Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Category: Soft Porn (Page 2 of 2)

ILB’s posts about softcore, his favourite porn subgenre

Soft Porn Sunday: Jennifer Behr & Paul Michael Robinson

Something I’ve always said – at least, that’s how I’m starting this post; I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually said it – is that one’s enjoyment of porn, as with all genres, is largely situational. Take into consideration setting, angles, music, cinematography, mise-en-scène and all the other things media students have to pretend to care about, and put it into context when you’re choosing porn – there’s a noticeable difference.

Don’t believe me? Okay, think of some porn you like. Why do you like it? Is it the actors, the situation, or the scenery? It’s probably well-lit. If it’s a sex act you like, are they doing it well? If you come, what makes you do so? And what makes this so different from the porn you dislike?

For me, character is the most important thing. I want to know who’s having sex, where they are having sex and why they are having sex – even if it’s just my favourite trope, “because they can”. It makes a genuine difference, and even the slightest of changes is the sort of thing I notice. Soft porn is an easy genre to do this with, because you get the same actors appearing in multiple films. My first thought was to choose two scenes to compare featuring “good ol’ Jason Schnuit” – but I really needed a scene featuring two actors together who have done another scene, playing different characters and preferably in a different setting.


Appearance: The Adventures of Justine 6: A Private Affair (1995)
Characters: Madame Souvray & Klauss Heinmann

The barman looks like he's ready to kill, frankly.
Justine, Klaus and a hella suspicious barman.

Since the last time I mentioned it, I’ve managed to battle my way through the entire Justine series and, oh boy, what a mission that was – although, once I got the hang of the Indiana Jones-lite escapades and the “it was all a dream” fake endings, it was quite an amusing endeavour in the end. I picked this scene because:

a) it’s a genuine sex scene which lasts more than 15 seconds
b) Paul Michael Robinson’s in it

I’ve featured Paul Michael Robinson and Jennifer Behr (pronounced “bear”, like the growly animal) before, as Haffron and Ursula in Emmanuelle. That scene, for what it is, is hot – and, what’s more, it’s grown on me over time. in Justine,, obviously, they play other characters… but they still manage to get their kit off and bang, so I’m completely justified in doing this doing this.

Behr plays Madame Souvray, one of the very few characters to appear in every Justine flick. She’s the fussy, stuffy teacher who nobody likes very much. Robinson plays several different characters, all named differently and who are, confusingly, all villains – so are we meant to know they’re separate characters, or are they just an evil Haffron changing faces? This one, in any case, is duplicitous Klaus Heinmann, with perhaps the most questionable German accent since ‘Allo ‘Allo!.


The set-up for this one is fairly simple, although admittedly quite contrived. Everyone’s on a train for whatever reason, including Klaus, who is masquerading as a porter (check out his uniform!). Souvray, who’s horny all of a sudden, throws caution to the wind – “no names, no fake promises… just you and me, and the moment…” – and retreats into a luggage cabin to get it on with the guy who’s trying to kill her boss.

To be fair, he’s got the right idea.

I mean, if it works…

The scene starts (after the aforementioned dialogue) with the customary disrobing, which is – actually – unusual for ASP; they usually cut straight to the nudity. Souvray is taking the lead here, being the more seductive of the two – although we see her boobs long before Klaus so much as takes off any more than his hat – we also get periodical mixes to train tracks, too, to remind us that we are indeed on a train!

Plenty of kissing – not just lips against lips – preceded Klaus getting his uniform off – although Souvray does that most herself. He doesn’t actually take his vest off before the sex starts, either, so we get a semi-nude Klaus and a bestockinged Souvray doing it up against a rack full of suitcases. How bizarre – Haffron barely managed to put any clothes on to begin with. I suppose this is Robinson’s “difficult middle period”.

As sponsored by the underwear department at your local M&S.
Is this seduction? Or calisthenics?

The sex is approvable, if fairly routine. It’s all done standing up – well, it would be, this is up against the rack full of suitcases – and doesn’t really do anything you wouldn’t expect it to. We have some thrusting from Klaus and some bouncing from Souvray; occasional mixes to train tracks jump in to provide handy cuts to different angles. Halfway through the scene, they switch to a kind of standing doggy style, with Klaus doing Souvray from behind as she holds onto the top shelf for support… a nice touch, really.

