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  Intimate Games Double FantasyBuy this film here.
Year: 1976
Director: Tudor Gates
Stars: George Baker, Felicity Devonshire, Suzy Mandel, Anna Bergman, Heather Deeley, Peter Blake, Chet Townsend, Edward Kalinski, Maria St. Claire, Queenie Watts, Hugh Lloyd, Joyce Blair, Johnny Vyvyan, Claire Davenport, Ian Hendry, Monika Ringwald
Genre: Comedy, Sex, Trash
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: Everyone has sexual fantasies, university professor Gottlieb (George Baker) informs his psychology students, from you to the man or woman on the street walking past you, it's a fact of life. And they do help most people get through the day, as if they could not retreat into their thoughts then they would find it far more difficult to cope with the frustrations of their lives, but we should also be warned about these fantasies too. That is because if you let them dominate your mind, you can go around the bend, not something that could happen to a sober academic like Professor Gottlieb, oh no, though he has to point this danger out to these students on their latest assignment...

With an introduction like that, you might expect writer and director Tudor Gates, best known for co-scripting such cult hits as Diabolik and Barbarella, along with those Hammer female vampire movies of the early seventies, to unfetter his own imagination and have the students playing out their fantasies in exuberant fashion, but if you do expect that then you haven't seen enough British sex comedies, because although you are offered up plenty of female nudity, the setting is as prosaic as it is possible to get, and for this kind of thing, that's very prosaic indeed.

As ever, there are surprises in the casting. That's George Baker, Inspector Wexford himself, pairing his students off to explore their inner thoughts, and although he doesn't take his clothes off, there's something unseemly about his role here, particularly in light of how he ends up in the last scene. He's not exactly Nancy Friday, it's meant to be a dry exercise in learning for Gottlieb, but the audience didn't turn up to see that so we're fully anticipating these male-female combinations, along with one female-female one (you can tell this was written by a man, can't you?) to resolve themselves into sexual situations.

And they do, but they're given pretty short shrift by Gates, played for broad laughs as if embarrassed to tackle the issues head on, or more likely unwilling to do so with the British censors breathing heavily down his neck. Actually, the only coupling that gets any substantial amount of screen time is the lesbian one, so once we are offered such "only in the movies" scenes as one girl stripping off for her interview so the questioner won't be distracted (what?), we are treated to a soft focus love sequence, complete with saxophone on the soundtrack, between starlets Suzy Mandel and Heather Deeley.

Also appearing are Ingmar Bergman's daughter Anna Bergman getting Ian Hendry hot under the collar, Felicity Devonshire who became one of the richest women in the world thanks to her business acumen, and Peter Blake, best known as Kirk St Moritz in sitcom Dear John as what can best be described as a berk, as all of the men in this are, who actually asks his dad about his sexual fantasies. Dad is played by veteran comedy character actor Hugh Lloyd and before you can say "Nooooo...!" he is telling us that when he is stroking his pigeons he is imagining stroking a lady's arse - this is accompanied by a visualisation, so cheers for that. If Intimate Games does raise a laugh these days, it's because of what passed for humour and eroticism back then and how ridiculous it looks now. Maybe some of today's researchers can glean something useful from it. See if you can spot Mary Millington, incidentally. Music by Roy Webb.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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