Friday, 1 July 2011

Secrets of a Windmill Girl


'Secrets of a Windmill Girl' promises much, but delivers little, unless, of course, you’re interested in seeing lots of footage of second rate variety acts and the odd slightly saucy dance. It’s a hard film to dislike, however, as its idea of what’s daring is just so quaint and dated.

War Paint.


Two lumps?

The Windmill Theatre is a London legend – the first place in the capitol where you could legally see a naked lady, albeit a static one (the obscenity laws prohibited movement) – one of the few theatres which refused to close during The Blitz – a place of entertainment where thousands of famous and not so famous faces came and went on their way up or down or into oblivion.



A 16 year old Dana Gillespie, everything ahead of her.

The Revue ran from 1931 to 1964, and elements were reconstituted to form the bulk of this film. There’s a mediocre comedian / magician, a chap who almost sings bawdy songs, a man who plays the bongos and sings as diaphanously clad girls flit before him. My favourite act is the middle aged baritone who takes off a series of girl’s coats revealing their lingerie clad forms beneath, all the while reminding them to forget all this equality and learning and world stuff as ‘your business is love’. Every now and again, there’s a close up of one of the dancing girls and you realise that you can just about see one of her tits, and you’re reminded exactly what sort of establishment this is.



Bongo Man, Diaphanous Girl
Wrapped around this endless trite footage is a story about two childhood friends who go from bunking off school to dancing in the chorus at The Windmill. Linda is sensible and ends up in the West End with equally boring Martin Jarvis by her side, but Pat becomes conceited and is punished for getting above herself by being gang raped at a party before descending from theatre to strip joint to stag night to screaming nervous breakdown and, finally, a sudden, drunken death in a car crash. It’s your standard cautionary tale made odd by featuring comfy family favourite Pauline Collins as the ill fated Pat, and rendered even odder by the fact that she’s a sympathetic and actually rather sexy lead. 



The Innocents.
 

A Veil of Madness Descends, or something.
 

Bouffant; Bra; Blokes; Breakdown.


The BASTARDS.
Sadly, the most effective sequence is probably the most graphic element of the entire film. If you’re really sensitive this may be a problem, but this is smut, not porn; exploitation not hard core, so it’s all implied and all pretend and, ultimately, pretty daft.

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