6.3/10
971
15 user 8 critic

Personal Services (1987)

R | | Comedy | 15 May 1987 (USA)
The story of the rise of a madame of a suburban brothel catering to older men, inspired by the real experiences of Cynthia Payne.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Scandal (1989)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Based on the Profumo Scandal of 1963, an affair between an exotic dancer and the Minister of War shakes up the British government.

Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Stars: John Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Bridget Fonda
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Realistic story of working class Yorkshire life. Two schoolgirls have a sexual fling with a married man. Serious and light-hearted by turns.

Director: Alan Clarke
Stars: Siobhan Finneran, Michelle Holmes, George Costigan
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In a staid English seaside town after the Second World War, young Lynda grows up with her widowed father and younger sister. Rebellious Lynda has been swearing constantly from an early age.... See full summary »

Director: David Leland
Stars: Emily Lloyd, Trudi Cavanagh, Clare Clifford
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In post-war Britain, food rationing continues, leading a married couple to become involved in the flourishing bacon black market.

Director: Malcolm Mowbray
Stars: Michael Palin, Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A naive aristocrat in search of a career becomes caught up in the struggles between his profit-minded uncle and an aggressive labour union.

Director: John Boulting
Stars: Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, Peter Sellers
Tim (1979)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A somewhat mentally handicapped 20-year-old man works as a laborer, but everyone abuse his naiveté. A nice 40-year-old American woman hires him one day and they become close. However, the town and his family see her as predatory.

Director: Michael Pate
Stars: Piper Laurie, Mel Gibson, Alwyn Kurts
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In London, the twenty-seven year-old hairdresser Rita decides to complete her basic education before having children as desired by her husband Denny. She joins the literature course in an ... See full summary »

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Michael Caine, Julie Walters, Michael Williams
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The story of courtesan and dance-hall girl Emma Hamilton, including her relationships with Sir William Hamilton and Admiral Horatio Nelson and her rise and fall, set during the Napoleonic Wars.

Director: Alexander Korda
Stars: Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Alan Mowbray
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In a seaside village, a group of local young men mingle among the seasonal tourists in search of sexual conquests. Near the end of one summer, the leader of the group, Tinker, a strolling ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Winner
Stars: Oliver Reed, Jane Merrow, Barbara Ferris
The Blue Lamp (1950)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The daily routine of two London policemen is interrupted by a killer.

Director: Basil Dearden
Stars: Jack Warner, Dirk Bogarde, Jimmy Hanley
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Brian and Charlie (B & C) work for a gangster. When the boss learns they want to "leave", he sets them up to be killed, after they help rob the local Triads of their drug dealing profits. B... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Lynn
Stars: Eric Idle, Robbie Coltrane, Camille Coduri
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A British agent sets out to uncover the hidden facts behind a British government employee's suicide.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: James Mason, Maximilian Schell, Simone Signoret
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Christine Painter
Shirley Stelfox ...
Shirley
...
Wing Commander Morten
Danny Schiller ...
Dolly
...
Timms
Victoria Hardcastle ...
Rose
Dave Atkins ...
Sydney
...
Edward
Alan Bowyer ...
David Painter
Anthony Carrick ...
Edgar (as Antony Carrick)
Beverley Foster ...
Elizabeth
...
Mr. Popozogolou
Peter Cellier ...
Mr. Marples
...
Mr. Marsden
Stephen Lewis ...
Mr. Dunkley
Edit

Storyline

The story of the rise of a madame of a suburban brothel catering to older men, inspired by the real experiences of Cynthia Payne.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 May 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Henkilökohtaista  »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,744,164 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The only film directed by Terry Jones that he didn't write or star in. See more »

Quotes

[during a police raid on the brothel]
Jones: [to Lennox, a senior police officer] This is the woman and these are the premises on which I have kept observation over the last three months. This house has been operating as brothel during that time.
Lennox: You've heard the officer. What have you got to say?
Christine Painter: If I'd known he'd been out there all that time I'd have asked him in for a cup of tea.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The cast and crew credits are intermingled: successive screens of credits show snapshot photographs of the main characters and the actors who played them, and at the bottom of each screen a few random crew credits are included. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Madam Cyn's Home Movies (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Wedding March
(uncredited)
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Julie Walters not playing Cynthia Payne
12 October 2002 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This film has a preface that it is fiction, and though the writer David Leland was inspired by a book by Cynthia Payne - the infamous British Madam

  • this is not the story of Cynthia Payne. The disclaimer is repeated at the


end, and then we see that the production consultant was Cynthia Payne. Perhaps there was a legal necessity for Madam Payne and the film-makers to provide this escape clause, since the film's madam, named Christine Painter, was charged with possessing obscene material for gain and running a brothel.

What makes this madam's brothel different is that Christine's clientele is gentlemen over 40 with a taste for kink, though the bondage and discipline we see is very mild. You would have to be extremely prudish to be offended by such behaviour. What makes these scenes so funny is how ordinary the customers are, which only reinforces the hypocrisy of the laws that consider prostitution a crime, and the insight the "tarts" have into men's sexuality. I loved the line "When the balls are full, the brain is empty", and the madam's argument that wives would never be wanting for anything as long as they kept their men "de-spunked".

As Christine, Julie Walters delivers a brilliant comic performance. She is a no-nonsense uppity woman, constantly in motion, who has never cared for sex but enters into the business for economic reasons. The ads posted in a shop window are deliberately double entendre-d eg large chest for sale, french polishing available. Walters looks surprising voluptuous here though as she becomes more successful she starts to resemble a drag queen. When she attends her sister's wedding, there is a confrontation scene with her father, and we see what a fool he is for not appreciating her.

Director Terry Jones came from the Monty Python group but it is to his credit that the humor is not juvenile or in poor taste. Walters does have an odd scene where she is suddenly in an exotic location and spying on a couple having sex, another where a revolving camera glorifies her romantic fantasies, and the circumstances of a missed "normal" date hint at that old chestnut that whores are doomed to die lonely. But overall the tone is light and positive. Special mention is made of Shirley Stelfox as the stern "Nanny", and Danny Schiller as the maid with an undetermined sex.


13 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Popazokaloo JonnyTanna
what ever happened to julie walters son breakingaway28
Discuss Personal Services (1987) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?