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  Mary Millington's World Striptease Extravaganza Laugh? I Nearly Started
Year: 1981
Director: Roy Deverell
Stars: Bernie Winters, John M. East, Mary Millington, Gloria Brittain, Kathy Green, Julie Lee, Angie Quick, John Roach
Genre: Comedy, Sex, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  2 (from 1 vote)
Review: Here is John M. East to introduce us to this extravaganza, which he describes as a tribute to the late, lamented Mary Millington. Informing us that Mary was a world-class stripper, he illustrates this with a clip from one of her final films, Queen of the Blues, where she performs such an act in front of an appreciative crowd at a nightclub. Then he brings on the compere for the evening, who is comedian Bernie Winters, and he offers up a short standup routine of the sort which will fill up the time between the strippers. So without further ado, bring on the ladies from around the world to compete in this competition...

Except there is plenty of further ado for what you would think would be a simple exercise in filming a bunch of women taking their clothes off to music. This was made near the end of an era where it was felt that for softcore you couldn't simply cart on the nudity on its own, and you had to have some kind of frame around it, so, as was so often in British cinema of the previous decade, here that was comedy. If you could call what Bernie did comedy; best known by this time as a family-friendly comic on television who appeared with a slobbery St Bernard dog as his sidekick, it may be jarring to see him grin and gurn his way through a few blue gags, but it was essentially the same act he usually did, only with off colour material.

But what of Mary Millington? By the stage this was released, she had been dead a couple of years, but that did not stop British porn baron David Sullivan exploiting her still-lucrative name. Previous to this, as tribute to the suicidal star, he had produced a barely-feature length documentary about her, that was more concerned with assembling clips of her nude scenes than anything else, which makes one wonder who the market for that was as surely the way Mary ended up, used up by the sex industry which led to her destruction, would have taken any erotic edge off the images of her for the potential audience. Or maybe they were feeling sentimental and wished to see her unclothed one last time, whatever, it's best not worth dwelling on.

Here Mary's name was even more cynically attached to this shoddy product, when she appears in one tiny clip at the start, is called a world-renowned stripper which she wasn't, and then promptly forgotten about for the rest of the three quarters of an hour that this lasts. If that doesn't leave you uncomfortable, then you might enjoy the parade of nudity that follows, only you might well be more distracted by the two-man band obviously not playing the music we're hearing and the aggressively overbearing audience laughter and cheers - which is all the more noticeable for there apparently being no-one actually there to watch this, as all the clips of the patrons are taken from Queen of the Blues. Then there's the fact that the girls cannot even keep up the subterfuge of pretending to be from various countries, as when they are interviewed by Bernie they don't get their stage names right, and all have London accents. It all ends with a winner announced, and Bernie doing his own striptease, and if you've watched this all the way through then there can't be any bigger letdown than that.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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