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  Bitch, The Disco Dud
Year: 1979
Director: Gerry O'Hara
Stars: Joan Collins, Antonio Cantafora, Kenneth Haigh, Ian Hendry, Pamela Salem, Sue Lloyd, Mark Burns, John Ratzenberger, Carolyn Seymour, Doug Fisher, Sharon Fussey, Peter Wight, George Sweeney, Maurice Thorogood, Bill Mitchell, Alibe Parsons, Mela White
Genre: Drama, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 2 votes)
Review: Millionairess nightclub owner Fontaine Khaled (Joan Collins) wakes up in the arms of her latest conquest and they proceed to shower together. However, Fontaine doesn't hang around as she has a flight to London to catch and ends up sitting next to mysterious Italian Nico Cantafora (Antonio Cantafora using the pseudonym Michael Coby) who, little does she know, has requested a seat next to her. The reason for this is that he is smuggling a priceless diamond ring for the Mob, and he slips the object into the inside pocket of Fontaine's fur coat. They manage to get through customs without any trouble, then Nico loses sight of her - and the ring - so how will he find her again?

The disco movie was a film genre that never really took off. Sure, there was one monster hit, Saturday Night Fever, but the likes of Thank God It's Friday didn't exactly send audiences flooding to their local cinemas - hey, they were too busy dancin'! So as a disco movie The Bitch (which is not about a female dog) fails, not least because Fontaine's establishment is a pokey affair with a dancefloor the size of an envelope. But that's not the only genre the film falls into, as this is one of the short run of adaptations of blockbusting airport novels, too.

The book was written by Jackie Collins, sister of Joan, and Joan fits the role like a glove with her appealing but slightly trashy, slightly provincial glamour being turned into full on trashy glamour for the purposes of the story. The film was adapted by director Gerry O'Hara as a sequel to The Stud, which someone must have gone to see if only for the promise of sex scenes, nudity and the mistaken impression that this is entertainment for adults (after all, the characters swear a bit), and so it is with this second instalment of Fontaine's superstar life.

We are awarded a lengthy glimpse of this life as we see that she loves the nightlife, as witnessed by her boogie-ing in nightclubs, her own and other, better ones, and bedding her chauffeur (you'd think that she would have been able to do better than that). But she also has to contend with her failing business, and the apparent interest of Nico, whose accent may be "Mama mia!" Italian, "Dos vedanya, comrade" Russian, or, judging by that moustache, "Ees my hamster" Spanish. Nico wants his rock back, and is willing to get his rocks off to do it, so seduces Fontaine (or does she seduce him?) to get into her wardrobe. Literally.

Aiming for a sheen of sophistication, The Bitch looks like what it is: an aspirational version of a pulpy book. One sex scene is scored to what sounds like someone playing a saw, and to try and emulate The Stud, there's another swimming pool sequence with much naked cavorting. The plot is a pale excuse to move from nightclub to bedroom, over and over, with Collins firing off too few quips and everyone around her acting arch to tiresome effect. As Fontaine hands over the reins to her business, resulting in, guess what, topless dancers, we are supposed to be guessing whether she will win out in the end or whether Nico or Ian Hendry's crime boss will. But, Collins' flair aside, there's very little reason to back anybody here and the way the soundtrack album is relentlessly plugged grates very early on. See if you can spot Bill Nighy. Music by Biddu.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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