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  School for Sex A Hundred Lines: 'I Will Not Make Terrible Films'
Year: 1969
Director: Pete Walker
Stars: Derek Aylward, Rose Alba, Bob Andrews, Vic Wise, Hugh Latimer, Nosher Powell, Amber Dean Smith, Françoise Pascal, Cathy Howard, Sylvia Barlow, Sandra Gleeson, Maria Frost, Cindy Neal, Gilly Grant, Jacky Berdet, Nicola Austin, Nicole Verna, Patsy Morell
Genre: Comedy, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Giles Wingate (Derek Aylward) leaves his beloved sports car behind and goes to hear the outcome of his trial for embezzlement, not expecting to ever see it again because he is basically guilty. The judge asks him whether he has anything to say in his defence, but Giles is distracted by the legs of the miniskirted assistant nearby and simply answers "No", much to the surprise of the assembled. His lawyer, on the other hand, is more expansive in his talking up of his client's finer points, explaining that he has a weakness for marriage, and he needed the money for all those divorces...

The first "proper" hit film for director Pete Walker, he famously observed how proud he was of the title because you could see the dirty old men reaching for their raincoats, though as time went on he was less enamoured of the movie which set him on the path to success in showbiz. You can see why, as it was a shabby affair whose comedy raised no laughs, and whose chilly-looking attempts at eroticism left most people cold, though thankfully this was not some exposé of teenage pregnancy, but a tale of an upper class country house owning English landed gentry type, who also happened to have a sideline in being a pimp.

Not based in fact, but about as far from The Mack or Candy Tangerine Man as it was possible to get, Giles' scam involves him giving over his manor to the teaching of young ladies from the nearby Holloway prison in the art of getting the best out of life. And by that he means getting the best out of seducing rich men, just as he has been seduced, then taking them for all they have, much like Giles was too, though this time he's putting his experience of the other end of the scam to "good" use. So it was more a college for sex or a university for seduction, though that title Walker was so pleased with did its job.

The financial rewards were there to see: the director was delighted to observe his product running for over a year in British cinemas and also doing very well in the United States, all of which he credited to the self-proclaimed brilliance of his film-naming skills. Making a version for certain overseas territories with more nudity than the Brits got was a ticket to success as well, yet no matter how you looked at it, this was a tatty little movie whose cynicism in its conception was not quite eclipsed by its minor charms by dint of any nostalgia generated. Once the plot had been established, the film crawled to a conclusion that wasn't especially satisfying, assuming you hadn't given up on it by then.

There were various trappings of the then-nascent seventies sex comedy in evidence, though that did not extend to the jokes, which were extremely hard to discern; you were aware it was meant to be funny, but in addition aware that it was failing in its lofty ambitions. Simply putting a fat actor in a policeman's uniform and have him ride his bike after the nubile young ladies was not exactly comedy gold, though did point out the overall anti-establishment thread running through Walker's work even if we were meant to be sympathising with Giles. Aylward was very grateful to Walker for giving his career a new lease of life, and in truth he comes across with a degree of suave urbanity which only serves to leave him looking as if all this tawdriness was beneath him. Although in colour, there was a dull greyness to the film which muted the supposed fun, sure there was a potential for a saucy seaside postcard humour in these things, but you'd be hard pressed to find it here. Music by Harry South.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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