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  Adventures of a Plumber's Mate Around The BendBuy this film here.
Year: 1977
Director: Stanley A. Long
Stars: Christopher Neil, Arthur Mullard, Elaine Paige, Stephen Lewis, William Rushton, Anna Quayle, Prudence Drage, Stephen Riddle, Jonathan Adams, Christine Donna, Nina West, Leon Greene, Neville Barber, Suzy Mandel, Lindy Benson, Christopher Biggins
Genre: Comedy, Trash
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sid South (Christopher Neil) is a plumber's mate who is struggling to make ends meet, and not only the pipes he has to deal with at work. He lives in a bedsit where the landlord keeps showing up to demand he pay his rent, but the fact remains he just doesn't have it, and has to keep fobbing him off with excuses while praying he manages to catch a break and get a decent amount of cash to rid himself of his debts. This morning he wakes in bed with last night's conquest, and after she is confused by a mouse under the covers they indulge in a spot of pre-breakfast sex before they get up to face the day. Because Sid has used her underwear to plug a leak in his tap, she climbs aboard his motorbike commando, much to the surprise of passersby...

This was the last in the Adventures series, masterminded my sexploitation producer Stanley A. Long with a view to taking a large percentage of the audience of the more successful (though not by much) Confessions franchise, which starred Robin Askwith. Christopher Neil had taken over in the lead after Barry Evans dropped out after the first one, but he was no Askwith which was likely why he opted for a different career in record producing from then on, and though Long toyed with the idea of making a fourth instalment the money was running low and he really needed the star names to prop up the movies, which were notably lacking here aside from a couple recognisable from television.

Thus Stephen Lewis, Blakey from sitcom On the Buses, was Sid's boss, doing exactly the same shtick though you could argue that's why he was hired so you couldn't begrudge him that, he had been part of the wildly successful Buses film trilogy too, after all. Also showing up was William Rushton, another TV personality known for his humour (cartoons a speciality, though he didn't provide the opening credits illustrations for this, worse luck), here playing a dodgy go-between who links Sid to various crimes around the area so he can gain some funds through underhand means. Quite what that had to do with plumbing was anyone's guess, but the story forgot about the honest trade that was the bread and butter of British sex comedies and instead turned to crime.

After all, what was funnier - and sexier - than the impending threat of extreme violence? A lot, obviously, which makes it baffling the mood of sinister danger hanging over proceedings was something Long believed was a good idea. It wasn't, and lent the movie the air of desperation and despair, fair enough the Winter of Discontent wasn't that far away, but surely audiences wanted something to take their minds off real world problems, or at least offer a laugh to better cope with them, yet they certainly wouldn't get them here. Poor old Sid barely cracks a smile throughout, starting grumpy, growing frightened, and finally resigned to his doom, not the happy-go-lucky protagonist the genre was best at presenting, and his situations were lacking in humour too.

Situations like hiding in a shower while nubile members of the "Young Women's Tennis Club" strip off and prepare to use it after a match, which might be a sexual fantasy of sorts, but was also the closest this got to having a giggle. Elsewhere you were served up such scenes as Sid thinking he'll get into some kinky hanky-panky with a frustrated housewife (Prudence Drage) only for her to lose the key to the handcuffs, necessitating a convoluted search around the house (as usual, actual locations were used which gave an intriguing insight into mid-seventies interior decoration). Not helping is her ex-con husband returning prematurely from prison, seeking the toilet seat Sid has just replaced because it's secretly made of gold - when he gets back and finds it gone, he brutally hits his wife, and what's funny about that? Elaine Paige, right before she made it big in musical theatre, was the nice but dull girlfriend, and tried to get the distribution of this thwarted, believing it would harm her career (though she remained fully clothed throughout). The other actors possibly sympathised. Music by Neil.
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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