Saturday 12 March 2016

The quickies and the damned… Adam and Nicole (1975)

Mary Millington
The original title for this film is Erotic Inferno which has me wondering what level of hell the writers had in mind – on this evidence the holding area in which the damned are used to screen test beginners’ soft porn films. Phew, it must be all of 20 degrees Celsius in there: no wonder Dante forgot to include it!

The film’s genesis was partially captured by a BBC documentary – Man Alive: Xploitation – which would be something to see. The director - Trevor Wrenn – is apparently shown talking his performers through their scenes – dialogue would be added later – which, again, would be particularly informative during the frequent and very rushed sex scenes: “ a bit closer, c’mon love, lift your leg… no, not that one, that’s it arch your back love…” and so on.

Michael Watkins snarls
Of course, one of those who would need little instruction in these matters is Mary Millington arguably Britain’s sexual superpower of the seventies – here listed under her married name of Mary Maxted.  Actually, her scenes are only with Heather Deeley and prove to be the most subtle and respectful of all the film’s couplings – they’re just about the only ones in a proper relationship with the rest after only self-gratification at best.

The documentary showed the film’s writer, Jonathan Gershfield (as Jon York), putting the script together in the library of York University and that feels about the right level – probably he was a fresher imagining his way through the sex lives of liberated, go-getting adults.

Mary and Heather frolicking
The result leaves a film whose only charm is period – the house, haircuts and cars – with virtually no sympathetic characters except the two lovely stable girls (Mary and Heather).

So why watch it and why write about it? Got me there… although this is precisely the kind of film I’d liked to have seen as a teenager at around the time but I’m not sure it would have aided my education on adult matters. It’s seventies X-rated which means there’s a lot of female nudity, dirty talk and minimal foreplay (apart from the stable girls… who at least have manners).

But there’s also a story too…

Jenny Westbrook
After the opening credits have revealed Adam (Michael Watkins) enjoying an afternoon liaison with a young woman (Monika Ringwald) in the Tower Hotel – St Catherine’s dock full of posh yachts even in 1975 – we discover that his boss is missing presumed drowned. Old Mr. Barnard (Anthony Kenyon) was a multi-millionaire of no fixed morality who also happens to be Adam’s father although he was born out of wedlock (which is a bad thing even when so much of the activity required to produce such an outcome is apparently a good thing…).

Adam works as the Old Man’s land manager and shares a bed with the housekeeper Nicole (Jenny Westbrook) who is a nice enough sort with an insatiable interest in Adam’s two half-brothers both of whom stand to properly inherit their father’s riches.

Jeannie Collings and Chris Chittell
All parties converge on the Old Man’s Tudor mansion, Adam driving his Rolls Royce back, the more business-like Paul (Karl Lanchbury) and Martin (Chris Chittell - later a star of Emmerdale) in a yellow Triumph Stag. Martin’s a chip off the old block and takes his time in between sessions with his girlfriend Brenda (Jeannie Collings). No one’s exactly grieving…

Adam is angry, Paul is creepily-cold and Martin’s an over-baring (geddit) bully. None of this cuts any ice with the family lawyer, Eric Gold (Michael Sheard, yes Mr Bronson from Grange Hill – a fine actor who also featured in Star Wars and no less than six times in Doctor Who) who insists that the main house remain locked until the will is read.

Jenny Westbrook and Karl Lanchbury
What to do to pass the time…? Well, Nicole reveals her fondness for both of the brothers, first with the uptight Paul and then the border-line charming Martin on a number of occasions. These couplings seem passionless and rushed for old time’s sake. Martin’s neglecting his fiancée though and she starts to form an arrangement with Paul which is borderline touching: they appear to have nothing in common but seem to be rushing to love as quickly as Martin and Nicole rush to… well, you know…

Meanwhile Adam is still angry and shares a brief tangle in the fields with the pretty stable girl Gayle (Heather D) a rare tender moment for him but she still rushes back to Jane (Mary M) for some proper affection.

Michael Watkins and Heather Deeley
It is hard to keep up (fnar!) and very uneven… but the mood of barely contained aggression is well maintained between the males and the females are mostly more than willing to take it on the chin…

Adam has Nicole hide the key to the house on a chain round her waist and naturally Paul and Martin are keen to get their hands on it and the body attached… Paul sneaks in to find the key but ends up hiding under the bed as his brother conducts a full body search on the mattress above.

Meanwhile Martin’s fiancée is naturally unconvinced of her lover’s sincerity and becomes increasingly drawn to Paul… who knows this could be the real thing although it’s more convincing in word not deed as there’s little chemistry between the actors.

Adam, as is his wont, gets even more angry and tries his luck with Gayle again in the stables but this time she won’t be turned: he’s too rough – too much and he’s clearly not Jane. At last, some fidelity!!

Slight spoilers: Then, late one night, the moment arrives as the solicitor arrives to deliver the last will and testament of the man who begat three such winning examples of the male sex… There’s some big surprises in store but... why spoil the plot?

A Triumph!
Dusty verdict: The film was tagged “a luscious story of naked greed!” and it is indeed a story of greed and naked but by and large the women should be excluded from the unpleasant behaviour of the  four male protagonists by the end and even Paul may have transferred his interest to actual love.

In terms of performance, the women generally have more to play with than the men (ooer) with Jenny Westbrook managing to come across convincingly (oh, stop it!) whilst Adam’s start to finish black mood must have taken some skill to maintain.

Heather Deeley
In soft porn terms Deeley and Millington take the Oscars and are almost in a film of their own. Deeley’s character almost saves Adam as well as they share a few bucolic moments amongst horses and trees but he can’t help being nasty to even her in the end.

The film doesn’t appear to be available commercially which is surprising. I’m sure someone will find the wherewithal to liberate it from obscurity if only for the obvious reasons: nakedness and ambition.


  1. Would be great to see this come back into circulation either on DVD or Blu-Ray, but I think I remember hearing that the right’s owner either isn’t interested in putting it out or wants too much money for it….a pity if that is the case. Unfortunately if you are reviewing it from the version with the 1981 copyright notice you will have only seen the heavily cut version of it that was released on video in the USA. The UK pre-cert VHS on the Hokushin label was technically ‘uncut’ in terms of sexual content and violence but was missing bits and bobs of dialogue due to print damage and reel changes.

    1. It's a shame the guy won't release the film - it's interesting and I'd like to see the fuller version. I watched the UK VHS and the narrative - as well as the other action - was definitely uneven. Some good moments, cinematography and, of course, Mary!