He can certainly handle all her baggage.
Health & Safety would have a field day.

I’m also getting a standard early-’90s ASP vibe from this too. There’s a gradual but noticeable increase in speed, overlaid moans from both characters with greater volume as time goes by, and a very definite orgasm point, which – as was standard in Emmanuelle – is signalled by a single “uhh!” from Robinson. That’s basically it. We know what we’re getting, and what we’re getting is solid, a refreshing difference from the soft-focus dreamy sequences the series usually affords us.

So why don’t I like this very much?

It has all the ingredients I should like – two very attractive people having sex; the “just because they can” justification; somewhere unusual that isn’t just a bed in a hotel room; plenty of nudity and energetic, lusty sex. It even has acceptable music, which helps to carry the sex but isn’t too intrusive. By all rights, I should like this. It’s by far the best sex scene in A Private Affair and possibly the whole Justine series. What’s wrong with me?

I had to puzzle this one out for a while, before it hit me. It is completely to do with the characters.

I don’t mind Madame Souvray too much. I mean, I like Jennifer Behr and I’m quite fond of the way she plays the character. Her other sex scenes in the series are quite good, too. It’s also quite nice to see a main named character having sex, as that doesn’t often happen in Justine. The problem I have, I think, is with Paul Michael Robinson. I’m aware that he is playing a completely different character here, and a villain, to boot… but I’m so attached to the idea of him playing Haffron that it’s jarring to see him doing anything else – like a bum note in a familiar song.

I should be above such petty comparisons, but as we know, I take my softcore seriously and I like what I like! I like Emmanuelle in Space and I especially like Haffron. I don’t particularly like Klaus and, as I’ve said before, the Justine series could have been better than it actually is (which is a shame). The scene I’ve just looked at isn’t bad – it’s just disconcerting. I spent half the time trying to get into it and the other half wishing I was actually watching the other sex scene between Behr and Robinson from Emmanuelle!

Which just goes to show two things, really.

One: Character is important.
Two: I’m not difficult to please… I’m impossible!

Soft Porn Sunday Special: The Adventures of Justine

Let me be the one, Justine
Let me be the first, Justine
To have you, and hold you…

Blue DVD case with several film titles listed. Justine is there, but she doesn't look like she does in the flick.
Justine doesn’t actually
look like this.

It’s been a while – in fact, it’s been so much of a while that I can’t put a number of years to it – since I first watched the Adventures of Justine series. It was shown all of twice on L!VE TV in the late-’90s, and I once accidentally got sent a copy of a Justine flick when I’d actually ordered Emmanuelle. (I watched the sex scenes and then sent it back.) The fact that I’ve been re-watching it recently has me thinking… was I assuming it was anything other than what it actually is?


For those of you who aren’t aware what Justine is – and relax, it’s in no way based on the book by de Sade; I had to look that up too – it’s another series of seven erotic adventure(ish) films made by the same people (almost exactly the same people) who made Emmanuelle in Space. By which I mean, without hyperbole, it’s got the same directorial team, same crew, same sets, same cast (with the only variation being the principals, and even then there are some returning actors), and even some of the same music, which I hadn’t noticed until rewatching the second in the series the other day.

Justine follows the traditional ASP line of having seven volumes with pretentious names, some of which being known by alternate titles because actually I have no idea why. According to the DVD cover, they are:

Volume 1: In The Heat of Passion
Volume 2: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (presumably with apologies to Bill)
Volume 3: Object of Desire, also known as Wild Nights
Volume 4: Exotic Liaisons, also known as Exotic Liaison
Volume 5: Crazy Love
Volume 6: A Private Affair (written by Brian Clemens OBE, although how he got involved…!)
Volume 7: Seduction of Innocence

while Wikipedia lists them as:

Volume 1: Exotic Liaisons
Volume 2: A Private Affair
Volume 3: Wild Nights
Volume 4: Crazy Love
Volume 5: Seduction of Innocence
Volume 6: In The Heat of Passion
Volume 7: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

and there’s even some ambiguity as to when these films are dated – some are 1995, some ’96 and even some as ’97. I’m going to guess that ’95 is the closest bet, as Emmanuelle in Space is from ’94 and it’s quite clear there was very little break between filming both series.

