After two decidedly crappy David Sullivan productions in as many weeks, it’s good to get back to something halfway decent. Stanley Long isn’t exactly Truffaut, but he is a decent film maker with an eye for a good shot, and he at least tries to be entertaining and, unbelievably for this genre, manages to be interesting and occasionally educational.
‘On The Game’ is a documentary about the long history of prostitution, the oldest profession in the world bar caveman. It demonstrates this immediately by showing us two apes in a ‘2001’ like locale: the male ape has eggs, the female ape wants them, and so she presents herself to the male who gives her one in exchange for breakfast.
|A man pays to throw cakes at this ladies crotch. What a waste of cream.|
From there on in it jumps all over the place, from slutty Roman Empress Messalina to Victorian brothels where well to do ladies get serviced by lusty, rustic men to a WW1 German Field Brothel to the truly enormous fortunes accumulated by the world’s most famous courtesans, including one who inspired Paul Simon by having diamond on the soles of her shoes and one who inspired Art Garfunkel by charging up to a thousand pounds in old money for a blow job.
|'For what I am about to receive...'|
There are lots of still photos, some funny but not crass reconstructions, and a purred, literate commentary from the second best Blofeld, Mr. Charles ‘Mocata’ Gray. It’s all done well and with attention to detail. The Victorian scenes actually try and recreate a Victorian look, for example, rather than simply putting a top hat on a hairy 70’s bloke and hoping for the best. It loses a couple of points by featuring Edith from 'allo, allo' as a dominatrix, but regains these easily with a fantastically creepy sequence about S & M, kept necessarily short so as not to upset the generally lighthearted tone.
Ever aware of the constraints of budget film making, Long recycles parts of his earlier production ‘West End Jungle’ for a view of early 60’s whoredom, but even this is done subtly and sparingly, the footage blended in properly and proportionately. I won’t say ‘On The Game’ is classy necessarily, but it’s a different class to much of the shoddy tat we normally feature here. Nice one, Stan!
|The Mrs Brown's Boys pilot was very different in tone.|