HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Best House in London, The Victorian ValuesBuy this film here.
Year: 1969
Director: Philip Saville
Stars: David Hemmings, Joanna Pettet, George Sanders, Dany Robin, Warren Mitchell, John Bird, William Rushton, Bill Fraser, Maurice Denham, Wolfe Morris, Martita Hunt, Carol Friday, Marie Rogers, Tessie O'Shea, Avril Angers, John Cleese, Peter Jeffrey
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Benjamin Oakes (David Hemmings) is a crusading journalist in Victorian London who thinks he has just the right story for The Times, if only he could persuade the editor (Maurice Denham) to accept it: an Italian inventor, Count Pandolfo (Warren Mitchell), has created an airship that he plans to fly around the Home Counties as demonstration of his pioneering transport, but getting people to believe this is the case proves difficult. Meanwhile, another chance at a story is brewing nearby as women’s rights campaigner Josephine Pacefoot (Joanne Pettet) marches down the street with her supporters, a collection of fallen women who she wants the Government to provide compensation for their time spent as prostitutes…

The Best House in London is a brothel, or it is according to this, one of the more respectable (and there weren’t many) sex comedies from the dawning of the boom of such productions in Britain from the late sixties onwards, on for at least a decade at any rate. It was respectable because of its screenwriter, Denis Norden, known to a couple of generations as the clipboard-wielding presenter of the finest television mistakes he could find on It’ll Be All Right on the Night, way before YouTube made such things obsolete on TV, not that it stopped the stations from trying to compete. He laced the humour with a host of historical and literary references that offered the impression of a certain intelligence behind the boobs and bums that usually were the focus of such efforts.

Unfortunately, while these were clever, they weren’t particularly funny, remaining just that, references, so there may be actors portraying Charles Dickens, Sherlock Holmes or the voice of Prince Albert, but all that did was make you go “Ah, right, got that one!” without much of a giggle. That’s not to say there were no laughs, as a comedy veteran even then Norden guaranteed he could conjure up something witty, though more often than not he relied on silly, with Hemmings playing two characters who seem to be related, one the diffident Benjamin and the other the louche Walter Leybourne, a man of influence who is contriving to set up, or at least exploit, this new high class brothel plan.

Whether a brothel can ever be high class was not a question that detained the film for long, it was of the opinion that sex was a great leveller since according to this everyone wants it but nobody wants to admit to wanting it, not in polite company anyway, and that takes in the complete society. When the powers that be want to get laid, it’s supposed to be funny since they are proving themselves to be no better or worse than the rest of us, yet it might even make them worse for they cannot broadcast their sexual antics no matter how much they get up to it or wish they did. Call it the hangover from the John Profumo scandal in British politics, but that anti-establishment air brought upon the establishment by itself was never far away.

If this had been made even a year or two later, they might have gotten away with yet more nudity and sexual references, although since one gag involves a five-year-old Emmeline Pankhurst innocently singing in the school choir a tune called “My Little Pussy” perhaps we should be relieved that all concerned restrained themselves. It wasn’t coy, exactly, but the low comedy was at odds with the more refined business, and stars Hemmings and Pettet were clearly more comfortable with the gentle romance that was building up between the Benjamin and Josephine characters. Elsewhere the cast was filled up with notable talent, from Dany Robin as a madam in the year of her retirement to Carol Friday, who only made this film and would be better known as one of the victims of the 2015 Germanwings deliberate aeroplane crash in the Alps. She played the supposedly pure virgin to be saved who actually wants to bed as many men as possible, that was the bawdy tone so you can imagine how that plays today, though who knows what the Fu Manchu business was about. It ended with a lot of running about in the brothel – Benny Hill was taking notes. Music by Mischa Spoliansky.

Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1480 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: