Unrated - Cinema of the Extreme



In 1961, following the success of jizz mag Kamera and numerous 8mm nudie shorts publisher and director George Harrison Marks was approached by British exploitation mavericks Tony Tenser and Michael Klinger who suggested he bring his bare-breasted money-spinners to the big screen. Marks agreed and with the working title “Cornish Holiday” wrote a rough synopsis that would take advantage of the BBFC’s more liberal policy towards documentary-style films that permitted “tasteful”, on-screen representations of naturism, making the characters nudists and placing the majority of the action in a nudist camp. Klinger also stipulated that Marks’s girlfriend and business partner Pamela Green should star, since her blonde mane and tanned buxom body would be familiar to the many punters who’d already fallen for her nude charms via a plethora of Marks’s 8mm shorts and photo-spreads in Kamera.

Tenser and Klinger’s Compton Film Distributors, based in London’s Compton Street, Soho, enjoyed the advantage of having connections with a number of small West End cinemas that specialized in adult fare. The most famous, the Cameo-Moulin, was adjacent to Piccadilly Circus and ideally located to pull in curious members of the mackintosh brigade and any Soho Johns in desperate need of a hand service before the red lights came on. Premiering at the Compton-Moulin on November 30th, 1961, NAKED – AS NATURE INTENDED would fill sticky seats for the next 18 months alongside the likes of THE CALL GIRL BUSINESS, THE LONELY ONE, PARIS PLAYGIRLS, and LOLA.

NAKED begins with a panoramic shot of a Bedruthan beach, accompanied with the on-screen title. For what seems an eternity the viewer gazes at what appears to be an empty beach when a figure finally appears in the distance and starts walking towards the camera. It’s a topless and bronzed Pamela Green, complete with white bits; the remaining titles follow along with a cheesy mug-shot of Marks to accompany his own director credit. The film then switches to what amounts to a travelogue involving two groups of female friends who head off for a weekend at a nudist beach in Cornwall. We are introduced to the first group of three London girls consisting of Windmill Theatre dancer and “woman of the world” Pamela (Pamela Green), her flatmate, office secretary Petrina (Petrina Forsyte) and shoe shop assistant, Jacki (Jackie Salt). On the way to the beach, the three have fun cavorting amongst the monoliths of Stonehenge, Clovelly, Minack Open Air Theatre at Porthcurno and the ancient ruins of Tintagel Castle. Sadly for punters, over half an hour has passed and the girls have managed to keep all their clothes on with Marks offering scant titillation via brief shots of the wind catching the girls skirts and a ridiculous scene where viewers are treated to the sight of their trouser-covered backsides as the intrepid trio rock the trunk of their stuck car up and down in a futile attempt to move it between a couple of country hedges.

Also bound for the coast are nudists Bridget and Angela (Bridget Leonard and Angela Jones) and the five finally meet up on a stretch of Trewyn beach “owned by the local nudist society!” when Pamela leads her two pals onto the private property by accident. The newcomers are introduced to the joys of nudity, strip off and engage in a game of beach ball. After a spot of posing and rock-climbing the girls head off to the Spielplatz Nudist Camp in St. Albans of which Bridget and Angela are members.

Despite the innocent script and the fact that no close-up full frontal nudity (aside from a couple of long shots of distant nudists) was on display, the producers were keen to appease censor John Trevelyan further by having their film seemingly endorsed by genuine naturists and so there follows an appearance by the elderly president of the Spielplatz Club, Charles Macaskie and his wife Dorothy, along with very brief cameos of other club members who meet the girls and whose rather unsightly charms are seen to grace various camp activities involving tennis, swimming, and lazing around in the sun outside their dingy chalets reminiscent of something akin to more risqué addition to the Carry On cycle.

It’s all tame stuff, accompanied by a narrative voice-over detailing monotonous facts concerning various tourist spots and ridiculous asides that liken the travel methods of the two groups (by American Buick and on foot) to the hare and the tortoise fable. Any attempt at eroticism is watered down even further by several comical walk-ons by Marks’s regular 8mm stooge and long-time pal, Stuart Samuels, who dons various disguises that include an office clerk, pianist, fisherman, lecherous Stonehenge security guard and a poolside waiter who gets tipped in the water.

Despite the innocuousness of the finished product, the BBFC were still not satisfied. An early scene set in the flat in which towel-draped Pamela Green emerges from a shower to chat with Petrina Forsyth was cut by Trevelyan as he felt that it might suggest they were lesbians. Another scene cut for similar reasons involved Jackie Salt falling off a boat and into the sea before being helped back in by the girls and rubbed dry with towels, though there’s a brief shot of the sequence restored for this release. Even in the 60s it would be difficult to fathom why Trevelyn should object to these sequences when there is no mention of any lesbianism elsewhere in the movie and considering that lesbianism, unlike homosexuality, has always been legal in the UK.

Unable to compete with the numerous members strip clubs that sprung up in Soho during the early 60s and with the public yearning for the influx of European sex films, in November 1964 the Compton Group transformed the former Burlesque revue the Windmill Theatre into a cinema. Less than two years later, in March 1966, owners Tenser and Klinger stuck a deal to sell the premises to the Capital and Provincial Cinema Chain. Originally intended as a documentary to celebrate The Windmill’s last ‘Revudeville’, director Arnold Louis Miller and producer Stanley Long padded out their final night footage with an account of the life and death of fictional Windmill dancer, Patricia Lord (Pauline Collins). In May 1966, within a week of the film’s completion, SECRETS OF A WINDMILL GIRL, the final entry from Compton’s nude school of exploitation, was entertaining moviegoers at the newly refurbished Windmill where much of its footage had originally taken place.

The dark opening to the film introduces us to Patricia and her pick-up who, high on drugs, are killed in a car-crash. We are then taken back to her earlier days, as narrated to Inspector Thomas (Derek Bond) by Patricia’s best friend Linda Grey (April Wilding) as the two indulge in feisty shenanigans at school and in menial jobs before earning good money as show dancers at the Windmill Theatre in Soho. Much to Linda’s dismay, Patricia vainly dreams of hitting the big-time and does all in her power to achieve her aims. With salacious scenes that include dalliances with sleazy West End producers, butch lesbians, masked fetishists and drug-pushing clientele, Patricia's life spirals out of control, eventually reduced to stripping in East End pubs. The narrative is intercut with documentary footage of dance routines from the Windmill that tantalize viewers with the odd glimpse of bum and nipple obscured by various colourful bird feathers though the main stars Collins and Wilding cover up throughout.

Various Windmill performers appear in cameos including Aimi MacDonald, Maurice Lane, and Dana Gillepsie alongside real-life showgirls and staff, footage that today stands as a valuable historical record of the theatre making SECRETS OF A WINDMILL GIRL a creditable back-up to the main feature.

Carl T. Ford

 

NAKED - AS NATURE INTENDED

Directed by George Harrison Marks

English language
UK / 60 minutes approx / Colour / 1961 / Rated 15
PAL 1.33:1

SECRETS OF A WINDMILL GIRL

Directed by Arnold Louis Miller
produced by Stanley A. Long

English language
UK / 84 minutes approx / Colour / 1966 / Rated 15
PAL 1.33:1

Studio: Odeon Entertainment
Release date: DVD and Blu-Ray 18th April, 2011 DVD All region PAL
EXTRAS

Booklet Notes by Simon Sheridan
Best of British Trailers

NAKED - AS NATURE INTENDED / SECRETS OF A WINDMILL GIRL

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