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Easily the most shocking British movie ever made!
On the face of it most saucy British sex films of the 1970s look pretty harmless today. Movies like 'Keep it Up Downstairs' (1976) and the legendary 'Come Play with Me' (1977) were released to UK cinemas with only the merest flashes of nudity and simulated sexual shenanigans mixed in with a barrow-load of silly jokes. However, in their export versions these naughty classics showed just about everything - the sort of hardcore sex scenes that would have made the British censor choke on his cornflakes!
In repressive Seventies Britain it was commonplace for the X-rated movie makers to produce 'two versions' of all their sex film productions. The American and Continental markets demanded much more explicit action in their sex movies, but one infamous British skin-flick went much, much further than all of its contemporaries.
Released in Britain in 1976, Derek Ford's 'Sex Express' ran for barely 50 minutes, but in its re-titled export version ('Diversions') the movie featured a further half hour of some of the most degrading, shocking and perverted sex scenes ever shot in the UK. Director Ford had previously dabbled in some pretty innocuous hardcore 'extras' for his movies 'Commuter Husbands' (1972) and 'Keep it Up Jack' (1973), but he went beyond the pale for his latest sleazy epic.
The story follows the extreme sexual fantasies of lissom beauty Heather Deeley. Miss Deeley, who had been working in the adult industry since her late teens, had already appeared in a few sex comedies, but 'Sex Express' gave her a first bite at a leading role and the movie proves what an excellent actress she was. Her cute-pie acting is as enthralling as her palpable sexual energy. She really is a force to be reckoned with and had she stuck around longer would have really given British legend Mary Millington a run for her money.
Sadly, Deeley disappeared completely from the film business in 1977 (further details are found in Simon Sheridan's excellent book 'Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema', published in 2001) and never capitalised on her immense talents. Who knows where she is now?
The full version of 'Sex Express' shows just how far a British exploitation director was willing to go to crack the overseas market. Aside form the very explicit heterosexual and lesbian sex scenes, the movie is chock-a-block with horrifying overtones of violence. In one sequence (completely missing from the UK print) Deeley and her co-star Jacky Rigby are forced into nasty submission by a couple of gun-toting Nazis and in the film's most unpalatable scene Deeley plays a man-hating rape victim who castrates her Soho pick-up (the ever-reliable stud Timothy Blackstone) post-coitus, and then does unpleasant things with blood and his amputated member!
It's impossible to go into too much detail here on the IMDB, but needless to say if you get to see the complete unexpurgated version of 'Sex Express' you won't believe your eyes. Without doubt it is one of the most shockingly dirty movies ever shot. And its all the more surprising because it's British!
Divine: Live at the Hacienda (1994)
A little goes a long, long way!
In the early 1980s transvestite actor/singer Divine toured England's gay clubs with his live act: basically singing along to Hi-NRG backing tracks, telling dirty jokes and answering questions from audiences who had never seen the like of him before on this side of the Atlantic. This is a short film documenting one such show, recorded at Manchester's legendary club The Hacienda in February 1983.
Divine, sweating profusely in a skin tight lycra dress (apparently 'rejected by the Queen'), performs a selection of his raunchiest numbers including 'Shoot Your Shot', 'Gang Bang' and the seminal 'Born to be Cheap', but try as he might the English audience here seem dazed and confused by his act, defiantly standing in front of the stage with their arms crossed and looking distinctly miserable.
'You filthy English people' Divine screams, trying to goad them into life, but the unresponsive audience just look embarrassed. Eighteen months later the reaction would have been somewhat different as by July 1984 Divine had crossed over into the mainstream in the UK with his top 20 dance track 'You Think You're a Man' and he was a bona fide star. However, in this film Divine has to put up with a complete lack of enthusiasm from the club-goers who heckle him with comments like 'What does sh*t taste like?' Divine replies with crude one-liners, but it's amazing that he just doesn't storm off stage.
Despite being crudely made and directed 'Divine: Live at the Hacienda' is actually quite funny in an awful kind of way. It proves beyond doubt that, in the face of adversity, Divine was a true professional.
