Charlie, a young aristocrat in turn of the century England, meets a boy named Frank on the road to Portsmouth. What Charlie doesn't realize is that Frank is actually Frances, who's donned a disguise to escape working at a brothel. Charlie takes Frank/Frances into his home, and when he discovers her true identity, the two become lovers. He sends her to London to be trained by his mistress in the art of sex, but she learns much more about her identity as a woman. Before the opening credits, explicitly on-screen it reads: "Based on the famous Victorian erotic novel by an anonymous writer". Written by
One of the many anonymous 'erotic' novels of the Victorian age, 'Frank and I' comes to the screen courtesy of Gérard Kikoïne, with Christopher Pearson and Jennifer Inch essaying the main roles of master and servant. It doesn't quite come off, mainly because of the appalling acting of the androgynous Inch as Frank (or is it Frances?), with her baby girl voice and plain-Jane face. It doesn't help either that the main focus of the book (the submission-domination angle) is squished into one scene which fails to be really convincing.
The trailer for the film manages to be better than the main feature itself, and that's no mean feat. The Victorians knew how to write this sort of thing, but it doesn't necessarily mean that 20th century film-makers know how to portray it on the screen. 'Frank and I' manages to be quite limp, miserably shot and woefully scripted. Not one I'd particularly recommend.
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