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  Not Tonight, Darling! Housewife's Choice
Year: 1971
Director: Anthony Sloman
Stars: Luan Peters, Vincent Ball, Jason Twelvetrees, James Hayter, Bill Shine, Sean Barry-Weske, Nicki Howorth, Lance Barrett, Fiona Richmond, Michael O'Malley, Carole Catkin, Nicola Austin
Genre: Drama, SexBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Karen Williams (Luan Peters) is a lonely housewife in the suburbs who wishes her husband John (Jason Twelvetrees) paid more attention to her, especially in the bedroom where he has completely lost interest in her. He simply relies on her to make his meals and look after their young son, and will not listen to her when she drops heavy hints that she would like him to take a job not in London where he works at a top solicitors but somewhere closer to home, all the better to see more of his wife. What Karen doesn't know is that someone is taking notice of her, but unfortunately he is a Peeping Tom who spies on her at night through the bathroom window...

Well, that's a sorry state of affairs, and Karen's boring life is going to get worse before it gets better. The voyeur is Eddie (Sean Barry-Weske) and he is the shopkeeper of her local grocer's who happens to have taken a shine to her, though he is friends with commercial traveller Alex (Australian acting stalwart Vincent Ball, looking far too old for the part) who makes a bet with Eddie that he can bed Karen. But he is going to take it further than that, as we discover when he reveals he has quite a racket selling footage of unwitting people in compromising situations to lowlifes who distribute them to "private" cinemas. And that, believe it or not, was the whole plot more or less, give or take husband-based dismay.

Our leading lady was glamour model Luan Peters, one of those "discovered" by Soho entrepreneur Paul Raymond (Fiona Richmond is in this too, under a different name), so you can tell someone was repaying a few favours by landing her the starring role. Although the path from taking your clothes off in gentlemen's interest magazines to legitimate actress doesn't guarantee an abundance of skill before the camera, Peters wasn't actually too bad, best recalled for the episode of Fawlty Towers where Basil mistook her for a lightswitch, though she did appear more intent on making progress as a pop singer which was how she had started in showbiz. It was acting that kept her name higher profile, however (though there was low level scandal when she was revealed to be miming to Tina Charles' voice in TV appearances for 5000 Volts).

So here she disrobes as expected, but was also requested to suggest an abyss of domestic, every day the same despair for which the introduction of an ageing lothario was supposed to be her dream come true, only even with that in mind she doesn't appear over the moon that her life has come to this for her excitement. Perhaps it was Alex's insistence on chatting her up by taking her to watch sixties one hit wonders Thunderclap Newman to rehearse, where they do two songs, one instrumental and one vocal, neither of which will make much of an impression and are accompanied by cutaways to Peters and Ball plainly not in the same room pretending to groove to the tunes, as if this lot were all they could find at the last moment - who knew they were still an ongoing concern in 1971?

Anyway, the main bone of contention for the characters is Alex's double dealing, for once he has seduced Karen he sends her a photo of them together caught in the act, and uses it to blackmail her into accompanying him to one of the least appealing swinger's parties you ever did see - she is shocked to see best pal Joan (Nicki Howorth) there too, but the thing is, none of them except their weaselly host is aware they are being filmed. John, who is not only a prude but a prig, finds out the hard way, embarrassed enduring a strip show for the benefit of saving face with his boss only for a stag reel to start playing whereupon he recognises the missus, the same woman he recoiled in horror from when she attempted to spice things up in bed with oral sex. There is a fitting end to this for Alex, but then the film simply, er, peters out with a couple of knowing looks rather than a more conclusive denouement, so we never find out if the Williamses get over this hurdle in their marriage, though frankly you hope Karen ditched John for someone who appreciated her. Music by Denis King.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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