This British Lion film was manic comedian Marty Feldman’s first starring role after his appearance in Richard Lester’s The Bed Sitting Room (1969). The determinedly zany script (by Feldman, Barry Took and Dennis Norden) gives him plenty of opportunities to display his brand of Jerry Lewis-style mugging.
Nutty advertising man Teddy Brown (Feldman) is married to Liz (Judy Cornwell). He has been a conventional churchgoer and friendly with the vicar, Reverend Geoffrey Mellish (Dinsdale Landen), a with-it exponent of muscular Christianity.
They have an angelic 11-year-old son, Richard (Garry Miller), who collects the au pair’s knickers in his stamp album (“But Mum, all the kids are doing it!”).
Teddy – elegantly dressed by Mr Fish – is charged with devising an advertising campaign to make McLaughlin’s Frozen Porridge “sexy” when his incompetence is mistaken for the eccentricity of genius by his boss.
Stunned by the magnitude of his assignment, Teddy consults his obnoxious American colleague Nat Kaplan (Shelley Berman), who advises him to “think dirty!” And so Teddy wanders through the park trying to do just that, and the most innocent activities become titillating experiences in his Walter Mitty-like mind.
He decides to market the frozen porridge by embarking on a nationwide hunt for a gorgeous Miss Goldilocks. Liz, meanwhile, is working away on a Clean Up TV Committee in the company of the trendy Reverend Mellish, whose dedicated manner conceals his lust for her.
While Liz is away for a conference at Harrogate (though being a good girl, she never gets there), Teddy finds himself in bed with Inga, the au pair (the stunning former Miss Norway, Julie Ege).
Liz discovers them and sues for divorce, Teddy’s advertising campaign causes questions to be raised in the House of Commons, and he is reviled all over the national newspapers.
It all ends up in a Marx Brothers-style romp in – of course – a television studio with Teddy taking out his pent-up emotions on the vicar. Teddy, Liz and knicker-mad Richard are ultimately reconciled.
There are some nice bits of 1950s-ish satire, notably a sequence from a lugubrious Swedish movie with Feldman and Ege capering about naked in the Surrey bracken; a dig at silent films; an Alan Bennett-like sermon; and pro-censorship politician Wallace Trufitt (Patrick Cargill) hiding a collection of whips, chains and other BDSM ephemera in his sitting room cupboard.
The animated sequences from Richard Williams are superb.
Released in some markets as Think Dirty.
Rev. Geoffrey Mellish
Wallace Trufitt MP