Miss Bohrloch (1970)
A little goes a long, long way.
Several years before legendary British glamour actress Mary Millington finally hit the big time in 1977's 'Come Play with Me' she had appeared anonymously in a dozen or so 8mm 'stag' films shot both in London and on the Continent. Most of these mini-epic were directed by X-rated pioneer John Lindsay. Their first film together was the, now infamous, 'Miss Bohrloch' in 1970.
Mary plays the insatiable title character, a prostitute working out of an apartment in downtown Frankfurt. When two (unidentified) long haired hippies turn up for sex she entertains them both individually and simultaneously, going through her full repertoire of sexual acts. For such a short film - it runs for barely 15 minutes - 'Miss Bohrloch' is a highly charged erotic extravaganza, relentless in its portrayal of raw sexuality and untamed lust.
Extremely explicit for its day (the film's most talked about sequence involves Mary's bizarre trick with a ping-pong ball!), John Lindsay's award-winning direction is taut and unfussy, combining stark close-ups as well as the bare bones of a plot. The funny pay off at the end, when Mary makes her clients do her washing-up in lieu of payment, recalls to mind all the cheap jokes so prevalent in later British sex comedies of the seventies.
'Miss Bohrloch' is perhaps Mary Millington's rarest film and it remains a collector's item, only occasionally available in bootleg form. It's certainly hard to find, but once seen is never forgotten.
Keep It Up, Jack (1974)
Sue Longhurst has never been sexier!
As saucy British sex comedies go this certainly ain't the best, but what makes 'Keep it Up Jack' so eminently watchable is the central performance by beautiful actress Sue Longhurst. Blonde bombshell Sue was one of the UK's premier beauties during the Seventies and this movie show her off at her most delicious and alluring. An early scene of Miss Longhurst writhing around on her silk bed sheets is frankly eye-popping and thereafter Sue doesn't miss an opportunity to strip off and display her stunning curves.
Despite being supported by an able cast of fellow lissom lovelies like Linda Regan, Jenny Westbrook and top-heavy Veronica Pieters, Sue makes this movie her own and shines in every one of her scenes. She's a fine actress, absolutely adorable to look at and is one of the sexiest British stars ever!
Billy's Tale (1996)
An excellent adult fairy tale!
In this all-male porno re-telling of the 'Cinderella' story young Chet Roberts (in his only film role) plays poor, put-upon Billy. With his slight skinny build and quietly spoken manner, Roberts is quite unlike the usual Falcon Studios model, but he's very believable in the role and successfully holds the action together. Instead of two ugly step-sisters Billy is persecuted by his three hunky step-brothers: butch Trent Reed, pretty-boy Erik Houston and massively endowed Glenn McAllister. The siblings spend all day slobbing around the house in their Calvin Kleins and their idea of fun is continually sexually tormenting their little brother.
Billy only finds happiness when he is rescued at the roadside by a handsome Prince, played by straight porn-star Johnny Utah in his best gay role. Their climactic scene together is scorching and Utah truly is a sight to behold. There are also good supporting roles for Jake Andrews, Greg Ross and Kristine Wells (the latter as the kindly fairy godmother).
With faultless direction from Steven Scarborough, a plethora of memorable turn-ons and a certain degree of poignant moments too, this is an unbeatable 90's Falcon classic!
Doing Rude Things (1995)
An alternative history of British cinema!
This is a brilliantly funny history of British sex films, based on the book by David McGillivray, and presented in droll, tongue-in-cheek fashion by Angus Deayton. McGillivray himself appears in the documentary and his withering comments about X-rated films are at odds with the stars and directors of the movies, who are also interviewed, and celebrate their dubious contributions to cinema history.
Highlights include lusty sex film starlets Sue Longhurst (the female star of 'Confessions of a Window Cleaner') and saucy Anna Bergman recalling stripping off in the Seventies; Robin Askwith interviewed at Shepperton Studios and veteran nudie-film director George Harrison Marks remembering how he passed off nakedness as 'healthy living' to the British censor, just to get his movies shown on the big screen.
