Bank Holiday

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B. Adumtish's Bank Holiday is a movie directed and written by B. Adumtish, set in the swinging sixties, shot in monochrome. The film is detached from the context of the 'swinging sixties' and this may explain why the Puritan society awarded the film its Movie Prize in 1995.[1] The actors themselves had to declare a vow of chastity to Adumtish during filming, however this vow was breached several times, with as many as 28 actors all having played the same role of 'John Scherer' in the film. As such, these tensions did not help the director film consistently and smoothly.

The film tells the story of a family whose patriarch, John, is obsessed with banks. They go on holiday to an old bank in the City, and it soon turns into a disaster. Bank Holiday was Adumtish's second consecutive box office failure after Labor Day; an overly detailed and intrusive film documenting a 350 lb woman in childbirth.

Plot summary[edit]

The family head to the bank. After unpacking, Wyndham, John’s young son, finds a safety deposit box that contains thousands of dollars. The young boy is ecstatic, however, John who has now changed from being a tall, strapping WASP to a middle-aged, podgy Afro-American due to ‘casting problems’, informs the boy that these are Zimbabwean dollars, and that they are worth next to nothing, except as a collector's item.

"To Oxfam, for Spoils and Plunder (and second-hand books!")

The film resumes with John, who seems to have dyed his hair ginger, grown a beard and has reverted to slatternly dress. Wyndham, frustrated with the holiday location proclaims it to be "Bollocks" - and he is severely told off by John for swearing in a "holy place". The family then say a prayer to Hammurabi, who is thought to have been the inventor of the bank. Wyndham again begins to complain, wondering why there are no forms of amusement. His father suggests that he plays with one of the bank tills. Wyndham opens the till, and it rapidly rebounds shut, trapping Wyndham's fingers in the till. His father hears the cries of his son, and shouts "Nooooooo!" at the top of his voice. John runs over to the till, prizing it open, freeing his son's hands. He retrieves the torn, crumpled Zimbabwean dollars which were in Wyndham's hand when he got his fingers shut in the till, leaving his son in agony. He fears he may never find such exotic African currency again.

The family decide to unpack their belongings as best they can, and go out for a spot of sightseeing. John however, stays in, reading the latest book by John Galbraith. A robber, dressed smartly with a black balaclava, comes into the bank while the family are gone and holds the bank up. John explains there is little or no money here and that he is merely on holiday at the bank. The robber, whose mask falls off, is confused as to why John would go on holiday to such a boring place, and he starts to laugh at John. John retorts by pointing out that he must have been the only robber in history to rob a defunct bank with no money on the day it was shut. He remarks that the robber would have had better luck at a charity shop. The robber walks to the coffee machine to refill his water pistol, which has a leaky chamber, and sets off vowing to steal some second-hand Gucci suits from Oxfam.

The rest of the family return from their sightseeing. John asks if they visited any famous banks in London. Wyndham quips: "If we stayed in a tent, would you go around looking for famous tents in Piccadilly?". To ease the tension, John then suggests that they have a family game of Monopoly, which is packed in Wyndham's suitcase at the expense of extra clothes. John is angered during the game when his son remarks that he will trade all of his hotel on Regent Street for a clean set of underpants and socks. Janine wishes she was shopping on Regent Street. Wyndham tries to give his dad the finger but his fingers are still crooked from being snap shut in the till.

A few minutes later, the phone rings. John picks it up, and discovers it is a desperate man, who is threatening to kill himself unless the bank cancels the debts he owes them. John remonstrates and calms him down, explaining that the bank is defunct. The desperate man refuses to believe John. John then says he will "cancel the debt" if the desperate man answers an easy question. John asks the debtor: "What century did credit-banking come into being?". The man answers with the 5th century B.C., but John is unhappy at this wrong answer, the right answer being 4th century B.C. John, still teasing the suicidal man, says he won't cancel the debt as a result. The man ominously hangs up. Janine is furious at John for callously teasing the man and he responds with the distinctly mortal punchline: "Even Wyndham would have got that question right!".

Having gone to sleep on makeshift beds, the family wake up. Janine takes Wyndham out to go and get some clothes, John again remains behind. As he makes his way around to the coffee machine in the bank, a ghost, in the form of businessman appears. He speaks, and John realises it is the ghost of the man whom John taunted. He points a gun at John. The ghost agrees not to shoot him if he answers a question of a numerical kind. He asks John how many bullets he thinks are in the gun, and John responds with the answer of "None, because you probably shot yourself!". The ghost is angered, as this is the right answer, and agrees to no longer disturb John, but not before stealing off with John's "Famous Economists Sticker Manual", which vapourises along with the ghost as the apparition passes into another dimension. Janine and Wyndham arrive back, finding a distraught John. Janine sympathizes with John, who needed only two stickers to complete the collection. Wyndham is sad too, because the ghost has managed to annoy his dad with one measly theft more than he ever could in his whole lifetime.

John is distraught, and decides to leave the bank, the best withdrawal from a bank that John has ever made for his family. They agree that it has not been any real sort of holiday so far. The film then ends with the family walking out of the bank, and John check into a proper hotel.


