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  I'm Not Feeling Myself Tonight! Artificial Stimulants
Year: 1976
Director: Joseph McGrath
Stars: Barry Andrews, James Booth, Sally Faulkner, Billy Hamon, Ben Aris, Ronnie Brody, Freddie Earle, Bill Maelor-Jones, Brian Murphy, Chic Murray, Marjie Lawrence, Graham Stark, Katya Wyeth, Rita Webb, Gennie Nevinson, Mary Millington, Marianne Stone
Genre: Comedy, Sex, Trash, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jon Pigeon (Barry Andrews) works at a sex research institute, but the ironic thing is he cannot get the slightest sexual satisfaction himself. This morning when he's walking to work he sees a young woman (Mary Millington) in large sunglasses and an Emmanuelle T-shirt who seems to be interested in him, but then she proceeds to jump into the arms of a workman who takes her into his tent; Pigeon looks on admiringly but uselessly and goes on his way. Not much better is when he sees a chauffeur canoodle with his boss in the back seat of her car: he would never have that kind of luck. So the time has arrived for drastic action, implementing the institute's technology to create a sonic aphrodisiac...

The concept of aphrodisiacs would pop up periodically in British sex comedies of the seventies, but one film that really picked up the idea and ran with it was I'm Not Feeling Myself Tonight, whose entire premise was built around scenes of characters suddenly turning indiscriminately horny thanks to the intervention of our hero's latest device. That said, one look at the establishment he works in and you wonder why it would be at all necessary, since in typically cynical fashion the film believes sex researchers mostly exploit experiments which will see them adopting the hands on approach, basically an excuse to get laid during working hours. When Pigeon shows up there, it's all he can do to avoid bumping into naked women chased down the corridors.

Though nobody is chasing after Pigeon, much to his chagrin, apparently reflecting the state of mind of screenwriter David McGillivray at the time, who was churning out scripts for comedies and horrors where attractive actresses doffed their togs but were not interested in doing so with him. This film was the source of great disgruntlement for the author since his carefully penned gags were largely rewritten by director Joseph McGrath and his mates, leaving McGillivray lamenting, as many a writer has before and since, that their masterpiece had been tampered with beyond recognition by the so-called talent who thought they knew better. Not that it mattered at the box office, as this packed them into the cinemas regardless.

In truth, it wasn't the dead loss McGillivray believed it to be, but that was largely down to it being so stupid you couldn't help but chuckle occasionally. What Pigeon wants more than anything is a chance with his boss's secretary, this being an era where the boss (in this case James Booth as the oddly named Mr Nutbrown) was the source of much of the sympathy for the office worker humour. The secretary is Cheryl (Sally Faulkner), who it is clear to everyone but Pigeon would be perfectly approachable without the use of science fiction, he really doesn't need to go to these lengths, but then the comedy setpieces would go nowhere, so he adapts his computer (because computers were magic in the seventies) to a portable sound machine that instantly makes, say, traffic wardens ravage policemen.

Plus there's the sight of Mary Whitehouse and her campaigners, who happened to be passing by one assumes, turning into lust-crazed porn fans in the back of Pigeon's van. OK, it wasn't the actual Mary, it was a spoof, but telling in its choice of target for getting the audience on the filmmakers' side. Accompanied by his dim sidekick Keith (Billy Hamon) - check out his phone call to his parents for a scene you'd never get these days - Pigeon creates havoc at Cheryl's flat (which sees her, sitcom star Brian Murphy and a couple of extras jumping up and down on her bed), a posh garden party (yes, someone does fall in the pool) and finally at an international sex research conference, which if you're wondering why it is held in a Wild West saloon bar the answer comes soon enough when Pigeon switches on his strongest version yet of the contraption (actually a strobe light) and a mass brawl erupts, only with nudity for maximum confusion in the "huh?" stakes. With appearances by Peter Sellers' great friend Graham Stark and surreal Scottish comedian Chic Murray, at least it wasn't boring. Music by Cy Payne.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Joseph McGrath  (1930 - )

Scottish director of film and TV comedy who debuted as one of four directors on the chaotic James Bond spoof Casino Royale. The Terry Southern-penned Magic Christian was a bizarre comedy whose cast included Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, while 1973's Digby, The Biggest Dog in the World is a much-loved kids favourite. McGrath also helmed The Great McGonagall, another oddball Milligan comedy, and big screen version of Rising Damp.

 
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