April 18, 2011

The Pleasure Girls (UK 1965)

Because of the many films I have seen already, I sometimes get the jaded feeling of knowing them all. Which is why it is always exciting to discover new interesting films I hadn't even heard about before. A great source for such discoveries is the "Flipside" label of the British Film Institute (BFI). According to their press text, they "rescue weird and wonderful British films from obscurity and present them in new high-quality editions."

"The Pleasure Girls" - another film from this collection - doesn't really qualify as weird or wonderful but that doesn't prevent it from being interesting and definitely worth checking out. Especially if you - like me - enjoy watching those 60s beauties. Like some other films from the collection, it is primarily centered in the London of the Swinging Sixties. And while that brings some nostalgic touch and the era's style with it, it is also very modern in the sense that the same story could be playing today. The romantic misadventures of four young bachelor girls in the big city are in fact not much different to those of "Sex and the City" - with the big difference that the characters are taken more seriously.

What is especially remarkable for 1965 is that the four women in the film are independent individuals and not just as pretty dolls like in many other films of that time. Even more radical is the frank treatment of homosexuality - the main reason the film was awarded an "X" certificate for theatrical release. Back then the film was marketed as an exploitation film but today the morality portrayed in the film feels normal, not shocking. The modern feel is also visible in the way the film is directed - the pace is faster than in most mainstream films back then and there are mobile camera shots as well as plenty of cuts. Even though the film had a relatively low budget, it looks quite nice - partly due of course to the restoration of the BFI.


I also have to mention how much effort BFI puts into the releases of these small underground films. They are presented in pristine high definition quality and include plenty of extras such as two interesting short films from that era. A beautifully illustrated booklet completes the great package.

Viewing pleasure: the BFI Flipside series

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