Justine, a blonde college girl, is completely obscured by the word "JUSTINE" in obtrusive white text.
It’d be more impressive if you didn’t have your name obscuring your entire face during the opening credits.

I’m not entirely sure what Justine is meant to be – perhaps an erotic spoof of Indiana Jones, perhaps a college girl tale with fantastical elements, or probably just “a way to use up ASP’s budget” – but the resulting product is incredibly episodic, so it doesn’t seem to matter what order you watch these films in (I’m going by the order on the DVD cover). Internally the films are also a series of individual adventurey vignettes, so one could achieve the same effect by broadcasting the Justine series as half-hour episodes. Only nobody would watch that.

So, yes. Justine Wikenson (Daneen Boone, who also appeared as “Girlfriend” in Emmanuelle) is a smart and precocious, yet incredibly innocent, college girl at an academy for gifted students (Topacre). Her best friend Ursula (Kimberly Rowe, Angie in Emmanuelle) is smart and sassy, but also incredibly sexually active – the only one to have scenes like this – while Madame Souvray (Jennifer Behr, Ursula [confusingly] in Emmanuelle) is a female teacher… possibly the head of the academy, who cares?

Robson, a tall man with dark hair, embraces Justine. They are both naked.
Robson and Justine as a medieval queen. Don’t worry, it’s all just a dream.

The male lead – Professor Paul Robson (occasionally pronounced “Paul Robeson”, amusingly – is played by Timothy DiPri, who also played Theo in Emm… you get the idea. Robson is meant to be a bespectacled, yet handsome archaeology lecturer who just can’t resist getting his hands on some random historical McGuffin, throwing him into a world of intrigue. Justine interferes and gets captured (yes, in every single film! This girl gets captured seemingly as a hobby!); Robson manages to rescue her and…

…okay, here’s the other series trope. It was all a dream.

I’m not making this up. Justine’s adventures are mostly dreams she’s having either in the middle of Robson’s lectures or while writhing on her bed in sheer négligée. They genuinely don’t need to write endings to these storylines because they’re all actually dreams!

Justine, asleep in bed, which is basically the only place we ever see her.
Oh, Justine! Wake up – you’ve written an adventure film in your sleep again!

So what’s Justine studying, then, sleep? I’ve never seen her do any actual work or take an exam or anything… not like she pays attention in class, either, as she suddenly slips into an archaeological adventure seemingly completely at random!

Originally I intended for this to be a standard SPS review, where I took a scene and analysed it in-depth. I can’t bring you one, however, because the other thing I’ve managed to discover is that there’s very little sex in this sex series.

Justine is a virgin and manages to remain so throughout the entire thing (fetishisation much?), while all the kinky sex with random guys is the remit of Ursula (slut-shaming much?). While there’s meant to be a little “will-they-won’t-they?” between Justine and Robson, this never actually happens, so there’s no pay-off. There’s plenty of inoffensive nudity from Justine, as she’s particularly keen on changing into nightwear at the drop of a hat… but there isn’t an awful lot of sex.

And when there is sex, it’s often brief, poorly lit, and cuts off before any actual penetrative sex is meant to be happening! It’s very frustrating!

I suppose one positive thing about this (apart from Paul Michael Robinson, formerly Haffron, who plays a villain in this with the most lacklustre German accent I’ve ever heard – always a gem!) is that, in what was clearly quite a short space of time, ASP managed to wring seven adventure films out on what was also probably quite a limited budget. Daneen Boone tries her best, but she doesn’t have the inherent sexiness of Krista Allen as Emmanuelle, and frankly she’s such a drip that it renders her character quite unlikeable.

Justine, in very revealing nightwear, masturbates while having a dream. She has a lot of dreams.
At least she has the impressive ability to masturbate while sleeping.

But the adventure aspect is good. I’m sure I’d appreciate this more were it not for the “it’s all a dream!” epilogue, but at least they’re trying something different with it. I’m not sure it works, coherently, as a whole – they get lost a few times with what they are trying to do – but at least it has the bare bones of a series all in place.

I just wish there were a little more sex, that’s all!

