Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Two gentlemen sharing - very 1969

I am indebted once again to my friend Colin for unearthing this missing 1969 movie - a very bizarre view now, but capturing that late 1960s vibe in Swinging London perfectly. This was the era where black neighborhoods were seen as funky ghettos where all kinds of hip things went on - as per Hal Ashby's witty and hilarious 1970 THE LANDLORD.

An insecure Briton and a Briton of Jamaican descent share a London apartment together.
This though is a very British and downbeat take on a familiar story (the flipside perhaps of that jaunty BBC series about flat-sharing girls, TAKE THREE GIRLS or the 1965 THE PLESURE GIRLS), its from a David Stewart Leslie novel. Upper class Roddy (Robin Phillips) is looking for someone to share his very spacious flat and posh sounding Andrew (Hal Frederick) who is Jamaican is coming up against racism as he tries to find a flat to share. 
The guys seem to get on, and even the snooty owner of the house Rachel Kempson tries to get along with Andrew, but his noisy lovemaking with his girl-friend brings out her hidden racism and she even uses the "N word" .....

Second billed Judy Geeson does not appear for over half an hour as the dolly bird they meet at one of those funky parties in ghetto-land. Is Roddy really interested in her or is his latent gayness coming to the fore? A vicious gay at the party sets his sights on Roddy ..... we also meet Earl Cameron as the black step-father of Judy, and there are some excruciating scenes at the advertising agency where Roddy works - cue Norman Rossington sans underpants chasing various dolly birds. It all gets a bit Benny Hill ... not quite like John Boorman's 1970 Notting Hill race drama LEO THE LAST - there's one to re-see! 

The pacing seems rather off, some scenes drag on interminably, and the ending is a downbeat botch. No wonder this never appeared anywhere since 1969 .... director Ted Kotcheff went on to better things. Robin Phillips (who died this year aged 75 - see RIP label) became a well-known theatre director, particularly in Canada; as an actor he was rather limited, but was good in DECLINE AND FALL in 1968 and he was a DAVID COPPERFIELD. Hal Frederick kept working until 1980. 

For me, being 23 in 1969, it was "three gentlemen sharing" as I was sharing a large maisonette flat in Balham, South London (a very desirable gentrified area now), in '69/'70 with two friends - Stan and Joe. We all had a room each, living room, large kitchen and stairs down to the garden. [In that pre-internet, pre-DVD world, with just 3 black and white tv channels (colour had come in but most people did not switch to it until the early '70s, as I did in 1972), so music - albums and singles - was our main entertainment as well as going to the cinema and concerts]. 15 or so years later I was house-hunting with my then partner and this same flat was on the market, so we went and had a look - it was all exactly the same, but with the addition of central heating! 


  1. I know this is a curio but is it worth hunting down? I'm afraid that, like GIRL ON A MOTORCYCLE which I saw recently, it will be much too much of its time and not really that good.

  2. Oh, its not good - but it doesn't have to be, those who enjoy trash classics and those trashy films of that era will love it.