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  There's a Girl in My Soup The Rake's Lack Of Progress
Year: 1970
Director: Roy Boulting
Stars: Peter Sellers, Goldie Hawn, Tony Britton, Nicky Henson, Diana Dors, Judy Campbell, John Comer, Gabrielle Drake, Nicola Pagett, Geraldine Sherman, Thorley Walters, Ruth Trouncer, Françoise Pascal, Tom Marshall, Raf De La Torre, Lance Percival, Avril Angers
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Robert Danvers (Peter Sellers) is attending a wedding at a country mansion, not his own, heavens no, he wouldn't get married in a million years, but of a young lady called Claire (Nicola Pagett) who he knows very well. So well, in fact that after the ceremony and a spot of mingling with the upper class guests he has no interest in chatting to, Robert pops upstairs to say hello to the bride in her boudoir, then one thing leads to another and they are making love one last time, with Claire regretting that they split up when the man she's stuck with is far less exciting. Not only that, but once he has finished with her for the afternoon he leaves with another young lady, Julia (Gabrielle Drake)...

Needless to say, Sellers was no spring chicken when he was making There's a Girl in My Soup, though that was the point of his character, that he was a middle-aged randy old goat who enjoyed a string of flings without ever settling down. But what if he were to meet the right girl? And what if she happened to be Goldie Hawn, in her first film after leaving Laugh-In (which had made her famous as a ditzy blonde mangling punchlines) and her surprise Supporting Actress Oscar win for Cactus Flower, what then? You could argue this movie needed her far less than she needed this movie since her star was on the rise, and would stay fairly stratospheric for the rest of her career until she retired.

Goldie was definitely the best and brightest thing about the film, coping ably with both the comedy and the more dramatic scenes, all the while looking about as 1970 as it was possible to get. Sellers, on the other hand, was a different matter, many thought he was miscast as a lothario and director Roy Boulting, who had worked with him before in notable works, should have considered someone more convincing as a ladies' man. That said, it was clear why Sellers was here, and that was his comic ability more than any air of sexual voraciousness, but even so the failings of the latter depiction did tend to affect the humour of the former, his louche smile did look like a fixed grin of embarrassment for rather too much of the time.

Not that Sellers was any stranger to dallying with blondes half his age, but not much about his screen personas screamed "Casanova", and so it was the case here, with you likely pondering what exactly Goldie's Marion character ever saw in him. Robert Danvers is a celebrity restaurant critic with his own top-rated television show, which goes some way to explaining that celebrity would be an attraction, but then Marion is an American and has no idea who he is when they first meet outside a party held in the downstairs flat of her current boyfriend Jimmy (an upstart Nicky Henson). She is obviously fed up, and instead of following his best pal Andrew (Tony Britton) into a staid party held upstairs, Robert is delighted to coax Marion into his Rolls-Royce and back to his bachelor pad.

But the evening does not go as he anticipated, for Marion is this kooky girl who doesn't play by the rules and all that sort of free spirited thing, though does mean she spends the night in Robert's (circular, electronic) bed without the man himself after he feels sorry for her, not the best aphrodisiac. These set off the stirrings of romance in them both, and before they know it they are in love, which seems farfetched given how mismatched they are, and Peter Sellers being Peter Sellers, never quite shaking off the appearance of a dirty old man. There's a Girl in My Soup was taken from the hit stage play, which by all accounts was an amusing experience in the theatre, but as is so often the case opening it out for the big screen saw the material falter, with only the star quality of the leading lady and a powerful sense of nostalgia given how vivid it was in its setting of slightly past it Swinging London eliciting much of a reason to watch. Really the pairing of two talents like Sellers and Hawn should have created more opportunities for laughs, but they're like chalk and cheese here. Music by Mike D'Abo, including songs.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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