Monday, 30 April 2012

What's Good For The Goose

Have you ever wondered what Norman Wisdom's arse looks like? Want to see him frugging and fugging along to a group called The Electric Banana (The Pretty Things) in a swinging nightclub called The Screaming Apple? Check. Want to see him dressed as Austin Powers? Check. Want to see him cop up with a promiscuous dolly bird half his age? Check. And you want to see all of this take place against a backdrop of swinging Southport? KER-CHING! 'What's Good For The Goose' has it all, and so much more besides.

Little Norman plays Timothy Bartlett, a London assistant bank manager who has a home in the suburbs, a wife, three kids and a tank full of tropical fish. He seems to like the fish best, perhaps because they're the most exotic thing in his life.

When his boss dies suddenly, Timothy is expected to attend the annual conference at the Grand Hotel in Southport (it must be a fairly minor bank, there's only about ten of them there). Before he even gets there he has been accosted by two teenage hitch-hikers who spend the drive down messing about with his bowler hat, eating his sandwiches, licking his fingers and getting him done for speeding. He takes a shine to Nikki (Sally Geeson, in her film debut), especially when she shoves her bare leg inbetween his and pumps his accelerator.   

When they get to Southport, they go their separate ways but Timothy finds himself thinking about Nikki throughout the day. In the evening, bored by the load of bankers he's supposed to be socialising with, he goes out to find her, eventually walking voluntarily into a psychedelic seaside world of free love, loud music, double whiskies and dancing like a monkey on a psychotropic banana diet. Little Norman looks so small and sweet and old as he jigs and jumps about, but then his most endearing qualities were always his total enthusiasm and the physical abandon he brought to every task. 

Timothy turns on.

Nikki can't help but be impressed by Timothy's sudden dedication to the cause of 'in' and the fact that he has a hotel room rather than a sleeping bag under the pier, so she decides to go back with him and, after quite a lot of unfunny messing about, including a flash of the Wisdom pubes, they finally have sex. Probably: we don't see any of that, it's not quite that sort of film. 

'Free spirits' always bounce on beds.

'You too can have a body like mine'

'Hurry up, before I change my mind, you twat'

The following day, Norman claims to be ill so he can spend the day with Nikki. They do pretty much everything Southport has to offer, from amusement rides to having it off on the sands to skinny dipping (cue arse). The whole sequence seems to prove what I had surmised it would be like to have an affair with a much younger woman: exciting, but extremely tiring. Give me a  woman who appreciates the value of a sit down and a nice cup of tea any day.


Norman auditions for 'The Godfather'.

Young love. With an old bloke.

'Mr. Grimsdaaaale!'

Timothy thinks it's love, of course, and goes out and buys a load of mod gear and rents a flat for him and Nikki to live in, only for him to quickly realise that the free and easy attitude to sex that led her to sleep with him also means that she will sleep with others. Crushed, he calls his wife and asks her to join him. 

Is that wise, Mr. Wisdom?

When Mrs. Bartlett arrives he basically takes her through a whirlwind induction to what's happening, baby, kitting her out in hot pants and groovy sunglasses and doing all the things he did with Nikki (although the pants stay on during the swimming this time, which is a relief). His wife is, of course, pretty surprised at his behaviour but strangely unsuspicious. Timothy's a lot more fun this way, and Mrs. B scrubs up pretty well, so they're both happy. As they head home, it's clear that life will go on in much the same way for them, but with far more sex and a hipper wardrobe. Result!

Mr & Mrs Bartlett, the oldest swingers in Southport.

'What's Good For the Goose' is a fairly harmless film, although a moderately more explicit version was released on (ulp) 'The Continent'. Much of its appeal, of course, depends on whether you like Norman Wisdom or not. Personally, I think he's great, although I prefer him with his kit on.

Already playing against type as a banker, Norman goes fairly off piste here, although he does it in his usual guileless, gornless, 'gumpy' way. It takes him literally five minutes to decide to cheat on his wife, for instance, but he never comes across as immoral or self-serving - it's just Little Norman getting his end away and, as long as most of it is left to the imagination, who could object to that?*

* The British public objected to it. Norman didn't appear in another feature film for 21 years.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Freudian Nips

Here's a short smutty sequence from a pseudo documentary called 'Mondo Freudo'. I hope that, in the unlikely event that I ever appear in a smut film, someone takes the time and effort to obscure my identity by scratching some of the celluloid away. 

