Breaking of Bumbo (The)

Format: DVD


Strangled by its own studio at birth, The Breaking of Bumbo is a curiously compelling tale of boredom, change and the straitjacket of responsibility. The disarmingly cherubic Richard Warwick gives a subtle central performance as a newly commissioned officer in the Household Brigade, idling his way through a life consisting of equal parts ennui and obligation until he bumps into a big-haired vision in red snakeskin trousers (Joanna Lumley) and her eccentric coterie of trendy friends at a performance art-style protest. This fascination with the fairer sex and its accompanying lust-related blindness unfortunately gets the better of him and he ultimately puts both himself and his career at risk for the sake of what anyone with a clear head could easily see are a ragbag of insufferably trendy champagne anarchists in need of a good slap.

The Breaking of Bumbo

A stylish mixture of Swinging London (the fag end thereof), the late '60s protest movement and the inflexible duty of military life, Bumbo is tinged with the same sensibilities as Lindsay Anderson's if...., though nowhere near as nihilistic, and features an excellent soundtrack showcasing the Graham Bond Organisation, Chris Ellis and a toe-tappingly jaunty theme (Red is London) from Jean Hart. Though things got as far as creating posters and brochures - and a trade exhibition with limited screenings in September 1970 - Bumbo was cruelly denied a theatrical release by EMI on the grounds of uncommerciality and didn't surface anywhere until 1975 when it was aired on BBC-2 on 17th August. It has only received intermittent screenings ever since so this DVD release should redress the balance and finally show how wrong EMI were.

Steve Rogers

The Breaking of Bumbo


Richard Warwick and Joanna Lumley star in this sexy, exuberant social satire charting the travails of an angry young man reacting against his environment. Adapting his bestselling novel, director Andrew Sinclair draws on his own youthful experiences: The Breaking of Bumbo is a time-capsule portrait of military rigour competing with the era’s burgeoning sexual and social freedoms, set against explosive scenes of Swinging-Sixties London. Denied a theatrical release by EMI and only intermittently shown on television, The Breaking of Bumbo is presented here uncut in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements and in its original aspect ratio.

Bumbo Bailey, a newly commissioned Ensign of the Household Brigade, becomes quickly bored with the social life this entails. This boredom is rudely shattered when he falls in with the luscious Susie and her friend Jock, bourgeois revolutionaries whose principal occupation is organising anti-war demonstrations. Sensing Bumbo’s general dissatisfaction with everything they try to manipulate him into a course of action which could have dire consequences for his future.

[] Full frame as-filmed version of main feature
[] Original theatrical trailer
[] Image Gallery
[] Promotional material PDFs

The Breaking of Bumbo

Number of Discs
1.66:1 / Colour
Mono / English
2 / PAL
90 mins approx