- AS NATURE INTENDED / SECRETS OF A WINDMILL GIRL
DVD region 0. Odeon.
latest double bill of British sexploitation movies from Odeon
features on of the genre’s defining moments along with a
worthy historical document of the 1960’s London striptease
While not the first British nudist film, Naked –
As Nature Intended is the most important of the genre,
raking in a fortune on initial release and helping cement the
reputation of director George Harrison Marks, already notorious
for more or less inventing the glamour business in the UK with
his nudie photos, magazines and 8mm movies – all of which
are considerably sexier than this movie.
Hamstrung by censorship rules that still restricted cinematic
nudity to situations where it was ‘natural’ and non-sexual
(ie nudist camps and beaches), Harrison Marks was forced to pad
out his made-up-as-it-went-along story with lengthy travelogue
footage of wholesome young girls doing wholesome things on a trip
around Cornwall. These girls are regular Harrison Marks models,
including his partner and muse Pamela
Green - Britain’s Bettie Page
– and eventually… finally… they find themselves
on an isolated beach where they strip off and frolic in the sand,
before making their way to famed nudist resort Spielplatz, where
they hobnob with a bunch of elderly and saggy naturists, looking
decidedly out-of-place next to the generally unattractive (and
authentic) sun worshippers.
predictably, Pamela Green outshines her fellow models in this
film – her vivaciousness outshining the other models, who
were clearly hired for their willingness to strip off rather than
any acting ability. Her appearance during the opening titles,
striding confidently topless across the beach towards the camera,
is striking stuff, and most welcome, given that for the next half
an hour or so, the film is rather like one of those tedious travelogue
fillers that used to clog up cinemas as the ‘full supporting
feature’. God knows how sexually frustrated audiences in
1961 put up with it – but I guess back then, people would
sit through anything for a glimpse of nipple.
Naked – As Nature Intended is an important
movie, and worth owning for that fact alone. Modern audiences
might find it amusingly kitsch too.
Also very much of its time is Secrets
of a Windmill Girl. Director Stanley long had filmed
the final night of the legendary nudie revue club The
Windmill in 1964, the once famous venue no longer able to
cut it against a world of strip clubs. Realising that there wasn’t
enough footage for a straight documentary, Long and producer Arnold
Louis Miller concocted a ridiculous melodrama to wrap around the
footage, with childhood friends Pat (Pauline Collins) and Linda
(April Wilding) getting jobs as Windmill Girls. While things are
good for a while, Pat soon becomes a victim of success, thinking
herself above the show and hanging around with a sleazy old theatre
producer, attending ‘wild’ parties and eventually
finding herself reduced to the sleazier end of the strip scene.
is all narrated in flat monotone by Wilding, intercut with extensive
footage of the Windmill show – by now having moved on from
the static nudes seen in Mrs Henderson Presents
to teasing fan dances, terrible comedians and iffy musical numbers
– staid stuff even in the mid-Sixties (though ironically
still more daring than most modern burlesque).
Secrets of a Windmill Girl is part of a great
British sexploitation tradition – grim-faced, moralising
and ultimately depressing. I’m not sure why producers assumed
that audiences attending sexy movies needed to be told that such
behaviour would lead to a sticky end, but clearly they did.
Viewers of a certain age will be amused to see not only future
TV star Collins, but also TV sitcom favourite Martin Jarvis making
an early appearance. Collins, it must be said, is better than
the film deserves – she’s an effectively saucy little
minx for much of the film, and her decline into delusional, angry,
dead-eyed stripper is delivered with a worrying sense of conviction.
Backed up with several Brit sleaze movie trailers, this is another
splendid pairing, essential for connoisseurs of British sleaze
and adventurous movie viewers everywhere.
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