Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Amorous Milkman (1975)

Directed by Derren Nesbitt
Starring Brenden Price, Donna Reading, Julie Ege, Diana Dors
Rated X


"That's the problem with tits today. No sense of humor."

Produced, directed, written by, and based on the presumably popular novel by the awesomely named Derren Nesbitt –who reportedly sold his yacht to make this - The Amorous Milkman is an almost universally reviled film. It is considered by many to be the absolute nadir of British sex comedies, which, coming from the land of Benny Hill and Confessions of a Window Cleaner, is really saying something. But is it true? How bad can any movie that features the considerable sex appeal of Hammer horror goddess Julie Ege and Diana Dors – aka “The British Marilyn Monroe" - really be?

Well, let us sift through the evidence and see what we uncover.

Our milkman in question is the singularly named Davey (Brendan Price, Naughty Wives), who lives in a tiny, disheveled apartment and is usually late on his deliveries. He is amiable enough, however, and does take the extra time out to flirt with Rita the bosomy housewife (Diana Dors), when necessary. One day he delivers to a seemingly empty house and stumbles upon a half-naked young woman named Janice (the adorable Donna Reading), toweling off from her morning bath. Sensing a golden opportunity for an easy bone, Davey asks Janice out to the movies that evening. The bright-eyed, up-for-it young lady accepts his offer, and goes back to merrily torturing her parents.

That evening, Davey takes her to see a black and white Italian porn flick. When they leave, she starts crying.
“What a lovely film,” she says through sniffles. “So romantic.”
Davey asks her to come over to his place for a spot of tea. She is at first aghast at his vehicle – a milk truck, naturally – but is charmed by his aw-shucks manner, and so she goes home with him. She is also aghast at the dreadful state of his grungy flat, and his lack of tea (“This is water,” she notes. “Yes, but it’s hot!” He offers), but what the hell, she’s there already. Davey manages to unbutton her blouse a bit, but before he goes any further, she asks him if he loves her. “Sure,” he says. Listen, have you ever seen this Donna Reading? You’d say whatever you had to.
“Shall we get married?” She naturally asks next.
At this point, he’s got his head buried in her chest. He says “Mfff!” She takes that as yes, and for some reason, she envisions herself presenting the naked Davey to her parents.

This continues on for a while, Janice making wedding plans, and Davey desperately trying to get her clothes off. Janice suddenly gets up, tucking her shirt back in.
“Thank you,” she tells him. “You’ve made me very happy. I’m going home to tell Mum and dad.”
Davey is confused. He thinks she’s talking about their make-out session. This is one of those movies, you know, where nobody ever knows what the other person is talking about. Three’s Company milked this gag for years, but Jack and Chrissy usually made a bit more sense than these two.
“Why do you want to bring your parents into this?” Davey asks. “Isn’t that a bit sick?”

Davey decides to go along with the marriage ruse, and visits Janice’s family, where they eat cake and awkwardly stare at each other. Then he suddenly dismisses himself and goes to a pub with a topless bartender, where he meets his disco pimp buddy Sandy (Alan Lake, RIP) and Sandy’s two female friends Joan (Jennifer Westbrook) and Diana (Julie Ege). They all jump into Sandy’s car and motor over to a groovy psychedelic nightclub, where the DJ plays awesome keyboard-mashing pop-sike tunes and topless chicks go-go dance in cages. Diana was, at first, non-plussed about the shaggy-haired milkman, but she soon warms up to him, and they eventually end up back at his flat. Diana – who dresses like a high-priced call girl and speaks in a halting whisper, like (not surprisingly) a Hammer movie vampire – tells Davey she wants to sleep with him.

“I…I think I’m falling in love with you,” stammers Davey, in a rather stunning role reversal.
They have a ridiculous conversation about who loves whom more, and then Ege strips down to her lacy black underthings, and they make sweet love. In the dark. While schmaltzy muzak plays.

Later on Davey goes to a weird sex party where he’s supposed to meet Diana, but she blows him off. Sandy informs him that Diana’s been going out with a dude named John (“He’s bad news,” says Sandy, ominously), and suggests Davey just forget her.

This becomes surprisingly easy to do when he meets mouthy American glamazon Margo (Nancie Wait, Au Pair Girls), who drags him into the nearest empty room and has boozy sex with him while images of WWII soldiers, bomber planes, battleships and Hitler (!) flash on the screen. When it’s over, he runs to the bathroom and pukes, while a mushroom cloud explodes onscreen. Somewhere amidst the puking and fucking, Margo declares her love and decides, as Janice did, that they’re engaged.

The Amorous Milkman zags in completely the other direction when, after rebuffing her advances one morning, Rita-the-horny-housewife accuses Davey of rape. He gets arrested, which kicks off a chain of events involving all of his supposed fiancés, including the mysterious Diana, who is still dating John, who, lest you’ve forgotten, is bad news. Sigh. It all comes together in a shrug-worthy non-ending. Roll the credits and wake up grandpa.

In summation: the last half-hour is depressing and tedious, and the first hour is no picnic either, but The Amorous Milkman does have its charms: Donna Reading is a doll, and quite fun to watch. Ege is suitably vampy, the music is groovy, and the nudity is pretty wall-to-all. On the other hand, the film is so grubby and cheap you’ll want to wash your eyeballs after watching it, the lead is a drip, Diana Dors is way past her prime (and 50 pounds past her target weight), and the story is pretty senseless. I would certainly be disappointed if this was the worst that Brit sexploitation had to offer – I expect much worse, and hope to get it someday – but yeah, it’s pretty dire. Some great 70’s tits, though.

More milk?
So, as is fairly obvious when watching The Amorous Milkman, Nesbitt – a popular British actor best-known as the evil SS officer in Clint Eastwood war-flick Where Eagles Dare (1968) - knew fuck-all about women. None of them act remotely like real people; they’re either lovesick fuck-bunnies or killer shrews. Given that worldview, perhaps it’s not that surprising that he was arrested for beating his wife around the time of The Amorous Milkman’s release. Although the scandal did not completely kill his acting career – he continued to appear in television and films until his retirement in 1992 – this was his only directing credit. That’s probably for the best.

As to the girls, unfortunately both Diana Dors and Julie Ege have passed on. Dors died in 1984, Ege in 2008, both from cancer. Ege and Dors had long and very successful careers in film, and both have more than a few sexy and/or skin-baring roles in their resume.

Donna Reading was in the amazing Witchfinder General (1970), had a great rack, and hasn’t acted since 1981. She’s currently 62. I’m pretty sure I could still handle a new topless scene, if she’s got it in her. Poor Nancie Wait – this was her second film, and was such a critical and box office disaster that, besides a handful of small TV appearances, she never acted again. Brendan Price is still busy, though. He does a lot of TV. In Spain. Hey, if you’re gonna be an amorous milkman, that’s a great place to do it.

Availability: The Amorous Milkman is available on DVD.

- Ken McIntyre

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