Keeping the British End Up: Rosie Dixon – Night Nurse (1978)

When I was a teenager, I used to keep a list of films that I saw on a little corkboard behind my PC’s monitor, and specifically films I wanted to see again. For a while, it consisted entirely of Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens (1979), until a few months later I added Rosie Dixon: Night Nurse. Presumably, at the time, I liked it; looking back on it now, I have very little idea as to why.

Rosie Dixon: Night Nurse (1978)
Director: Justin Cartwright
Starring: Debbie Ash, Carolyne Argyle, Beryl Reid, et al.

One of several posters. They're all the same, really.
I’m sure it is.

ILB’s Trivia Corner: This is apparently based on a novel by Rosie Dixon, framing it as an autobiography, of sorts. You’ll be shocked, I’m sure, to find out that Rosie Dixon doesn’t exist. She is Timothy Wood, who wrote both the novel and the script for this film. He also wrote a glut of Confessions books as Timothy Lea, four of which got turned into their own sex comedy movies… but that’s for another time.

So, yes, anyway. Rosie Dixon stars Debbie Ash as the titular Rosie, who suddenly decides she wants to be a nurse, and INSTANTLY BECOMES ONE because apparently you can do that without three years of training. The general idea is that randy male doctors and characteristic old man patients (there are a lot of old men in British sex comedies, for whatever reason) can’t keep their hands off her. It’s a threadbare idea, but at least it is an idea.

It’s just executed poorly.

As an example, there is a scene where an old man in a motorised wheelchair continuously pinches Rosie’s bum, and then wheels away before she can notice it’s him. This happens a few times and, despite the fact that there’s nobody else around, she still doesn’t realise it’s him. This is, I presume, meant to be funny, but it isn’t – it’s just stupid. There are a few scenes like this, but this sort of stuff belongs in Doctor in the House. This is a sex comedy; there should be more tittilation than this.

So to the sex bits.

Rosie, Penny and some rando
they put in for whatever reason.

This film has a fair amount of inoffensive nudity, including a shower scene, but unless you are a very young teenager, this isn’t really going to arouse. It’s just naked bodies; you’ve seen them before. One of the main plot points of this film, though, is that Rosie is sexually inexperienced – she doesn’t actually have any sex until the very end of the film, and that’s with one of the doctors, Tom Richmond (Peter Mantle). She’s the star, and she spends a lot of the time not getting laid.

To facilitate this, we have the introduction of Penny Green (Carolyne Argyle), who is both sexually active and very physically attractive. She even has some relatively decent lines like

Penny: I used to be a travel courier, but I had to give up.
Rosie: Why?
Penny: One night there were fifteen ski instructors scratching at the door of my room.
Rosie: Goodness!
Penny: But I wouldn’t let them out!

but those are few and far between. Her main job is to be sexy and sassy, and during both sex scenes she actually has sex and is sassy about it, so I guess that character works, insofar as she is supposed to do what she does.

So, the sex scenes. There are two (two!), and neither is particularly explicit; they always follow a certain pattern, as well, which is:

(i) seduction, although usually very brief
(ii) sex begins happening with Penny
(iii) sex begins happening with Rosie (although in the first scene she’s under a bed with others having sex atop it)
(iv) sex intensifies by way of sped-up footage and overlaid sex noises
(v) quick cuts between Rosie and Penny intermittently implying that this is all happening at the same time
(vi) at some point, the theme tune comes in, so we have “Rosie, my love, don’t change a thing” sung over very unconvincing love-making
(vii) everything ends explosively, in a “humorous” way

The first sex scene is actually pretty okay. Penny is being seduced by (although she actually does more of the seduction herself) Dr Seamus McSweeney (Ian Sharp). Seamus has spent a while trying to get his British end away with anyone who will be receptive, like

Seamus: With your combination of beauty and sensitivity; to be in your presence is to glow.
Rosie: Well, I’ll make you a cup of coffee, and then you can glow away.

and eventually accosts Penny during a night shift, and things go from there at the speed of Billy Whizz on amphetamines… and they have sex on a massage bed. Rosie, meanwhile, almost has sex with one of the abundant old men in the hospital, but he instead ends up having sex with the matron (Beryl Reid… yes, that Beryl Reid), and we don’t even see that, so we cut between Penny humping Seamus (she is on top) and Rosie’s head underneath squeaky springs.

And that’s it.

It’s a humorous, relatively sexy diversion, and it even happens at night, which I guess means we can justify the title of the film after all. The main problem, however, which affects the whole thing, is the second sex scene.

