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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD. Odeon.

Nudes of the WorldOdeon continue their admirable resurrection of British sexploitation cinema with this pair of very obscure nudist films from Stanley Long and Arnold Louis Miller, two of the pioneers of the genre.

Nudes of the World is by far the better of the two. After being accused of having a fake tan by fellow international beauty contest entrants, Miss England (Vivienne Ramon, in fact a Spaniard) introduces the girls to the joys of nudism, and before long, they’ve opened up their own resort in the grounds of a stately home, where they and fellow (real life nudist) guests enjoy such wholesome activities as a bonfire sing-along, splashing around in the pool and (you guessed it) volleyball. In a rare attempt to give a nudist film some narrative content, the local villagers don’t approve of such activities (moralising, NIMBY-like people living in an English village? What are the chances?) and are determined to put an end to such immorality, leading to a confrontation and new level of understanding.

Narrated in her best Blue Peter style by Valerie Singleton, Nudes of the World is entertaining enough, with its wholesome approach to naturism positively daring anyone to find it sexy. Censorship rules mean that this is probably the only nudist camp in the world where everyone wears a g-string – or nearly everyone; to show just what a different world 1961 was, while adult genitals are fully covered, children are shown completely naked. Seen today, this is a rather eyebrow-raising interpretation of decency.

The main cast are not entirely convincing as a group of international beauty queens (and interesting, the film’s equivalent to Miss World appears to take place in a holiday camp), but they seem very comfortable romping around topless and are generally easy on the eye, even if their acting is rather stilted.

In the end, the film is an amusing time capsule, and the damaged print – lines of dialogue are frequently truncated – actually adds to the retro charms of the film. Alongside Naked – As Nature Intended, this is probably the high point of the short-lived naturist genre, at least as far as British productions go.

Take Off Your Clothes and Live is less entertaining. Taken from the only available copy, the print is pretty awful – washed out and decidedly soft – and the film itself is pretty dull too, being little more than a sixty minute travelogue following a fairly uninteresting bunch of people around the South of France. It takes half the film for the clothes to come off (and those g-strings are again present), and throughout there is a relentless voice-over track involving all the characters - which conveniently saved having to get the actors to deliver dialogue, but is so mind-numbingly banal that I suggest turning the volume down and playing a musical track of your choice instead. In the end, nothing happens, there’s relatively little nudist footage and the poor quality makes it hard to sit through. I’m glad it’s on here, because it’s a significant part of British sexploitation history, but it should most definitely be looked at as an extra rather than an equal to Nudes of the World.





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