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  Confessions of a Window Cleaner A Sex Appeal
Year: 1974
Director: Val Guest
Stars: Robin Askwith, Anthony Booth, Sheila White, Dandy Nichols, Bill Maynard, Linda Hayden, John Le Mesurier, Joan Hickson, Katya Wyeth, Richard Wattis, Melissa Stribling, Anita Graham, Sam Kydd, Brian Hall, Christine Donna, Sue Longhurst, Marianne Stone
Genre: Comedy, Sex, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: It's the first day on the job for Timmy Lea (Robin Askwith) - window cleaning, that is, working for his brother-in-law Sid Noggett (Anthony Booth) who is not only teaching him a thing or two about his latest occupation, but about life as well. It's funny what you can see when you're cleaning windows, and if Timmy is lucky he can get a good view of a young lady in a state of undress, but that's about as close to the opposite sex as he gets. However, today he has met an attractive girl called Elizabeth (Linda Hayden) who he gives his business card to - though Sid is not happy when he finds out she is a policewoman...

Based on Christopher Wood's bestselling paperback, and probably the most famous of the British sex comedies of the seventies, Confessions of a Window Cleaner made a star of Askwith, if one who found himself fairly restricted to the blundering and randy roles that this film decisively mapped out for him. But really, it was his ideal role which he played to the hilt, and though there are plenty who even today will look down disparagingly on these films from a great height, there are still those who remember them raising a laugh (if not much else) and can enjoy them for the unpretentious, easy to watch daftness that they were.

In fact, it was efforts like this which propped up the British film industry throughout the dark years of their decade: America may have had its porno chic like Deep Throat to bring in the couples - for a while at least - but here in Blighty that was considered a bit much and we preferred out nudity to be accompanied by the medium of laughter to put us at our ease. It's all too obvious to link the Confessions movies and their ilk to the Carry On series, and those comedies certainly suffered financially in comparison, but really here the double entendre was being made far clearer, with the mystery replaced with the outright plain to see.

There is a plot of sorts, and it starts with Timmy being coaxed into losing his virginity by Sid. Interestingly, Timmy and Sid live with our hero's parents under the same roof, with Timmy's sister Rosie (Sheila White) now pregnant and subject to cravings for humorous effect. And Elizabeth lives with her parents, too, which for maximum discomfort happen to be a chief inspector and his wife (played by John Le Mesurier and Joan Hickson); the class difference is there despite the families' similarities, with Timmy's dad (Bill Maynard) something of a rogue just to create a gulf between them.

Funnily enough, although Timmy does get to lose his virginity in a welter of soap suds with the first of a series of horny housewives, what he really wants to do is settle down, so there's a surprising wholesomeness underlying the smut. It's Elizabeth who he has his sights set upon, although the sole reason he pops the question appears to be so he can have his wicked way with her as she won't consent otherwise. The message looks to be that although the seventies bloke wants to shag every attractive girl in he sets his eyes on, what he really wants is love, not something that sits too well with the ribaldry that takes up the rest of the film. Confessions of a Window Cleaner may be unsubtle in the extreme, and its gags may be wincingly corny, but it does enjoy some decent-sized chuckles, and the disrobing women are attractive even if the climate looks freezing throughout. It was just a bit of fun, really, and there's a cheeky innocence about it all. Music by Sam Sklair.
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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