It’s hard to know where to start with Romance with a Double Bass. I suppose one could call it a comedy of errors, but the error in question is skinny dipping. First John Cleese, as a musician, goes skinny dipping and then Connie Booth, as the princess whose betrothal ball he is engaged to play at, goes skinny dipping.
Suffice to say, complications ensue.
The majority of Bass is Cleese and Booth running around naked, occasionally hidden by forest foliage, often not. It opens as a proto-“Fawlty Towers” with Cleese getting perturbed with people… but then becomes something quite different. While awkward and uncomfortable, Bass is never absurd and it’s actually quite charming.
Director Young has some nice shots, but for the most time he just lets Cleese do whatever he wants and it works. It’s mostly Cleese’s show. Even Booth eventually disappears, letting Cleese successfully take the spotlight.
Directed by Robert Young; screenplay by John Cleese and Young, based on a screenplay by Bill Owen and a short story by Anton Chekhov; director of photography, Clive Tickner; edited by Gregory Harris; music by Leon Cohen; produced by Ian Gordon and N. David King; released by Cinema International Corp.
Starring John Cleese (Musician Smychkov), Connie Booth (Princess Costanza), Graham Crowden (Count Alexei), Desmond Jones (Musician Razmakhaikin), Freddie Jones (Maestro Lakeyich), Jonathan Lynn (Leader of the Orchestra), Andrew Sachs (Musician Zhuchkov), Dennis Ramsden (Prince Bibulov), John Moffatt (Majordomo), Kathie O’Donoghue (Princess’s maid), June Whitfield (Prince Bibulov’s wife) and Terry Nelson (Thief).