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  Au Pair Girls They're Available
Year: 1972
Director: Val Guest
Stars: Gabrielle Drake, Astrid Frank, Me Me Lai, Nancie Wait, Richard O'Sullivan, Ferdy Mayne, Johnny Briggs, Geoffrey Bayldon, Julian Barnes, John Le Mesurier, Rosalie Crutchley, John Standing, Steve Patterson, Trevor Bannister, Marianne Stone, Milton Reid
Genre: Comedy, Sex, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Four prospective au pair girls arrive at a London airport from other European countries and take taxis to the agency which will be offering them work. Anita (Astrid Frank) catches the eye of her driver, Malcolm (Johnny Briggs) and they make a date to see each other later that evening although Anita doesn't know that he has given his business card to the three others. Once in the agency, they are assigned homes to go to: Anita and Christa (Nancie Wait) will be travelling to suburbia, Randi (Gabrielle Drake) is sent to a rich businessman, and Nan (Me Me Lai) to a stately home. However, things don't go according to plan, and by the end of the day their situations will be quite different...

Val Guest was a respected figure in the British film industry, and like other respected British filmmakers, actors included, by the time the nineteen seventies came along they were forced to make the defining works of the decade: sex comedies. Guest would, two years later, helm the mega-hit Confessions of a Window Cleaner, so you could see Au Pair Girls as a trial run for that success. He wrote it with David Adnopoz from David Grant's story, and as far as the plot goes it's basically an excuse to part the young ladies in the cast from their clothes.

There are many famous (at the time) faces appearing, but the first one we see sets the tone: did we really need to witness John Le Mesurier fondling a half-naked woman (in a fantasy sequence, but still) and telling Richard O'Sullivan, playing his son, to "Piss off!"? It doesn't seem appropriate, somehow. Nevertheless, that's what we're greeted with in the initial ten minutes as Le Mesurier's company boss tells O'Sullivan to go and pick up Randi the au pair. She appears in the shape of Gabrielle Drake, who was then best known for wearing a purple wig in Gerry Anderson's U.F.O. TV series, and may now be best known as tragic singer Nick Drake's sister, but male science fiction fans of the era must have been punching the air with joy at her undressed role here.

Naturally there are obstacles along the way for these two as the Rolls Royce they are driving in gets a flat tyre and they are forced to hang about in a barn while the local mechanics find a spare. And equally naturally, considering, Randi not only tears her dress and falls into a water trough, but has to take off all her clothes as well. So far so lighthearted and lecherous, and Anita has an equally silly plotline to act out, where the first thing she does when she arrives at her employers is strip off and take a shower so enthusiastically that she creates a leak through the ceiling below. Hilarious, I'm sure you'll agree.

But what's not hilarious are the other two stories as the film misguidedly attempts to show its sensitive side. Nan ends up romancing the pianist son (Julian Barnes) of the upper class family she is working for, who is presumably supposed to be charming but instead looks more of an imbecile. Meanwhile, in a more tragic development, virgin Christa is led astray by the daughter of the home she works for when they attend a concert at "Groovers" nightclub held by one Ricky Strange, who evidently only has one song in his repertoire and is more interested in bedding the birds. Sadly, starstruck Christa is just another conquest to him. Not to worry, as the four au pair girls receive a happy ending when sheik Ferdy Mayne steps in to save them from a life of drudgery, although one imagines they'll still be taking their clothes off extensively. It's not a funny comedy, and sees every aspect of the production neglected except for the nudity, which was essentially the reason the film was made. Nice theme tune, though - music by Roger Webb.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Val Guest  (1912 - 2006)

British writer, director and producer, best known for his science fiction films, who started on the stage, graduated to film scriptwriting (Will Hay comedies such as Oh! Mr Porter are among his credits) in the 1930s, and before long was directing in the 1940s. He will be best remembered for a string of innovative, intelligent science fiction movies starting with The Quatermass Xperiment, then sequel Quatermass II, The Abominable Snowman and minor classic The Day the Earth Caught Fire.

He also made Frankie Howerd comedy The Runaway Bus, Cliff Richard musical Expresso Bongo, some of Casino Royale, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, 1970s sex comedies Au Pair Girls and Confessions of a Window Cleaner, and his last film, the Cannon and Ball-starring The Boys in Blue.

 
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