rife as the pair struggle in a rural abyss with the deplorable Withnail incurring the wrath of the poacher, farmers, policemen, the long-suffering Marwood and the Penrith Tea Rooms. Had Robinson's script for The Killing Fields not been nominated for an Academy Award, this dour but often hilarious cult classic may never have seen the light of day. Robinson went on to cast Grant as the lead in How To Get Ahead In Advertising (1988), while McGann later portrayed equally earnest characters in quality British TV dramas. An ear for dialogue would help as the film was recorded in mono, so those expecting arena sound on home entertainment systems may be disappointed. But Withnail would have had a suitable rebuff at hand. The extras: A free poster by British political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe. However, the use of his seemingly slapdash pen on the menu obscures the viewer's navigation. There is a magical trailer for the film, perhaps aimed at an American audience, which plays up English eccentricity and 'the countryside'. Later versions of the DVD contain the Withnail And Us documentary made in 1999, featuring interviews with Robinson, McGann and Ralph Brown whose character Danny invented the 'Camberwell Carrot'. Terribly, Griffiths (Monty) is not included.