It's terrific to see the old faces back again and the archive clips of long unseen saucy classics like 'Eves on Skis', 'Eskimo Nell' and 'Naked as Nature Intended' are cherishable. This is good clean fun in the all-together!
Butterflies Reunion Special (2000)
Nearly twenty years after the original series finished, the classic British sit-com 'Butterflies' was finally brought back to the television screen...but all too briefly! Presented as part of the BBC TV's 'Children in Need' charity telethon in November 2000, the original 'Butterflies' cast reunited for one night only (apart from Michael Ripper who had died earlier in the year). Viewers learnt that wonderful wife and mother Wendy Craig (as Ria Parkinson) was still dissatisfied with marriage to her long-suffering husband, played by Geoffrey Palmer, and enjoying discreet meetings with her secret paramour, Leonard. After all those years the show still worked wonderfully and Carla Lane's writing was as sharp and funny as ever. It was a crying shame that the one-off special lasted for only 15 short minutes. It proved, beyond doubt, that 'Butterflies' is ripe for a return to the screen in a brand new series. More please!
Food of Love (1997)
One of the worst British films I have ever seen.
In recent years there has been a lot of press coverage regarding appalling feature films which have been funded by the National Lottery in the UK. Dozens of movies, made only because they have been supported by lottery grants, have flopped spectacularly at the British box office. Writer-director Steven Poliakoff's 'Food of Love' is one such film. It displays all that is wrong with the British movie industry. Why was such a boring, badly scripted, uncommercial film like this EVER financed? It's almost like Film Four wanted to make produce an uninteresting, unprofitable, unfunny movie. Well, they certainly succeeded.
'Food of Love' is chock-a-block full of mawkish dialogue, poor characterisation and tiresome acting mixed with an implausible storyline. It is nothing short of appalling. The normally brilliant Richard E. Grant is annoying and far too self-aware of his sub-standard performance; veteran actress Sylvia Sims is totally wasted and the rest of the cast are abysmal. None of the characters have any sort of real motivation for how they behave. At one point, one member of the cast buries his personal computer in a field (for no reason at all), then later regrets what he's done! It makes no sense.
The film's finale is awful, but it comes as a blessed relief. I would challenge anyone to actually enjoy this movie. It's just dull, self-indulgent, middle-class pretentious clap-trap and Poliakoff should be ashamed of himself.
The Captain's Table (1959)
Good fun, but hardly a classic Richard Gordon adaptation
Silly comedy based on author Richard Gordon's first book. Gordon is best known as the creator of the 'Doctor' novels, some of which were successfully filmed for the big screen between 1954 and 1970, as well as spawning a seventies TV sitcom. 'The Captain's Table' is very much in the same style: a few near-the-knuckle gags, lots of pretty bikini-clad girls and a veritable host of old English stereotypes.
Naughty vicars, camp stewards, sexy popsies and batty old ladies abound, but despite a super cast of comedy legends like Donald Sinden, Richard Wattis, John LeMesurier and Miles Malleson, the movie lacks any real fizz and fails to be even half as funny as its 'Doctor' cousins. Lead actor John Gregson is no match for Dirk Bogarde or Leslie Phillips, but Carry On star Joan Sims enlivens the proceedings with a cute cameo as a frumpy spinster.
Worth a look, but don't expect too many hearty laughs.
Montreal Men (1993)
One of Kristen Bjorn's best!
'Montreal Men' is one of actor-turned-director Kristen Bjorn's finest moments. Set against the stunning backdrop of Montreal in Quebec, the four unconnected stories make great use of locations and 'real' looking performers. The undisputed star of the movie is hugely-endowed actor Rod Majors, (in one of his earliest roles) as a sexy streetwise hustler. In the opening story Rod and his partner in crime, Claude Jourdan, break into a luxury penthouse and go hard at it. When the owner (Luc Cote) arrives home the look of horror on his face is is hysterical! But before long Cote soon joins in. A fabulous looking-movie, beautifully photographed and very sexy. The ridiculous French language dubbing proves to be the only distraction, otherwise the film is superb!