As I’ve said before in this review, Rosie has sex with Tom in the end (in an attic; Rosie assumes he’s brought girls here before, and he says

Tom: I haven’t… but someone else may have!

which poses more questions than it answers). Penny, however, has a thing for a man in traction covered completely in bandages (Jon Lingard-Lane), who can’t move at all, or speak or do anything at all, but allegedly she is enraptured by his eyes. So it happens that, while Rosie and Tom are having cheese-sandwich missionary sex (and end up falling through a ceiling, for the lulz), Penny appears in traction, mounts the patient in plaster, and effectively rapes him.

Well, I say “effectively”; that’s, in fact, exactly what she does, and the final scene (which – spoiler alert but not really – has both main characters getting fired) has her gleefully admitting that she raped a patient – yes, those exact words. That, as you may have gleaned from my words by now, is not funny.

Rosie and Director Bones from DC Comics
Skeletor was on set at one point.

And that is a shame. You see, from looking through this film retrospectively as I have, I can actually see the “comedy” in “sex comedy”. Yes, it’s crass and it’s rude and it’s blunt – they may as well have a stage hand with a neon sign saying “laugh” at certain points – but there are some funny one-liners, and the banter between characters is cheap and cheerful. The physical aspect is a little on the nose, but it’s clearly intended to make you giggle, and all the actors look like they’re having a whale of a time making this.

But the plaster scene, though. I mean, without it, this would probably be my favourite. With it, though, I just can’t get over that mental picture. Penny is naked in it, too… and that’s worse, in a way, as that’s the sort of nudity you want to see!

Overall, then, this is a valiant attempt at making something that’s sexy, funny and inoffensive, good as a distraction at midnight, but more or less completely overshadowed by a very poor decision at the end. Story of my life!

Soft Porn Sunday: Beatrice Baldwin & Glenn Ratcliffe

First Soft Porn Sunday on the new(ish) blog and it’s one I’ve been promising for ages – months, even – without bothering to get off my arse and do so. Cracking stuff, ILB.

This is, in any case, the third in a series of four sex scenes from Compromising Situations‘ third-series episode Centerfold [insert “shudder at the American spelling” here… again…]; additionally, as with the first two I reviewed, this features Glenn Ratcliffe as lackadaisical photographer Joe who… hell, just go and read the first two, okay? I’ll wait.

Appearance: Compromising Situations, Series 3: “Centerfold” (1996)
Characters: Angela & Joe

There were two in the bed and the little one said...
I am pro-soft, so…

So, yeah. This scene takes place on an incredibly fluffy bed with a pretty blue/grey colour scheme (which extends to the curtains and whatever’s going on outside the Perspex window they have there), which both serves as a location and outside fuel for my seething internal jealousy (my bed is about as soft as one of those Whomp enemies from the Mario series). The Sully-themed duvet cover does, however, look a little itchy, so why they’re getting naked on top of it I’ve no idea.

I mean, it’s obvious why they’re getting naked. I’m just slightly distracted by the colour scheme.

There isn’t really a lot of nudity here, for what it is. The scene starts with kissing – and they’re very keen to show you that it’s kissing, judging by the fact that they’ve overlaid kissing sound effects, which cut out suddenly when we cut to Joe doing some odd kind of horizontal kiss on… her breasts? Her collarbone? Random bit of skin? It’s confusing, but it doesn’t matter, because 32 seconds in we fade to insta-sex, SO THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY.

Laundry's going to have a field day.
To be fair, I do quite like the discarded clothes. Shame they vanish later on.

The sex here is positioned in an odd way facilitating it to happen neither under nor on the covers (or maybe they are just trying to avoid the itch); Joe is on top of Angela, or kind of… they are rolling around a bit, but I’m assuming this is meant to be missionary… with the covers pulled down and keeping their feet warm, but the rest of their bodies on display. One does have to wonder exactly why they’re doing neither one nor the other. Softcore doesn’t tend to have this kind of quandary.

There is evidence (or at least pervasive urban rumour) to show that having your feet warm during sex makes for a more satisfying experience. Scientifically, you can lose a lot of heat through bare feet, which lends some credence to the idea, although during good energetic sex you are building up heat, so maybe a fair outlet is beneficial. Whatever. Maybe Joe and Angela are keeping their feet warm to facilitate better lovemaking while also having their top halves bare so they can mutually admire the person they are making love to.

