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  Keep It Up Downstairs Servicing The ServantsBuy this film here.
Year: 1976
Director: Robert Young
Stars: Diana Dors, Jack Wild, William Rushton, Aimi MacDonald, Françoise Pascal, Neil Hallett, Mark Singleton, Julian Orchard, Simon Brent, Sue Longhurst, John Blythe, Carmen Silvera, Tony Kenyon, Olivia Munday, Seretta Wilson, April Olrich, Mary Millington
Genre: Comedy, Sex, Trash
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: In the country house of the Cockshutes (pronounced Co-shute, if you were wondering) the inhabitants from the maids to the Earl himself (Mark Singleton) have but one thing on their mind. Not one minute appears to go by without some woman getting her bottom pinched or someone making a saucy proposition, but while they are having fun with each other, there is a more pressing issue to be considered. The Cockshutes are heavily in debt, and may have to sell up to the upstart Australian Snotty Shuttleworth (William Rushton) if they can't collect the necessary funds...

The producer and scriptwriter of Keep It Up Downstairs was Hazel Adair, who was famous (or perhaps infamous) as the co-creator of shoddy yet beloved soap Crossroads, but television was not her sole concern for she made movies too. Her previous entries into the British sex comedy market had been under a pseudonym, and Can You Keep It Up for a Week, which this film was a follow-up to, had done very well for her so she subsequently felt brave enough to put her own name in the credits, reasoning she was enjoying so much success in the field that she had nothing to be ashamed of.

That was as may be, but Keep It Up Downstairs was arriving as the genre was beginning to dwindle as mainstream movies provided the titillation the cheaper British variants had been supplying, and homegrown efforts were struggling. When you see the quality of the material in this, you may be moved to ponder it was little wonder audiences were growing tired of this sort of thing when the laughs were so thin on the ground, meaning the main excuse for attending them, that they were supposed to be funny, just wasn't cutting it anymore when the actual reason people wanted to see them, the sex and nudity, could be viewed in more dedicated productions.

With its parade of double entendres and tame raunch, it would be nice to say there were at least a few titters to be garnered from these shenanigans, all made to spoof another ITV television hit that Adair had no hand in, Upstairs Downstairs. But this belonged to an older tradition of sending up the upper classes by the lower ones, who saw them as exploiting the peasants and a humorous method to regard that was to imagine them having their wicked way with their employees. Actually, maybe they didn't need to imagine it too much. Anyway, the film gathered a bunch of fairly recognisable faces and set about pairing them off.

The biggest star here was Diana Dors, though even she had seen better days, with Jack Wild well known as the Artful Dodger on Oscar-winning musical Oliver! the other legitimate big screen star, here playing the innocent, adopted boffin of the family, having invented condom rubber but being too unworldly to know what possible use it could be. In a bizarre twist, his adoptive mother (Sue Longhurst) wants to seduce him, when she's not being serviced by the butler, Hampton (Neil Hallett), that is, but he only has to wait until the Americans the Cockshutes hope will bail them out with a cash injection arrive and he will meet someone far more suitable for his romantic dealings. You can see why somebody thought this was a good idea, after all the class system was ripe for parody, but this aimed low for the most obvious of jokes and managed to miss, with only the presence of selected cast members, including Françoise Pascal and the tragic Mary Millington as maids, offering much interest for cult movie fans. Oddly, the music was by Michael Nyman, a long way from his Peter Greenaway works.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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