I Saw a Film
A high school lad in Britain comically attempts to couple with a number of young women, each of which largely and variously foil his immature passions. The movie is something like an English Dobie Gillis but with with boobs. Our young protagonist is a cherub-faced sweetheart who basically understands what it is he’s passionately obsessed about, so unlike Gillis, he’s not chasing marriage, he’s definitely chasing sensuality.
The film is a sticky tar-trap of sweet and sour comic moments, some resembling silent movies, some sped up like later Benny Hill skits, and much of our hero’s disappointment comes from his friend Spike’s successes. We aren’t let in on much of the happy-go-lucky Spike’s travails, but he is at least once spotted with a lovely our hero Jamie has had his eye on. Spike gives the same useless advice given by all wingmen throughout history to us lesser successful men, basically “go for it.” I had one fellow tell me, think of it as a law of averages, if one percent of ladies are likely to comply with your wishes, then it takes asking one hundred, puzzle solved!
The reality is though, that Jamie isn’t really unsuccessful, he’s just getting started. It’s a different problem. He doesn’t have a good grip of the playing field, nor has he much experience with the teams.
Again, as is the case with many of these lovely independent projects the piece is a bit of a time capsule. We’re not met with a 1967 of California, Grateful Dead, pot-culture, and LSD inspired artistic statements. What we get in Jamie’s town still looks mostly like a world The Kinks exploit in many of their earlier songs. It’s a sagging post-war industrial state. One of the girls Jamie dallies with is wealthy, plays golf, lives in a big house, but you sort of have to be paying attention to pick up on the smidgen of class pressure. Before arriving Jamie wants to wrap his Pjs in some brown paper to carry. This is bewildering, he doesn’t toss his things into a knapsack or shoulder bag like we would, he wants to wrap them in brown paper like a parcel. He is pulling his hair out looking for brown paper until his pop, pushes his dinner aside, lifts the tablecloth, opens a hidden drawer in the table and hands off a scrap of brown paper that he wants back afterwards! What the what?!
There are a couple of wickedly goofy sex moments in the film where at a party the fellows seem to be kissing and then passing the girls around like interrupted dance partners. All is very kooky cute, but obviously not really something people would capable of, especially not the ladies whose healthy instincts lean towards devoted pairing before they participate in anything really carnal. Of course there are exceptions to the rules, but the ideal (or depending on your outlook, the blemish) of the “slut” has always been more mythological than actual. And while we don’t see much from the perspective of the ladies, at least one of them is so downright bizarre as to be seemingly portraying an alien. She’s got the look and feel of a baby shaped like a girl, but speaks with such exaggeratedly bizarre cadence while simultaneously seeming to misunderstand everything, that she leaves behind any version of cuteness and becomes something almost like an animated doll. Maybe some of my British friends can explain the runny-nosed sweetheart.
All in all the film debunks a silly expectation I always have with sixties films. I expect them all to uniformly own a certain aesthetic that locks them into the period in a universal Magical Mystery Tour sense. An expectation that is wholly nonsense, though slightly belied by the opening credit sequences that used dancing girls and neon colored lighting that lent well the idea that I was gonna get something I’d be familiar with.
I do envy the Brits comfort with boobs and bums though. It’s a maturity I wish Americans could deal with without losing their shit every time a nipple or a pretty behind appeared. Meanwhile, the average American kid witnesses thousands of outrageous murders but let that kid catch a glimpse of even the most tastefully done sex scene and we assume they’re damaged for life.
Anyway, this is a good bit of period fun for free on Prime!
I just noticed this thing has a restricted rating, so maybe the boobs ARE a bit more radical than I expected!