Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Sin Of Lust

'The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins' is a 1971 comedy portmanteau looking at, well, I should think you can guess from the title. A staple of Sunday afternoon programming, the film is pretty dire - unfunny and laboured, and the all star cast, which includes Bruce Forsyth, Harry Secombe, Joan Sims, June Whitfield, Spike Milligan, Ian Carmichael and Leslie Phillips, all seem tired and desperately old. The whole undertaking is a rather depressing affair, conjuring up a beige and acrylic world a million miles away from swinging London, a tiny, petty place where buffoonish old people make fools of themselves while ugly, badly dressed people look on. Oh, and the animated linking sequences are shit.

The only interesting element is 'Lust', written by director Graham Stark, from an idea by Marty Feldman but with more than a dash of Galton & Simpson Hancock at its darkest. Harry H Corbett uses his defeated bloodhound face to poignant effect as Ambrose Twombly, a 38 year old man who lives in a bedsit and, yet again, is alone on a Saturday night.

Ambrose Twombley

'A light? Permit me'

Being firm isn't the problem, it's having somewhere to put it

Ambrose can't work out why he can't get a 'bird', especially as he knows so many much uglier men with one. He practices whipping out his cigarette lighter and carries foreign phrase books in the hope of snaring an au pair and is haunted by the knowledge given to him from ads and films and TV that, out there, somewhere beyond his crappy room, everyone else is 'at it'.  We don't see what cologne he wears, but it is clearly not strong enough to cover the reek of despair. Ambrose is lonely and needy, and these are not the qualities that women look for in a man, ugly or otherwise.

Now that's a pint!


Hanging around the tube entrance, vaingloriously passing comment on women who, unlike him, have someone in their life, he grasps an opportunity when he notices a nearby girl has been stood up. Squeezing into an adjacent phone booth he calls her number and improvises a story about being stood up himself. After some elaboration and no little deception, he pleads with her to meet him. To his delight, the girl agrees - but only once she has shaken off the man who's been following her and is currently in the next phone booth - a creepy bloke who looks like a's a cruel end to a sad vignette, especially as Ambrose's sin is not 'lust' at all, but loneliness.

Another crushing defeat

1 comment:

  1. Saw this years ago and found it crushingly sad. ta for the memory