One from the to watch pile…
Respectable: The Mary Millington Story (2016)
Film: I sometimes think, since the advent of DVD, that I love extras, and documentaries about films, more than the films themselves. That is, I’ve always loved documentaries, Helevtica is one of my favourite films, documentary or otherwise, but seeing informative video about the films I love is like a dream come true.
I think the first actual film documentary I saw that wasn’t an extra, was Mark Hartley’s Not Quite Hollywood, and I lapped it up, and I have actively pursued as many as I can and have amassed a collection of about 20 films, ranging from Roger Corman’s history, to the legend of Britain’s Video Nasty period.
If anything, this documentary is almost complimentary for the Jake West Video Nasty docos, as it tells not of the banned videos from the early 80s, but instead tells of UK porno star Mary Millington’s life, and her rise from glamour photo club model, to lad’s magazines to the illegal market of porn films in the 70s.
The doco is written and directed by Simon Sheridan, Millington’s biographer and writer of Come Play With Me: The Mary Millington Story and has is narrated by Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrel’s Dexter Fletcher. There are recent interviews with several family members and Millington’s film contemporaries of the time, not to mention archive interviews with porn producers and anti-porn activists (like Mary Whitehouse), and an audio interview with Millington herself.
Hers was a life of drugs and sex and money, and as most documentaries of people with these lifestyles, it doesn’t end well, as the tragedy of their lifestyle can sometimes catch up with those involved.
My interest in this period of cinema comes as an extension of my love of the so-called saucy cinema of the UK, whether it’s the less risqué Carry on Films, or some of the slightly more-so borderline soft-core porn films of the period, and I’ve always been a fan of Millington. This doco is surprising as it is rated a U.K. (18) but has quite a lot of full frontal nudity, both male and female, and some actual sex… not a great deal, but enough to raise my eyebrows at the idea I grabbed this from Amazon!
It’s a tragic and fascinating story, told well with heaps of supplementary material and when you have a story about someone who was filmed and photographed as often as Millington, you know there is gonna be lots of nudity and a decent slog of sex.
Format: This UK release, region 2 DVD runs for approximately 110 minutes and is presented is a 1.75:1 image of varying quality due to the amount of archival material, but essentially the picture is ok. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and is clear.
Extras: Amazing amount of extras on this disc:
The Audio Commentary is done by Sam Dunn from the British film institute and Simon Sheridan, the writer and director of the film. It is a really interesting, in-depth commentary, almost as interesting as the film.
Confession from the Dave Sullivan focuses primarily on Sullivan’s career in the adult entertainment industry, as far as publishing and filmmaking is concerned. An interesting albeit brief look at his career.
Keep it up, Sue! In conversation with Sue Longhurst is similar to the Sullivan short insomuch as it briefly looks at the career of one of Millington’s contemporaries, and her appearance in the Keep It Up films.
Sex Talk with Ed Tudor-Pole is a similar interview with punk musician Ed Tudor-Pole, from Tenpole Tudor.
Party Pieces 1974 silent film is an 11 minute long stag film with no sound which is quite tame compared to today’s pornography.
Come Play With Me original 1977 trailer is obviously a trailer for ‘Come Play With Me’.
Respectable teaser trailer is, obviously a teaser for this film.
WISIA: This sort of doco is right up my alley, so I’ll definitely watch it again.