But. y’know, probably not.

It’s nice to see the undersheet also corresponds to the colour scheme, though.

Anyway, so yes, sex. As I said before, Joe is kind of on top here, but they are rolling around a bit so at points it’s a little difficult to tell. At 00:44 we get a quick fade to something more close-up (where we get the first good look at Beatrice Baldwin’s face, which reminds me of Salma Hayek) with yet more overlaid kissing sounds and then one of the least appetising screen kisses I’ve ever seen, but there’s still very little indication that actual sex is happening. It’s clearly meant to be, but this is much more like foreplay than sex (even by softcore standards), and even then, it’s not particularly invigorating.

The claw is our master!
“I won’t go on
if I’m clawing you…”

Maybe it’s all that sex with other women that’s tired Joe out, or something.

The subsequent cut makes this all the more confusing, as Joe (who is doing something odd with his hands as if he’s trying to read Braille) is clearly not meant to be inside Angela, unless he’s somehow fucking her knee (we also get a view of his very square arse, which I hadn’t noticed before and will never now unsee!); if he was meant to be having sex with her before, why isn’t he now? Is this in the wrong order, or are they just trying to be super-realistic and have them take a quick break?

Okay, at this point I have nothing to say because there’s an over-long shot of Beatrice Baldwin’s boobs, so I’ll talk about the music, which is utterly mystifying. It consists entirely of a hi-hat rhythm with apparently random snare and bass drum hits, coupled with a strange ethereal synth line and occasional low thrumming notes (also possibly played on a synth). It doesn’t really sync to the scene, doesn’t actually have any relevance, and is scarily reminiscent of Muzak, which makes me unnerved, as it takes me back to department store lifts in my youth.

After twenty-five seconds of boobs (yes, that’s right – it’s all we see for nearly half a minute), there’s another mix to what, this time, is meant to be sex without pussyfooting around. At least, at this point Angela is riding Joe, so unless she is somehow shagging his belly button, this is full-on penetrative sex, and…

…oh, more kisses. Okay.

Look, I like kisses. They are one of my favourite things. I like to kiss and to be kissed. And I like them in soft porn because they have their place – especially when used strategically, like as a precursor, or footnote, to sex. A kiss can be very powerful. There is, however, a limit, and when you have – as with this scene in pretty much its entirety – multiple kisses of various body parts even when any other scene would have bump’n’grind at this point, that limit has been, shall we say, reached.

Random pillar there in the corner, because why not? Everyone like pillars.
Sure, why not?

Scene kind of ends there with (finally) a full-body shot of them not really doing very much, and a couple of snare drum hits for good measure.

This isn’t a scene I dislike so much as I find baffling. Sex is meant to be happening at certain points, but because there’s very little movement, it’s difficult to discern exactly what those points are. There’s too much of an emphasis on kissing, which would have been fine interspersed with actual sex, but I’m left at the end of this wondering why she had let him inside her in the first place, since neither of them seem to be putting any energy into it. You could achieve the same effect with a cuddle.

And the set design is sound, and Beatrice Baldwin is pretty, and Glenn Ratcliffe is… well… Joe. It has all the makings of a good scene. It is, however, boring, stilted, and uninspired. There are four sex scenes in this episode, so maybe they ran out of ideas?

Or maybe they just had a limited amount of time to film it. I mean, that would explain a lot; we all have things to do that we occasionally run out of time on and never quite fini

Keeping the British End Up: Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1976)

Welcome to a completely unwarranted, shockingly unheralded new meme from someone who’s unqualified to talk about this sort of thing.

The history of sex in film is complicated and it’s hardly as rigid as any of the documentaries and books on the subject would have you believe. In the “above-ground” sex film realm, though, there was something of a shift, in various places internationally, after the decline in popularity of nudie-cuties from the ’60s. American sexploitation began to rear its ugly head, as did Japanese pink film and mainland European “art porn” – the first Emmanuelle came along in 1974.

