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  Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush Like A Virgin
Year: 1967
Director: Clive Donner
Stars: Barry Evans, Judy Geeson, Angela Scoular, Sheila White, Adrienne Posta, Vanessa Howard, Diane Keen, Moyra Fraser, Michael Bates, Maxine Audley, Denholm Elliott, Christopher Timothy, Nicky Henson, Allan Warren, Roy Holder, George Layton, Angela Pleasence
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jamie McGregor (Barry Evans) is a seventeen-year-old schollboy who also has a job as a delivery boy, which involves him cycling around the streets of Stevenage with one thing on his mind. No, not the deliveries, but the fairer sex and his own losing battle with finding a way to lose his virginity with a willing female. She could be someone of this own age, like Mary Gloucester (Judy Geeson) who he spies at the town centre but despite his longings he knows he doesn't have a chance with her. Nevertheless, Jamie manages to conduct something approaching a conversation with her before she is whisked away in her boyfriend's sports car. Is there hope?

So fashionably up to date - for 1967 - that it almost hurts, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush was considered pretty racy stuff in its day, mainly due to its sex obsessed protagonist and the plot which essentially focussed on his exploits in attaining his heart's desire, which was, well, intercourse. But there was a thwarted romanticism at the heart of the film which indicated that what Jamie really needed was the love of a good woman, not the pleasures of the flesh which were a constant distraction, not only for him but his friends as well.

In a somewhat shapeless film, we follow Jamie as he flits like a bumble bee from girl to girl, and none of them satisfy his desires in the manner in which he would like. Evans makes for a sympathetic hero, mostly because he talks to himself so much that we can understand his worries when he speaks them out loud, not that anyone is listening to him. His home life is amusingly portrayed with their sole meeting over the table at mealtimes, meals which consist of a lot of porridge, pickled onions and blancmange thanks to his dotty mother (Moyra Fraser).

So if his family doesn't understand him, who can Jamie turn to? In Hunter Davies' script, adapted from his novel, it's up to us in the audience to indulge his concerns, because those girls he meets aren't going to do him any good. First up is the somewhat dim Linda (Adrienne Posta), more preoccupied with chips and her sweaty hands than any lovemaking, so Jamie is forced to abandon her. Next is Paula (Sheila White), a churchgoer who invites him to her social there, where the Spencer Davis Group are playing - and Steve Winwood's Traffic perform the classic theme song for the film.

But Paula is more concerned with the priest, so Jamie moves onto posh bird Caroline (Angela Scoular) and quickly finds himself out of his depth, even if he does get a chance to stay the weekend at her parents' country pile (the wine tasting scene with Denholm Elliott is a comic highlight). Then there's nice Audrey (Vanessa Howard) who takes Jamie to places he always dreamed of, or she would if he wasn't dreaming of Mary all the time, and she pops up at odd moments throughout the story as if to remind him what he's missing. Jamie ends the film a little older and a little wiser, and if the film is too contrived in its efforts to depict its of the moment world, there's still charm here, mainly thanks to Evans as the actresses don't get much of a chance to provide deep characterisation. Funnily enough, this has an studied immediacy that might just sum up its era for a lot of people.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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