Monday, July 05, 2010

SOME LIKE IT SEXY (1969/1972)

A British kitchen-sink male fantasy with a bad case of ALFIE envy, SOME LIKE IT SEXY has nothing to offer viewers apart from a handful of very pretty naked girls. Plotless pic by writer-producer-director-editor Donovan Winter began life as COME BACK, PETER in 1969 but apparently failed to set the world (or at least Piccadilly Circus) on fire. A few years later Winter shot more explicit footage to juice up a couple of the sex scenes and re-released the already dated movie under its more familiar moniker. This altered version was released in the U.S. in 1974 by Rumson Films under the title PETER'S PETS and then resurfaced during the summer of 1978 as AFTERNOON DELIGHT, courtesy of Boston-based sub-distributor Jud Parker Films (who evidently didn't realize they were two years too late to capitalize on the Starland Vocal Band's #1 hit of the same name). Other alternate titles include MODEL GIRL and TWINS, named after characters in the movie played by real life model Penny Riley and twin Playboy Playmates Mary & Madeleine Collinson, respectively. The VHS screened recently for a half dozen dozing Temple dwellers carries the computer generated title SEDUCER and runs approximately 76 minutes.

Christopher Matthews (THE SCARS OF DRACULA) brings little charisma to the part of Peter, a horny young bloke with a snazzy apartment, a closet crammed with mod-fashionable clothes and a sporty Jaguar he uses to cruise King’s Road for mini-skirted cuties (OF HUMAN BONDAGE can be spotted on a theater marquee during his opening joyride -- how old is this movie?!). The story, such as it is, follows him as he delivers gifts to his various girlfriends, including a wealthy cougar (Yolande Turner), a black jazz singer (Valerie St. Helene), a deep-toking hippie (Annabel Leventon), a sweetly sexy Salvation Army officer (Nicola Pagett from ANNA KARENINA and UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS) and the aforementioned twins and fashion model. A quick cutaway shot of a butcher slicing into a lamb shank follows each of the sexual trysts, which is all you need to know about this movie’s view of women. Winter’s outré handling of the Collinson twins is especially tasteless, as he apparently brought them back during the re-shoots to graphically enhance their lesbian incest scene, which had mostly been kept offscreen in the original COME BACK, PETER version. Karnstein cultists may want to seek out a copy of SOME LIKE IT SEXY for this reason, as well as for a brief appearance by Madeline Smith (THE VAMPIRE LOVERS), but it’s hardly worth the effort.

A completely non-ironic comment about ambition made by one character around the 70-minute mark comes across as laughable within the context of the lazy, tossed-off script. It also foreshadows the film’s surprise ending, where Peter is revealed to be a lowly butcher’s assistant with no fancy pad, no flashy clothes and no Jaguar to cruise around in, and all the women he’s been fantasizing about are presumably nothing more to him than customers on his delivery route (As a nod to the kitchen sink movement, the final shot is in black-and-white). I suppose this satisfactorily explains the crude butcher block cutaways, but it still doesn’t make the rest of the movie very appetizing.

Tech credits are barely adequate to start with and only get worse during the newer insert shots. Matthews’ naked body is noticeably hairless in one scene while in the next the viewer is subjected to a close-up of his body double’s incredibly hairy legs and buttocks pumping away atop a female form that’s supposed to be Riley. Even the original footage is hampered by poor continuity, as Matthews’ hair length and clothing seem to change every few minutes. From a purely American standpoint, I doubt audiences during the disco era thought much of the late ‘60s music (including "Build Me Up Buttercup" by The Foundations), dialogue (“Listen to that soul! Doesn’t it freak you out?!”), or the kaleidoscopic acid trip scene. When a boring, nearly 10-year-old British movie gets renamed after a pop song that topped the charts 2 years earlier, one no longer needs to question why so many drive-in theaters were shuttered by the close of the decade.

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