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  Queen of the Blues Strip-O-GrimBuy this film here.
Year: 1979
Director: Willy Roe
Stars: Mary Millington, Rosemary England, John M. East, Allan Warren, Ballard Berkeley, Lynn Dean, Felix Bowness, Milton Reid, Robert Russell, Cindy Truman, Nicola Austin, Lydia Lloyd, Rosalind Watts, Pat Astley, Faith Daykin, Fiona Sanderson, Valerie Minifie
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Sex, Trash
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: This strip club in London's Mayfair district is doing so well that it has attracted the attentions of an unsavoury gang boss. He has sent over two of his henchmen (Felix Bowness and Milton Reid) to check out what goes down there, and they are currently propping up the bar as the girls go through with their acts. The star attraction is Mary (Mary Millington), so-called Queen of the Blues, who is popular enough to keep the club in business on her own, and there are a variety of performances to be seen there, including a fire eater - but for how much longer will they be able to keep their heads above water?

British porn baron David Sullivan produced a few softcore sex movies for cinema exhibition in the seventies and early eighties, but none of them were much good, obviously designed to part the gullible punters from their cash by way of the cheapest tat available: as long as there were young women taking their clothes off, then that's all that interested them. Therefore most of the nudity here is supplied by the strippers that Sullivan hired for the movie, here filmed largely from somewhere in the audience of the club, which might as well have been from a distance of half a mile away for all you can see from that location.

The ostensible star was Millington, in her last real role before she killed herself (her final appearance was a brief part in the Sex Pistols movie The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle), though as with most of her movies her appearance was pretty much limited to a glorified suporting role. By this time Mary was to all reports going through a terrible time, with drugs, divorce and shoplifiting charges hanging over her head, which might explain why the filmmakers didn't offer her much to do. The only time we hear her speak in this is when she is in the strippers' dressing room, and oddly she is portrayed as unfriendly and full of herself, not an image that you would have thought did her any favours.

If she was the biggest draw here, then there was precious little else to attract the casual viewer, and even Millington's presence was of morbid curiosity value. The actual star, or at least the one who got the most screen time, was John M. East, who essayed a dual role as both the club's comic, telling groan-inducing dirty jokes that leave one feeling enervated, and the club owner, who runs the business with his brother (Allan Warren) who we continually see having it away with the nurse of the bloke who puts up the cash for the establishment, played by Ballard Berkeley, best known for being the Major in classic sitcom Fawlty Towers. Rest assured, there's nothing classic about this.

With a title like Queen of the Blues you might expect some R&B singing at least, but the only music to he heard is the sub-disco rubbish that drones away as the strippers disrobe. Perhaps it was named that because of Millington's much publicised problems, of which there is no other hint in the film itself. As it was, this was unlikely to provide much excitement to anyone, mainly due to every time a stripper performed we got constant cutaways to Hi-De-Hi star Bowness and regular screen hardman Reid looking on approvingly and making lecherous faces, a passion killer if ever there was one. You know when the script includes a ghost in its latter stages to add a little spice to its plot that they must have been desperate for anything to fill out the time between the naked women, and as expected it does nothing to lift what was a depressingly low rent exercise.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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