A chance encounter with an older ie experienced woman usually on a washing machine or in a Mini educates Robin in the ways of un-doing bras and he journeys forth to pleasure the female world, with hilarious comic consequences for absolutely no one. Only one thing can save the film industry. It was 10 years before the British audience woke up and realised that sex comedies were absolute shit. Demme was rejected by the producers after one scene, clearly because he was never going to cut it in the film business. They really wanted to make art films. More ludicrous but strangely engrossing films followed with the likes of Leslie Ash as a saucy night nurse; Veronica Doran from Coronation Street as a proto-Bridget Jones, a sex-starved s singleton who sexually assaults black men, in Escort Girls; Captain Birds Eye as a bearded sex machine in Wife Swappers; and Hywel Bennett as a disabled antique dealer with a rampant prosthetic penis. At some point possibly when Mary Millington starts massaging some old codger in the sauna in suspenders Danny suggested we all hide behind a piece of MFI furniture and spank our respective monkeys. Sex comedies are steeped in sexual frustration, the subject of Michael Powell's classic study of voyeurism, Peeping Tom, under whose slightly scary shadow sex comedies lurked.
Or Captain Birds Eye. The most tragic episode in British cinema, but also, weirdly, the most memorable. This darker side of British porn - of an underbelly of respectable men like lawyers and bank managers getting off on sex and violence - is given a mad, grinning spin in sex comedies, but it's still there. So was born the sex comedy. Only one thing can save the film industry. Films like Confessions Of A Window Cleaner spend as much time with the camera lingering on Robin Askwith's arse up a ladder, as they do on female cleavage. Demme was rejected by the producers after one scene, clearly because he was never going to cut it in the film business. Not just a bizarre historical capsule from the s but a missive from a land where casual sexism, racism, pathetic humour and fumbled sex were turned into an unwitting art-form. We saw Eskimo Nell, starring Christopher Biggins yes, him , perhaps the most preposterous sex film of all time. Walker, director of the legendary Greta In Four Dimensions the first ever porn film in 3D , even had a short career as a failed stand-up comedian. Or Olive from On The Buses. The films often played in double bills with an ancient horror film starring Boris Karloff, which was never half as scary as the sex comedy, or an art film with a bit of nudity in it like Fellini's Casanova, or The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant upper-market lezzie-action. Many sex comedies were made by gay writers and directors, who couldn't stand making heterosexual blue movies, so set out to take the piss by deliberately camping up the plot and dialogue. And the British film industry has collapsed, largely because a small group of greedy Saudi Arabian men have decided to hike up the worldwide price of oil, so forcing the big American studios to withdraw their co-production wad. The curtains were drawn. Old men in goofy teeth and stained pyjamas ran across fields after naked girls, Benny Hill-style; sheds exploded with Y-fronts cascading down from the heavens; women sprayed whipped cream on their breasts while some ageing queen in a kimono watched on, applauding. A chance encounter with an older ie experienced woman usually on a washing machine or in a Mini educates Robin in the ways of un-doing bras and he journeys forth to pleasure the female world, with hilarious comic consequences for absolutely no one. Instead, we just watched in horrified fascination at the unfolding weirdness. Yet the amazing thing is that these cheap, ridiculous movies saved the British film industry, at their height grossing more than the Bond or Carry On films, of which they were a raunchier, infinitely more surreal offshoot. Overnight, a raft of distinguished actors, writers and directors are out of work: I know I will. The pre-cursor of the sex comedy was a feature called What's Good For The Goose, starring the original dirty old man, Norman Wisdom, as a middle-aged letch trying to get his leg over a nubile hippy-chick in swinging London. Porn with a flash of tit and arse, a twang of a G-string and The Sweeney's Dennis Waterman burning his cock on a hot-water bottle. At some point possibly when Mary Millington starts massaging some old codger in the sauna in suspenders Danny suggested we all hide behind a piece of MFI furniture and spank our respective monkeys. Some of these cinemas were so dirty, rats ran down the aisles carrying discarded crisp packets. Possibly it was also, well, a little gay, whatever that may be. But not, y'know, porn that's really pornographic.
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