5th century B.C? You're antediluvian my good man

The making of Bank Holiday was fraught as it was filmed on a budget of £10,000, which would not have even been a lot in the sixties. As it was Adumtish's script and his own money, there were no disputes over who the producer was going to be. [2]

Adumtish's wife Jennifer slept with several members of the cast, thus breaking her husband's strange chastity oath.[3] She had to be deterred from trying to chat up the child actor who played Wyndham. The sexual attention seemed to have accelerated the onset of puberty in the child, who was smoking, boozing, chasing ladies, and whinging incessantly about the unfairness of life by the end of filming. Thus, there were several violations of Adumtish's strange oath of chastity - however, he enforced such rules because of wanton behaviour in previous films. During The Mass of Michael actors and actresses committed so many sexual trangressions, causing the development of a new STD so powerful and virulent that it made AIDS seem like a symptom of good health. Similar episodes occurred in previous films. It was particularly ironic then, that Adumtish the staunch Puritan had such a reputation for sexually profligate episodes which he was indirectly responsible for, winning him the envy and admiration of many porn movie directors, another thing which angered him.[4]

Given the over-expenditure on the safe, Adumtish had to finance the actors who played their parts out of his own pocket: When it got to the end of the film, with Adumtish several thousand pounds in debt, the 24th-28th actors to play John settled for a day off once a week from filming such was the dismal atmosphere that surrounded production.[5] Filming took place at defunct banks around the U.K. and U.S.A. The directorial team tried to persuade local banks to finance the film in return for product placement in the film, but the bankers politely said 'Absolutely no way'.

Curiously enough, Panini, a publisher of sticker books, agreed to help the film out. In return, the film plugged Panini's Economists Sticker Manual, which is stolen by the ghost. It was revealed in an interview years later that Panini's financial contribution was not sponsorship, but the offloading of their unsuccessful sticker manuals (30000 of them) onto Adumtish, who then had to pay for them to be disposed after production was complete.

As mentioned before, 28 actors all played the part of John at various times, as many of the actors could not resist Adumtish's wife or other female actresses on the set. These changes, contributed to inconsistency in the film, and the make-up department were hard pushed to keep John a consistent figure throughout the film. Adumtish voiced his thoughts to a journalist after the premiere:

Interviewer: You thought it contributed to the inconsistency? Where did you find the rest of the actors?
Adumtish: Yes it definitely contributed - I think people started taking the role of John for the purpose of an easy shag.
Interviewer: That's what makes the film rather interesting. But tell me about your wife, and her role.
Adumtish: One question at a time. I found the first replacement where did I find him. That's a test of the memory!
Interviewer: Yes, indeed it is, though no more difficult to remember than say, your wife's date of birth.
Adumtish: Perhaps not as hard as that, but still taxing.
Interviewer: Certainly easier than 'Where is she at this minute'?
Adumtish: The first guy who played John was actually a top-class act.
Interviewer: Ah, so you would compare him with your wife then?
Adumtish: You're obsessed with my wife aren't you? Hang on! Don't I know you from somewhere?
Interviewer: Erm, no, no, not at all...
Adumtish: Yes I do! You were the 23rd actor to play John in my film!
Interviewer: Damn, you got me!
Adumtish: You're the only person from the production I've seen at the premiere so far...not even the 'Best Boy' came...well, thanks for coming!


Typical attendance at a screening of Bank Holiday. Not even the ushers stayed around

Adumtish's film provoked mass debate on its release.[6] Many came away from the film feeling confused about the rapid role-changing that some characters seemed to undergo. Its lack of continuity and general weak concept made many viewers dissatisfied. In addition, merchandising for the film fared poorly, and sales went so badly that Adumtish was reduced to holding a garage sale at his home, yet passers-by simply thought he was being evicted. Jay Leno invited the director onto his show to discuss and promote the film, even cancelling such high-profile guests as Samuel L. Jackson to make way for Adumtish. The interview was a disaster for Adumtish: Unbeknownst to him, Leno had invited all of the well-known film critics, Leonard Maltin, Barry Norman, Vincent Candy, David Edelstein and Kenneth Turan to read to Adumtish what they thought of his film, and the reviews were unanimously negative.

Ebert was a surprisingly warm reviewer, give it 3 out of 5 stars, noting its 'minimal use of photography to create maximum impact'. Indeed, the only camera on set was an antediluvian Nikon, aside from the two camcorders. Maltin wondered about where the film fitted into context of the sixties: "Where's the hippies? The libertine attitudes? Bank Holiday may as well have been filmed at a bazaar in Brunei for all its attention to the history of the time." Edelstein reported that the "Personnel in charge of costuming the actors suited their jobs as much as Jeffrey Dahmer would have suited undertaking at a funeral parlour". Turan, of the Los Angeles Times said that the father-son relationship in the film was as loving as the "relationship between Cronos and Zeus"[7] Turan also said that the film may have benefitted from having a "psychotic serial killer to spice the action up". Jonathan Ross said in his review that: "The film had the same amount of organization as a typical day at Heathrow Airport".

Indeed, such is the reprehensible reputation of Adumtish's film in Britain that the Brits no longer refer to Bank Holidays as Bank Holidays, but 'An Opportunity To Get Pissed'.


  1. The Puritan Society stressed that they had awarded the film not for its content, but because of Adumtish's insistence on upholding Puritan principles
  2. Adumtish almost gave up due to the stress of the job. He approached an amateur producer to take over his duties, but the amateur rejected his offer, fearing that he would glorify cinematic drivel and reflect on his own tastes
  3. She played no role in the film but was a constant fixture during filming
  4. Adumtish was a close friend of Mary Whitehouse
  5. Or an erasure from the credits
  6. Many disagreed on how bad it really was
  7. Need it be said that Cronos would make an underclass wife-beating husband look like the new, modern man after eating his children so they would not overthrow him as King of the Universe. Zeus, playing the dual role of son and social worker, made him throw them back up.