British film, typically coy and unassuming, started to make its own contribution with smutty comedies – a mixture of slapstick mirth and (often female) nudity: even featuring sex, although in a very different fashion from what one might term as soft porn. I’ve seen a few of these (okay, a lot of these) and, now that quite a few of them are available on Amazon Prime…

…yes, really…

…maybe it’s time for ILB to write far too long blog posts about them.


Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1976)
Director: Stanley Long
Starring: Barry Evans, Judy Gleeson, et al.

I last saw this when I was a teenager, so although I kind of thought I knew what this was about – I remember a snake and a kidnapping plot – I wasn’t entirely sure about the details. I didn’t remember any sex happening, but that isn’t really the point of a British sex comedy.

Badly drawn cartoon
Doesn’t say much.
Like the film itself, really…

The main idea of this flick is that Joe (Barry Evans), who acts as both the protagonist and narrator (he talks in asides to the camera), is a taxi driver who picks up beautiful women. That’s basically it. There’s nothing else to the film. It opens, and this I didn’t remember, with a very British opening narration (by a different actor) about how wonderful taxi drivers are, laid over a montage of “ironic” clips featuring taxis cutting off other vehicles, drivers giving V-signs and stopping to pick up women while avoiding old couples and single men.


Joe also had a weird family (because they all do) including his layabout, thieving tearaway brother Peter (Marc Harrison) and domineering but drippy fiancée Carol (Adrienne Posta), but they make occasional and seemingly random appearances. The first hour, at least, acts as a checklist of “what to do in a sex comedy” things, which can be summarised thus:

(i) needlessly gratuitous bum and thigh shots, often close-ups when women bend over or something ✔
(ii) carelessly sexist dialogue, often referring to women as “birds” or “a bit of crumpet” ✔
(iii) occasional nudity, often female ✔
(iv) people in unhappy relationships – double points if it’s a young, attractive women married to a much older man ✔
(v) random double entendres that hit like a ton of bricks ✔
(vi) very little actual sex (but some, or at least a hint thereof) ✔
(vii) genuinely famous actor making their first appearance (in this case, Robert Lindsay) ✔
(viii) love interest who shouldn’t be a love interest (Judy Gleeson as Nikki) ✔
(ix) “amusing” naked caper-type scenes ✔
(x) incredibly posh older lady (Prudende Drage as Mrs Barker) ✔

If this all seems relatively un-amusing, that’s because that’s what it is. This film can’t decide what it’s trying to be. There are a few things which makes it more unique, such as

Snake sex: Nikki has a snake (a real one) named Monty, who accidentally stimulates someone Joe is trying to seduce (which sounds funnier than it is)

Visible dick: during the naked caper bit, where Joe has to make his way back to his taxi with no clothes, and then picks up a nun to deliver to a convent (also not funny)

Extra kidnap crime plot: tacked on an hour into the film itself, and also comes to nothing!

Emmanuelle reference: one of the cinemas he drives past in central London is showing Emmanuelle, which suddenly made me want to watch a better film

Attractive blonde woman who's probably got somewhere else to be
She can do better.

but, in actual fact, they all add very little to the plot, and all the jokes miss. There’s even a really transphobic bit (in before your “but the ’70s!” protests; it’s still transphobia) with a “female impersonator”, which made me cringe so hard my face resembled a topographical map of Snowdonia. It’s awful, and the fact that the film is trying very hard to get you to like Joe (whereas he is an unlikeable, unattractive, sexist git) just makes it worse.

There’s a switch which comes in so fast that it’s alarming late in the day when suddenly a crime caper happens – something to do with stolen jewellery, but by this point I’d zoned out so much I couldn’t quite work it out. It doesn’t even work here, either, as there’s been no build-up to it, nor is there any particularly appropriate pay-off. It just sort of… ends.

The worst couple since Brangelina
Joe and Carol.
Horrible, isn’t it?

It’s strange, after the drubbing I’ve just given Adventures of a Taxi Driver), to think of how successful it was. Because it was – and it even spawned a couple of sequels, so there’s a whole series to get through (groan!) It relatively shamelessly takes its cue from the Confessions series of a similar ilk, but it has none of the cheeky charm of the Robin Askwith films, and is so episodic in its execution of all the invidual skits that it makes me wonder if this was filmed in a bit of a hurry.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m being unfair.

No, I’m not. It’s the film that’s wrong.

Newer posts »

© 2021 Innocent Loverboy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