Saturday, 15 October 2011

Retro review: This - That and The Other! (1969) Stanley Long (aka A Promise Of Bed)

british sex comedy derek ford

A typical sex comedy from the early 70s? Not really, this is an trio of tales, directed by Derek Ford (co writer of the classic Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper film A Study In Terror, and director of Groupie Girl and What's Up Nurse/Superdoc) and produced and photographed by the legendary Stanley Long (think of almost any 70s sex romp). As was usual, the meddling distributors at the time changed the name to "A Promise Of Bed" to emphasise the bed = sex angle. From a purely British sense of humour point of view, I think the original This - That and The Other adds much more of a double entendre to the thing. Anyway, the DVD in Odeon's "Best of British" collection is now fully restored with the correct intended title.

dennis waterman sex comedyvanda hudson circus horrors
In the first part, "This", if you will, Vanda Hudson (Circus of Horrors) plays an over the hill actress desperate to get a role in the new film by a producer (Gordon Sterne - who would later turn up as David Kessler's dad in the dream sequence in An American Werewolf In London fact fans). So desperate in fact, that she seizes on the fact that the producer's son is a keen photographer.

vanda hudson circus horrors
When Dennis Waterman turns up to pick up the photography gear, she offers herself as a model, and much more. A fun little romp, this episode, with glimpses into what the Confessions.. films might have been if Waterman had accepted the role, before the legend that is Robin Askwith was approached. I think we had the right Timmy Lea in the end. Hudson is a wonderful MILF character and shows the most flesh of all the actress' in the film. (quite a game bird). The twist at the end of the tale is wonderful. 
vanda hudson circus horrorsdennis waterman sex comedy
In "That", Victor Spinetti is a depressed loner - who uses the speaking clock as company -who is just about to gas himself when his apartment is suddenly mistaken for a pad that is housing a 'happening' party. 

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The first unexpected guest is Vanessa Howard (Blood Beast Terror and Girly in Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girly), a quirky and likeable young thing. Seeing the way the flat is set up for his imminent suicide, she jumps to the conclusion that he has a 'suicide theme' for the party. So she insists every one who comes (and there are a lot of weirdo 60s types descending on his abode) dresses "as a suicide"
 alexandra bastedo sex comedy 
Amongst the rabble, are Alexandra Bastedo (fresh from The Champions) and the ever lovely Valerie Leon, who promptly jumps in the bath (for a drowning) and comes closer than ever to breaking her "everything but the nipple" rule with a nice see-through top. (see the following screen grabs for the dirty mac evidence)
 victor spinetti valerie leonvalerie leon in bathvalerie leon sex comedy
 "The Other" sees taxi driver John Bird (the famous satirist) sloping off to watch seedy films (not unlike this) in the cinema when he should be working. He then goes to pick up a fare, played by Swede Yutte Stensgaard (Lust For A Vampire). He begins to imagine her stroking his face, when in reality she's dropping off in the back. He promptly crashes the car, and she leaves, and he follows "'ere! Me fare! That's 25 bob!"

When he follows her, he arrives at a strange subterranean  house will a woman swimming in a pool visible through one window, and semi naked women appearing and disappearing at random. A suave hip looking guy smokes and looks on as a woman Cleo Goldstein (her only screen role) performs a sulty strip with hand print stickers on her body..
 nude dancerjohn bird sex comedy

A bizarre, surreal little episode this but entertaining never the less. You could almost imagine it being one of those Benny Hill interludes if he'd taken a ton of acid. 

While not one of the best or famous memorable of the 70s British sex films, it certainly is unique, and doesn't skimp on the flesh like some do. The common (tenuous) linking thread of the stories is how lives are changed sometimes by mistaken identity (although the final one is debatable as it's mostly fantasy). It's nice to see it presented on DVD in all it's luridly coloured glory.
7 out of 10

While on the subject of this type of film (a favourite genre of mine after horror) I can't recommend the books by Simon Sheridan highly enough. There's X-Rated: Adventures of an Exploitation Filmmaker, co-written with the legendary Stanley Long, and his own over view of the complete genre (and the final word on the subject, in my opinion) Keeping The British End Up. Both bloody good reads.

1 comment:

  1. Just came across your blog, thanks for the review. I just rewatched the "Other" portion of this movie, reconfirming my love for Cleo "Hands Girl" Goldstein. (It's movies like this that make me thankful I have a region-free DVD player, as it was never released in the US.) It blows my mind that Goldstein was never in another movie. If I had a time machine and some money I'd spin her out as the star of a slew of swanky softcore films!! I wonder what her story is, and what became of her?