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Water Melons

 Graham Crowden gets an eyeful. From 'Leo the Last'.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Friday Night Film: Leo The Last

‘Leo The Last’ is a supremely enigmatic film. Its message is, ultimately, fairly modest, and you get the feeling that you may be missing some of the pieces but its striking visuals and oblique narrative linger in your mind for a long while afterwards.

Directed by the great John Boorman, it stars a world weary, baggy looking Marcello Mastroianni as Leo, the deposed ruler of an unnamed European country. Exiled to London, he and his retinue move into a mansion at the head of a grimy, grey street with a large black immigrant population. The street was real, scheduled for demolition, and was painted grey to fit in with the film’s strict black – grey - white colour scheme – it looks amazing, adding immeasurably to the fantastic realism of the film.  

Leo’s father was a great warrior and national hero and, like many sons of great men, Leo isn’t required have much personality of his own, only to provide a facsimile of his dead Dad. He is withdrawn and disconnected from the rest of the world, and is more interested in birds than people.

His extensive entourage (including Billie Whitelaw as his cold eyed fiancĂ©e, bonkers Graham Crowden as his bonkers solicitor, and the marvellous Vladek Sheybal as his sinister, clever aide) are all eager to keep him docile, distracted and busy, so he is sent to a dinner party where the upper classes devour their dinner like animals, and to a strange hydrotherapy class where a load of fat, old people jiggle around in the water while chanting. (If you’ve ever wondered what an ample elderly nude bosom looks like unfettered and unrestrained underwater, then this is the film for you. If you’ve ever wanted to see what an ample elderly nude bosom looks like unfettered and unrestrained underwater, then you haven’t long to wait.)

Out in the grimy, grey street, however, real life (and death) is taking place among the black families struggling to survive, beset by rent increases, predatory bullies and rapists and tussles with the law. Leo graduates from watching them through a telescope to starting to move amongst them, but always as an observer, a stranger. He takes an interest in a particular family headed up by the young, charismatic Roscoe, and, when Roscoe is arrested, and Leo realises that the family are starving, he pays for a huge amount of groceries to be sent to them anonymously. Unfortunately, the elderly father, having gorged himself, has a heart attack and dies. In order to support the family, daughter Salambo turns to prostitution, so Leo ‘buys’ her and installs her in his house, not for sex, but for safety.

When Leo finds out that he owns every building in the street and that his prosperity is based on his tenants misery, he joins with Roscoe and Salambo and the rest of the tenants to fight against his own vested interests and defeat the petit bourgeoisie fanatically committed to preserving their slice of the pie.

In the (literally) explosive end, Roscoe says ‘well, you didn’t change the world’. ‘No’ Leo says ‘but we changed our street’. Not a bad start.

A really thoughtful, singular, artistic piece of work with good performances and great music (from Ram Jam Holder), I'd recommend 'Leo The Last' to any one able to get hold of a copy. If you happen to represent 'The Man' and you are reading this, UK DVD and Blu-Ray releases are long overdue, so please do something about it. I don't suppose you will, though, representing 'The Man' and all. Here's a clip.

Postcards from the Otter

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Robot Angst

Amazing how sprayed silver rubberwear can be so disturbing.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Sleazy 70s

'Ooh, one ticket for the special film, please'

Ironically, you can't really see her legs.

Sex blade? Is that sexy?

A hairy Danish pornographer.

The name of my new band.

Some lovely M & C type archive footage shown on 'The 70s' last night. What wonderful times they were.

I particularly like the 'Obscenity Wrapper' and it's clear message of 'if you don't like porn, you don't like sex, you nasty, shrivelled up prude, so jog the fuck on'.

In Blossom

To celebrate Spring having sprung (apparently), here's baby voiced jazz Miss Blossom (clever, eh?) Dearie. This is a pop rather than jazz side, but Blossom's world weary hip and existential cool shine through. If there's a lost sixties James Bond film starring David Hemmings, then this is the end theme.