Isn’t that GREAT? And quite advanced for 1969 — UV lighting and all that.

From THE ADVENTURERS, directed under protest by Lewis Gilbert, who wanted to do OLIVER! instead. Even late in his career, Carol Reed was a better director, but Gilbert would have brought passion to it, so who knows?

I’m posting the only three good bits of this awful film so you don’t have to sit through it.

Nobody except Charlie Bluhdorn at Paramount wanted to make this. His head of production Robert Evans thought it was a terrible, old-fashioned idea. Gilbert said it was “a bullshit story.” If he could have rattled through it in ninety minutes it might have passed, but it’s, I think, approximately one hundred and eighty-seven hours long.

Here is Charles Aznavour’s sex dungeon, which might have made the whole film worthwhile were it not four hundred and eighty-seven hours long. I posted some stills from this before but it’s worth seeing it in motion, which I was unable to arrange previously due to technical troubles.

Delia Boccardo has wild sex with Bekim Fehmiu, some statues and a zoom lens. This is quite bold, and nearly brilliant — filled with contempt for the material, Gilbert tries to bring it to life with desperate measures, and the result is very possibly the most interesting scene he ever made. The statue cutaways, though cheesy, WORK, I think — it’s like porno Minnelli, or sexed-up Eisenstein. And then he starts giving Delia a good seeing-to with the zoom lens and it becomes just silly. But still better than the rest of the film, and probably better than most of Paramount’s output that year.

The film is edited by Anne V. Coates (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, THE ELEPHANT MAN, OUT OF SIGHT) and the cutting is intense and has real SNAP. I just wish she’d forgotten to include all the bits in between these clips.


11 Responses to “Fashion”

  1. I fear your choice of clips may be making the film seem more intriguing than it actually is… save me going through the other seven hundred and eighty-seven hours of it, is there much more Family on the soundtrack, or was it just the scene at the fashion show ???

  2. Wow.

    I’m afraid you’ve made me want to see all sixteen hundred and eight-seven hours of this film.

    I used to be in a band called Charles Aznavour’s Sex Dungeon. The one in the film seems to be decorated with female stalagmites. (Stalagmisses?)

    Someone should transcribe the lyrics to the song in the first clip, run them through the Universal Randomizer (after I’ve invented it), and see if they come out any different. “I look to the past for the things you did last/Like take all the good from the bad.” “Ass pictures loom through the fog.”



  5. 99% sure that’s the only scene with Family on the soundtrack.

    The sex dungeon is kind of like if you lived downstairs from the Korova Milkbar and had a cave-in. What impresses is that this movie came first. I have to tip my hat to Tony Masters (2001, Dune) and his team.

    I also like that the sex dungeon is at the same time fabulously cool and tragically awful.

  6. I just ran “rumpus room” through Google Translate. “Salle de jeux.”

  7. A good title for an Aznavour album, that.

  8. I actually saw this in a drive-in in 1970 and there was an intermission built into the film, not something added by the exhibitor. Was this perhaps shown somewhere on a reserved seat basis. I remember it as being extremely boring.

  9. It definitely is extremely boring. You can’t believe the indecent haste they’re in to get back to the worthless plot the minute one of their little diversions like the fashion show ends. You’re sitting there thinking, “Seriously? Angela Scoular appears for eight lines after the fashion show and then vanishes forever, and you KNOW her character is off doing things far more fabulous than this movie could ever conceive of.

  10. That reminds me of my favorite Pauline Kael line. In her review of Grand Prix she says that Francoise Hardy “appears to have wandered in from another movie that’s a lot more fun.”

  11. It’s an instantly recognizable phenomenon, isn’t it? Yet there seems no way for filmmakers to guard against it, except by excluding fun chicks altogether. And THAT’S no answer!

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