Monday, 2 April 2012

Nudes Of The World

I honestly can't think of a film I've enjoyed as much as 'Nudes Of The World' for many, many years. There's something so brilliantly daft and endearingly naive about it that, when I wasn't laughing, I was grinning broadly and chuckling to myself in delight. It's that very rare thing: a life-affirming smutter. Okay, its message is delivered with all the daring and complexity of a Cliff Richard film, but it's a tremendous amount of fun and only an hour long to boot.

The great, the good and the bald gather to ogle and judge.

'Your colour is not - how you say - genuine?'
The film starts at an international beauty contest held in some shabby seaside town. The contestants (most of whom are pretty rough, if I'm being brutally honest) have come from every corner of the globe to stand in their swim suits and high heels in front of a largely impassive crowd, perhaps attracted by the quite amazing for 1961 prizes: £250 for third, £500 for the runner-up, a thousand quid and a sports car for the winner (Christ, I'd enter it today for that sort of incentive).

When the champion is announced as Miss England, however, things turn a bit sour - not because its obviously a fix, but because she apparently has a fake tan, and this is cheating (I hadn't noticed the tan, I just thought she had that post-war grubby look). Miss England patiently explains, though, that they are quite wrong - it's a real tan and, get this, it's all over as she is a keen - gulp - naturist. The other girls aren't shocked or appalled by this revelation in the slightest - on the contrary, they want to get involved and, before you can say 'Lady Godiva' they all agree to start their very own naturist club.

They build up to it with some bikini wearing, and the world's closest ever game of catch. Soon Miss England's brother and his mate turn up and decide that helping a dozen beauty queens set up a nudist colony might be a worthwhile use of their extended leave from the Navy, even though, in the films obvious attempts to disassociate naturism and sex, the boys quite often seem more interested in each other, no matter how much mottled flesh the ladies reveal.      

Trial Naturist session (girls mowing lawn out of shot).

Honestly, what's the point?
Miss England's brother's mate is well connected, and soon puts them in touch with Lord Greystone, who agrees to rent his grounds to them for three months whilst he is away on The Continent. The girls omit to mention the nudism bit, but they do agree to hold a fete and give half of the proceeds to His Lordship as rent, the other half going to a worthy cause.

The scene of the crime.

'The last one undressed is a fairy'

Two men having a perfectly natural, completely non-awkward conversation 

Here come the girls

In the time it takes to unzip a pair of Oxford bags, the boys are banging in pegs and twanging their guy ropes as the camp takes shape. When the girls arrive, they immediately strip down to their briefs and...wait a minute, briefs? BRIEFS? I thought they were nudists? Well, they're semi-naturists, really. No wangs, no fannies, just lots of dimpled arses and nipples. To be honest, in the long run, this is a bit of a blessing, as there are literally dozens of naked arses on display, of all sexes, ages and shapes, it's not a particularly edifying sight, so you certainly don't miss seeing their genitals (uncomfortably, the only real nudists in the film are children - strictly taboo today, of course, and rather wince inducing but it simply didn't have the same connotations fifty years ago).

After a few days of splashing about in the pool and endless, mandatory games of volleyball, the club hold their fete. This is a bit awkward as the local villagers refuse to come because they think what they're doing is 'disgusting'. This moral backlash has been whipped up by the Postmistress who is angry with the world because her daughter is disabled and she can't afford to send her to America to have an operation which will cure her. The fete drags in hundreds of naturists from all over England, however, and we are shown the most unusual spectacle of people enjoying a Punch & Judy show whilst just wearing thongs as well as that old favourite, barearsed Bingo.   

The fete is a huge success and, just as the villagers turn up in a small but angry mob, the nudist club reveal that they have made enough profit to pay for the Postmistresse's daughters operation, rather pissing on the outraged deputation's French Fries.

Lord Greystone returns and reveals that he doesn't mind that they've been tearing around his field in the nuddy because, get this, he's a naturist too and, if they'll excuse him, he'll rejoin them "when I'm more suitably dressed...or should I say undressed?"

'Nudes Of The World' was presumably pretty daring when it was released, certainly it was a hugely popular film which made an awful lot of money for the people behind it, repeat offenders Stanley Long and Arnold Louis Miller. Viewed today, it's wonderfully quaint, especially as its put together and acted rather like a school play, and I was totally charmed by it. It makes me smile just to think of it, actually, and that's very much a good thing, I'm sure you'll agree.  

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