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  Bread Festival Fun
Year: 1971
Director: Stanley A. Long
Stars: Anthony Nigel, Peter Marinker, Dick Haydon, Noelle Rimmington, Liz White, Michael McStay, Ben Howard, Andie Ross, Richard Shawn, Derek Pollitt, Peter May, Penny Brahms, Sean Lynch, Robert Hewison, Robert Hartley
Genre: Comedy, Trash, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Isle of Wight rock festival has just taken place, but now it's time for the attendees to go home, and not a moment too soon for the stomach of Trev (Dick Haydon), as he is complaining loudly about the state of the food, specifically the sandwiches he is forced by circumstances to eat. But the whole experience has impressed he and his four friends so much that their dream of staging their own, more modest, festival seems that much closer to fruition. All they need is the location, the bands, and the audience. Oh, and some money to pull this off...

Not to be confused with the miserabilist, shouty, eighties, Carla Lane sitcom hit - as this actually has a few laughs - here was a British take on the contemporary music scene of the early seventies that didn't involve something soul destroying occuring to the characters. Indeed, director Stanley A. Long and his co-writer Suzanne Mercer appeared to be very amused by the hippy culture that tended to flock to outdoor concerts, and the intrepid fivesome that were followed here were treated with goodnatured tolerance rather than state of the nation head shaking and general finger-wagging.

Not that the cast put in stellar performances, but then they didn't really need to as this was a fairly basic exploitation movie from Blighty, designed to generate an income from music and nudity, of which there was a decent amount for its core audience, which didn't come across as being the dirty mac brigade for once. The tunes were provided by two bands, one the very obscure Crazy Mabel - or perhaps Crazy Mable, as they are spelt in the credits - and the other the somewhat better known Juicy Lucy, who actually had enjoyed a hit record around this time this was released. That was Who Do You Love, come on, you must remember it, an uptempo blues rocker with the title repeated about a hundred times?

Anyway, they don't do that tune here, but much of the rest of the film is given over to the supposed comedy antics of this gang of five who end up on their way back from the Isle of Wight in the grounds of a mansion house, all packed into one tent. This would be fine except the owner (Michael McStay) shows up soon after they're settled, and he's drunk and belligerent, but before he kicks them out he passes out, with his girlfriend asking Trev and Mick (Anthony Nigel) to help her get him into his bed to sleep it off. This is good news for Trev as she takes a shine to him, and a sex scene follows played for laughs as the snoring mansion owner is lying in the bed next to them.

That Bread manages to make some of this amusing places it a level above some of its peers, but it's not exactly a laugh riot, more likely to elicit the odd chuckle. The rest of the film sees the leader of the five, Jeff (Peter Marinker), swiftly organise a concert with the aforementioned bands in the week that the mansion owner goes off leaving them to paint his house. Some hope of that, as this isn't quite on the hippies' side with them portrayed as somewhat workshy and opportunist, but the sense of humour it indulges in takes any meanspirited edge off the proceedngs. As a snapshot of the day, it's also worth a look, with the most interest stemming perhaps not so much from the bands these days, but for a look at what passed for entertainment at your local fleapit circa 1971 (OK, said fleapit has probably long closed down by now).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Stanley A. Long  (1933 - 2012)

Long got his start taking nude photos, branched out into short films, then embarked on a series of features which lasted a good three decades before he moved into a post-production capacity on many titles up until just before his death. It was those sexploitation flicks which made him a millionaire, capturing the public's interest in increasingly racy subject matter, making his career a textbook example of loosening censorship, from nudist colony movies (Take Off Your Clothes and Live) to mondo documentaries (West End Jungle, Primitive London, London in the Raw), to full on softcore such as Groupie Girl, The Wife Swappers, Naughty, On the Game, his highly lucrative Confessions of rip-offs The Adventures of... series, and his finest film Eskimo Nell, rightly cited as the best, or at least the funniest, of the whole genre. He also penned a revealing autobiography.

 
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