Monday, 28 May 2012

The Nine Ages Of Nakedness

Apart from presenting an endless cavalcade of mottled tits and bums, I believe this regular feature provides another important public service, particularly when it comes to daft fluff like ‘The Nine Ages Of Nakedness’: I watch it so you don’t have to.

George Harrison-Marks is a justly legendary figure in the field of British smut. Apparently the first person to ever use the word ‘glamour’ to describe porn, he had a prolific forty year career as a photographer and film maker which was dogged by controversy and legal tussles because of his insistence on pushing the boundaries of what was allowed.

Blatant advertising. How big is that packet?
‘The Nine Ages of Nakedness’ is not a boundary pushing film, although it does nudge thresholds of boredom. George specialised in short, no nonsense nudie films and, over the longer form, tended to pad out the flesh shots and simulated sex with very broad and unfunny comedy, and this film is a good example of just how tiresome and occasionally surreal a film can be when the film makers sense of humour is completely at odds with his audience.

Stone AgeTV.

Secrets of the Pyramids.

Grecian Bust.

Not sure what era this is.

Sue Bond's arse.

Max Wall's face.
George plays a man whose life is blighted by his apparently irresistible appeal to women. With anyone else this funny looking this would clearly be wish fulfilment, but, as he went out with the stupendous Pamela Green for many years, we can give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s not just him, though, he explains to a psychiatrist, it happens to all the men in his family, prompting a series of ridiculous tableaux in which George plays his ancestors across the millennia, reminiscing about  the Stone Age, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient China, the English Civil War, the 18th century, the Victorian era and, in an interesting twist, the Future. Perceptive readers will have noticed that’s only eight ages, as my copy was without a haunted house spoof which is missing from some releases, hence the lack of a title card. Super perceptive viewers will point out that they're forgetting the 1969 bits, so that’s ten ages in total. I think. It's a bit of a muddle, really. 

Cardew Robinson gets excited.

Britannia waives the rules.

Cardew Robinson makes my flesh creep.
The ages themselves follow exactly the same formula: topless women walk around in animal furs or kimonos or crinolines and are occasionally groped by blokes in the corresponding period costume. There is often an orgy scene, where groins are seemingly rubbed together, but there is no penetration or explicit sexual activity, although one of the ladies gets quite near a knob. Simulation is the name of the game, and a very tedious game it is. Into this basic format George turns up in a wig or a beard or both and proceeds to get into some sort of stupid panto type trouble with one or more of the semi-naked women. There is no penetration or explicit sexual activity, although all the ladies get quite near a knob. For long periods it seems as if the cast have forgotten they are making a film and are just lounging around after a bath. It's a tired non-event and the overall effect is of an endless sub-‘Crackerjack’ sketch with a nipple count and all the energy and fun extracted by force.

The Future.

Silver Lady.

The Special Effect.
On the plus side, some of the sets are quite good, especially the future one which inexplicably pairs banks of analogue computers with oversized facsimiles of the Lewis Chessmen (as in the past, the future fashion is for exposed chests at all times). Another positive is the appearance of Sue Bond as a comely, buxom wench who moons Max Wall. A short sequence set in the 18th century is perhaps the best bit, dispensing with the hilarious fannying about and just focusing on the female form. The rest is all pretty poor, although at least it’s not pretentious. I do wonder what the audience were anticipating, however, and how satisfied they would have been by what they saw: not interesting enough to entertain; not funny enough for a laugh; not sexy enough for a wank. I hope they  enjoyed their ice creams. Cor, the things I do for you...

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