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  This - That and the Other! Trilogy of TitillationBuy this film here.
Year: 1969
Director: Derek Ford
Stars: Victor Spinetti, Vanessa Howard, Dennis Waterman, Vanda Hudson, John Bird, Gordon Sterne, Peter Kinsley, Roy Brannigan, Valerie Leon, Heather Barber, Alexandra Bastedo, Christopher Mitchell, Yutte Stensgaard, Angie Grant, Cleo Goldstein, Michel Durant
Genre: Comedy, Trash
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Here are a trilogy of tales, starting with one based around the film industry. Susan Stress (Vanda Hudson) is an international actress who has been offered the role in a new production, but the producer is not sure she can handle it. It's all about an older woman seducing a younger man, and Susan is incensed that he doesn't think she will be up to the part, so when she catches sight of the producer's son (Dennis Waterman) carrying his camera equipment she persuades him into her hotel room to prove a point. First they will take some saucy snaps...

Derek Ford and his brother Donald Ford scripted this three part prototype sex comedy of the kind that would come into its own the following decade, often with these two filmmakers at the helm. But This - That and the Other was made in 1969, where the censorship restrictions were beginning to loosen, so there was not the deluge of nudity here that you would see in this kind of thing in the seventies. Indeed, the middle story does not feature any nudity at all apart from a brief flash, and seems to be appealing to the more depressive, lonely males who might have ventured out to their local fleapit to pass the time.

Before we get to that, there's the matter of Dennis Waterman to contend with, as he plays the shutterbug who gets to photograph the actress, who seeems to be from Continental Europe - her accent is difficult to pin down - although in this case he doesn't have the chance to write the theme tune and sing the theme tune as that burden goes to the attractively-named Scrugg. What he does have the chance to do is roll around in the nude with Vanda, after chasing her around the bedroom for some reason (I thought the seduction was her idea in the first place?), but it's nothing that sets the pulse racing.

After that, and a non-hilarious punchline which reveals all, we are offered the sight of Victor Spinetti trying to commit suicide by turning the gas tap of his fire on and not lighting it, huddled under a blanket to speed up the process. This isn't exactly hilarious either, though for different reasons, but the filmmakers don't wish to see Spinetti's character suffer, so a party descends on his flat, erroneously believing that someone called Claudia lives there. We never see Claudia, but we do see chirpy Vanessa Howard who gets everyone to make it a suicide party, which is not a Jonestown-style massacre but sort of a variation on fancy dress where they all pretend to be killing themselves in various ways.

Again, not all that funny, but it does have a sweet ending to make up for it. Finally, there's a frankly bizarre episode where John Bird, far from his customary satirical efforts, plays a taxi driver and sex film fan who picks up a fare in the middle of the night - played by Yutte Stensgaard - but then crashes into one of the more obnoxious partygoers from the previous segment. This sends him into a dream state which is a strange mixture of pretentious art movie and prosaic comedy, where Bird wanders through the grounds of an odd looking house, which has its own pool, as all the while ladies cavort around in states of undress, including Valerie Leon as one of the more recognisable faces. It's as if they wanted to make an arty affair but were scared of being too pretentious, so plonked the taxi driver in the middle of it as he undercuts the mood by continually asking for his fare. This is a relic, really, but historians of the age may find it diverting.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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