Friday, July 30, 2010

The Endangered List (Case File #76)



THE SECRETARY (1971)

Starring
Josh Gamble (Dave)
Angela Gale a.k.a. Gale Sigmon (Ginger)
Jeryl Hensley (Pete)
Connie Strickland (Valerie)
Anne Lewis (Patti)
Redd Starr (Peaches)
Sandra Watkins (Girl in the Sauna)

Written, produced and directed
by
William Diehl, Jr.

A
Sagaquarius
production

A
United Film Organization
release

MPAA rating: R
Running time: 85 minutes

Filmed in Atlanta under the title DOUBLES

Also known as THE GIRL IN HOT PANTS

Pressbook synopsis: THE SECRETARY is a contemporary comedy-drama set against the background of rich southern elegance and the permissive swinging singles society of today. PETE (Jeryl Hensley) and DAVE (Josh Gamble) are ex-college roommates whose friendship has lasted through the years since graduation despite the fact that they live in two different worlds. Dave has parlayed a rich wife and help from a stuffy father-in-law into a life of elegance and affluence. Pete is the epitome of the irresponsible bachelor, living where the action is and making his living as a combination gigolo and tennis bum. Neither of them is satisfied and each secretly yearns for the other's lifestyle.

Dave's frustration peaks when he sees Pete enjoying himself with the GIRL IN THE SAUNA (Sandra Watkins) between tennis lessons. He confides that he is tired of being married to an "iceberg." Pete suggests an affair with Dave's secretary, the free-swinging GINGER (Angela Gale). Dave admits he's afraid to take the chance. "You can't start living until you try living," Pete tells him.

Dave finally accepts Pete's invitation to a night on the town at a swank new night club opening, although his wife VALERIE (Connie Strickland) is thoroughly put out by the idea. The evening begins disasterously with Pete and Valerie exchanging insults. On the dance floor with Pete's date PATTI (Anne Lewis), Dave sees his secretary Ginger turning every man in the place on.

Later, after one of their usual bedtime arguments, Valerie has a fantasy concerning Pete while Dave begins to consider the possibilities of an affair with Ginger. Pete, meanwhile, runs into scheduling trouble as his late dates begin to overlap, culminating in the arrival of PEACHES (Red Starr), a go-go dancer who appears at his door dressed only in a long scarf and black boots.

The following day Dave finally approaches Ginger only to find her more than willing to consider an affair with him. She seduces him in the office. Valerie on a shopping spree sees a tennis dress and her mind, too, begins to wander. She arrives at the tennis courts for a "lesson" from Pete which also turns into the beginning of an affair.

The free and easy life of the singles is quickly revealed to the married couple. But the excitement of it is short lived. The four people are finally trapped in the confrontation which leads to the explosive climax and surprise ending of THE SECRETARY.


TRIVIA: Writer-producer-director William Diehl, Jr. -- a former newspaperman for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as well as a freelance photographer and magazine editor -- made only one more film, ALL THE YOUNG WIVES (a.k.a. YOU ALL COME and NAKED RIDER), before turning his attention to novel writing at age 50. He later become known as William Diehl, author of Sharky's Machine and Primal Fear.


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