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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD region 2. Nucleus Films.

Some Like It SexyOriginally released as Come Back Peter, this 1969 film doesn’t promise much, being stuck between the swinging cinema of the Sixties and the sex film explosion of the Seventies. And the opening scene seems to confirm all your fears – Christopher Matthews (of Scars of Dracula ‘fame’) driving around London in a sportscar, looking for a naïve young chick to pull like a poor man’s Alfie – though Matthews is no Michael Caine. In fact, he’s not even a Robin Askwith, coming across as thoroughly unlikeable.

But things start to slowly become a lot more interesting. There;s no plot as such – instead, we get a series of episodic sequences where Matthews visits a different woman and has some sort of sexual adventure. So far, then, typical of the British sex comedy. But this is rather different. For a start, it’s not a comedy. And there’s no real connection between the scenes, other than Matthews delivering a gift (that always stays wrapped) to each woman. But his clothes change from scene to scene (though they remain, for the most part, some of the most heinous fashion faux pas you’ll ever see), as does his personality – one moment he’s cocky and confident, the next nervous and unsure.

It’s after a few of these scenes that you begin to realise that this is something rather impressive. Matthews seems little more than a prop – a featureless, characterless figure who is little more than a mirror to the various female characters. His partners include Twins of Evil stars Mary and Madeline Collinson (who have a surprising and somewhat tasteless incestuous lesbian scene), feisty black singer Valerie St Helene, hippy stoner Annabel Leventon), man-hungry MILF Yolande Turner (and, by implication, her daughter played by a young and fully clothed Madeline Smith) and down to Earth Salvation Army officer Nicola Pagett. If it wasn’t for the shots of him selecting gifts from a briefcase full before several encounters, you could easily think that this was Matthews playing several different characters… and in a way, he is. I won’t spoil the final twist, but it does allow the preceding film to make sense (including ths shots of chopping meat that had accompanied each scene in a none-too-subtle metaphor - or so it seems).

Writer / Producer / Director Donovan Winter manages to make this film much more than it deserves to be. With a fascinating music score (a soundtrack album would be great) that mixes then-current pop hits, classical and original music into bizarre sound collages that are years ahead of their time and remarkable visual flourishes – the hippy sequence is both seductively and nightmarishly trippy, and edited so frenetically as to induce seizures – the film frequently transcends its sex film origins to become more like an experimental arthouse /underground film. The scene with the aggressive St Helene is strangely reminiscent in feel (if not explicitness) of Lasse Braun’s Sensations, while the closing sequence with Pagett is a classic slice of kitchen sink reality.

Some Like It Sexy This version is the ‘overseas’ edit, which means more sex – you’ll spot the inserts easily, not only because they are more explicit (though still softcore) but also because the bodies frequently don’t match. You can also tell where non-insert sex scenes were extended, as they scenes in question often have a closing shot where the original edit would be before carrying on with the rudeness. Given that British sex films of this period tended to have most of the nudity removed, let alone any sexual activity, it’s hardly surprising that these ‘continental’ edits were essential. Now, the extended sex scenes actually seem to get in the way, and are about as sexy as a steak and kidney pie - though I'd still rather have them included than missing.

Saddled with it’s dreadful and misleading retitle, Some Like It Sexy won’t do much for you if you’re expecting a Confessions… style romp. But if you want to see a fascinating and unique late Sixties artefact, you’ll be more than happy.

Nucleus have packed this DVD with extra goodies too – a 37 minute, oddball effort from Winter called Penny for Your Thoughts, where young men and women gabble on about boyfriends and girlfriends, backed to the sounds of Swinging London, is a remarkable bit of cine-verite that is probably a more authetic slice of life than most Sixties documentaries and, impressively, George Harrison Marks’ Halfway Inn, a late Sixties black and white softcore movie, originally released on 8mm and starring the Collinson Twins as a pair of naughty maids confusing some poor Peter Wyngarde lookalike as they take turns bedding him. Given how poorly the Harrison Marks collection is being distributed (or more accurately, buried) right now, I hope Nucleus or some similar label can snap up the rights to more of these buried treasures for DVD release.

Finally, the disc contains a PDF of Winter’s unpublished autobiography – I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but how can it not be fascinating?

So, a splendid disc all round and well worth picking up.





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