For those not in the know Mary Millington was the UKs most famous adult film and magazine star. She was responsible for millions of magazine sales and is also one of the stars of the film which is credited as having the longer ever cinema run, 1977s Come Play With Me. A documentary about her life called Respectable chronicles her life, loves and battles with the anti-pornography movement spearheaded by Mary Whitehouse. Its well worth seeing.
Queen of Blues is the last film she appeared in before she is reported to have committed suicide, citing worries about going to jail, tax issues and police harassment. She ran her own sex shop in London where she would also serve her fans and customers personally. According to her documentary she would also sell under the counter materials which gained her the attention of the police resulting in raids however she was a libertarian and campaigned to make adult materials available at a time when the UK had the most draconian laws in Europe.
At the time of filming Queen of the Blues Mary was reportedly hooked on drugs and being arrested regularly for shoplifting, her mental health was unravelling. However there is nothing on screen that suggests any of this this was affecting her performance.
The film itself is basically a UK version of Teaserama, the Betty Paige movie. Its mainly consists of strippers or burlesque dancers if you prefer, doing their routines on stage to sort commercial disco while older men drink while they watch. This is roughly 60% of the movie which is only a min or so over being an hours length. There is very little dialogue or story. A stand up comedian also introduces the girls and tells jokes which are very much of their time.
The backstory is really paper thin and revolves around the club owners being pressured into paying protection money while a side story is concerned with one of the club owners trying to work over his hangups in the bedroom.
On release this was an X rated movie however its very tame by todays standards, some flesh on show but thats it.
Queen of the Blues is actually a good snapshot of a period of UK history with one of its biggest stars at the time. Its not a high quality movie but it is a good representation of popular culture, warts and all. Its also an important film as its the last outing for Mary Millington, who seems to have been forgotten by many despite the huge following she had during the 70s.
If you are curious about this time in the UK and have never heard of Mary, watch the documentary about her life and then watch her films. It certainly puts a different spin on it and a life as short as her dying at age 33 in such tragic circumstances should not be forgotten. Especially when she was part of so many peoples lives. (even if they wont admit it!)
Watch it for Mary!