The Pleasure Girls | Gerry O’Hara’s sexy 1960s Chelsea-set drama is a guilty pleasure indeed
From director Gerry O’Hara, comes the 1965 London-set drama The Pleasure Girls. Like the same year’s The Party’s Over (check out my review here), this obscure British indie is all about 1960s youth culture – this time focusing on the modern independent woman, but also set around the achingly hip streets of Kensington and Chelsea.
Here the action revolves around No 48 Tudor Court, W8, a grand Victorian house occupied by a group of nice girls with posh accents all trying trying their darnedest not to become fallen women in the big city. Amongst this lot are Sally (Francesca Annis), a wannabe model from East Grinstead; her best friend Angela (Anneke Wills aka Doctor Who‘s Polly); and Dee (Hammer vixen Suzanna Leigh). Offering the girls tea and sympathy is the loveable Paddy (Tony Tanner), who enjoys his ‘stag nights’ with the ‘lads’ while the girls paint the town red.
Despite its lurid title and bevy of beauties, this is no a porn film. Instead director O’Hara gives us a slice of London life (as it was), focusing on some fearlessly assured women making it on their own. New chick Sally’s big dilemma is whether she should ‘put out’ after meeting Ian McShane‘s youthful photographer Keith; while Dee has her hands full trying to convince her gambling slumlord boyfriend (Klaus Kinski) that she loves him as well as his money.
The Pleasure Girls might be light on drama, but it’s heavy on classy turns by the mainly female cast and lots of superb London location shots. Plus, Sloane Square and its environs never looked so good. This is a nostalgic must-see. On a trivia note, producer Michael Klinger made Roman Polanski’s Repulsion the same year, before launching a career in the Confessions series of sex comedies, while O’Hara would later film The Bitch with Joan Collins and Fanny Hill with Lisa Foster (two other films with slightly skewed feminist leanings).
The Pleasure Girls is available in a dual format edition (containing both DVD & Blu-ray on the one disc) as part of the BFI Flipside strand, featuring the alternative export cut (Blu-ray only) and export version scenes (DVD only). You can also rent it on BFI Player for £3.50.
Posted on June 17, 2014, in BFI Player, British Film, Cult classic, Must-See and tagged 1960s British film, Anneke Wills, BFI Flipside, BFI Player, British Film, Francesca Annis, Gerry O'Hara, Ian McShane, Kensington and Chelsea, Suzanna Leigh, The Pleasure Girls, Tony Tanner. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.