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  Love Box, The This Is Your Weak
Year: 1972
Director: Tudor Gates, Wilbur Stark
Stars: Chris Williams, Alison King, Simon Legree, Maureen Flanagan, Maggie Wright, Paul Aston, Christine Bradwell, Lisbeth Lindeborg, Minerva Smith, Jon Mattocks, Jane Cardew, Rose Burton, Lila Petrou, Julia Beck, Anthony Bailey, Marianne Morris, Minah Bird
Genre: Comedy, Sex, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Take a look at all these people rushing around London, there must be millions of them living there, and another million who are tourists, but they all have one thing in common according to magazine editor Tris Patterson (Chris Williams). They are all looking for love, and he should know better than anyone because he did wonders for the publication's circulation when he took it over as he was the one to add a lonelyhearts column to its pages. Of course, not everyone who sends in an ad is looking for romance, and many simply want to find sex instead, but for Tris, his is not to ask too many questions...

Employing pseudonyms which perhaps suggest they were a little embarrassed about being identified with sex comedies, The Love Box was brought to us by the team of Englishman Tudor Gates and American Wilbur Stark (father of Koo Stark, who also made a few softcore efforts in her day). They had both worked for Hammer before, but other than that their seventies productions were by and large obscurities that made their way around the country's cinemas, entertaining, or more likely duping, audiences looking for a good night out at the pictures. As with the majority of these things, the cash was not bountiful, and the result looked cold and cheap.

But it did have the cheapest special effect a filmmaker had in their arsenal: no, not a few loo rolls stuck together with a tennis ball to make a spaceship, it was nudity and lots of it. With Tris supplying our narration, or most of it, he guides us around the customers of The Love Box, which is what the lonelyhearts page is named. You might wonder how he gets away with what is in effect a pimping service in what he assures us is now a widely read magazine (called This Is Your Week), and indeed there is one segment which concerns itself with an official investigation into the business. Only the investigator ends up changing his mind about prosecuting once he visits a prostitute through a randomly-picked ad.

You might have thought that would have closed down the whole enterprise, but no further action is taken. Elsewhere, there are the usual "I hope you don't mind, I hate wearing clothes" types which include two pairs of wife swappers, the male halves of which get bored with dressing up their spouses in costumes (principal boy, Nazi, that kind of wholesome attire) and end up leching over porno magazines. There's also the sixteen-year-old virgin who asks for an older woman to take him in hand, which is meant to be played for laughs but will have you stony-faced throughout, and the wished for "Tom cat" who looks more like a fat cat and is seduced by two "sex kittens", unaware that he is being secretly filmed.

In the middle of all this is a love story where the ageing secretary of the company answers one of the ads and is swept off her feet by a widower of the same vintage, a sequence that leaves you dreading when they are going to take their clothes off, but thankfully it never happens and was presumably added for cinema patrons to pop out and get a box of popcorn or a hotdog while waiting for more nudity. This part is also notable for that twist that sees the lonely couple not go out to a restaurant, but feast on fish and chips at home instead, nothing to do with the fact that the producers couldn't afford to film in a proper eating establishment, oh no. After a bunch of horny housewives are inducted into more sexual timewasting, Tris gets all philosophical with us and envisages a Love Park where everyone can freeze their bits off in the altogether, or that's what it looks like. This is tat, really, but for a glimpse of seventies Britain it is more revealing than many a documentary. Music by Mike Vickers of Manfred Mann (check out those lyrics).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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