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Groupie Girl (1969)

Pandering to the tabloid image of the time of hippies as irresponsible, amoral, drug-taking wasters, Groupie Girl presented the British youth of 1969 in the sleaziest way possible.

Filmed in ‘cautionary tale’ style, the movie’s thoughtful and perversely satisfying story follows bored suburbanite Sally, played convincingly by ex-stripper Esme Johns.

Rebelling against her conservative upbringing, Sally has secretly been attending rock concerts and is so taken with the various bands’ huge flares, facial hair and body odour that she makes the decision to become a professional groupie, and promptly stows away in the back of a roadie’s transit van.

Ending up in London, she lives and sleeps with a succession of hirsute rockers, all of whom show her the utmost disrespect. To the musicians, girls are good for only two things – blow jobs and making breakfast.

The movie gives a beautifully blurred snapshot of hippiedom in all its compulsive nastiness.

Lank hair, marijuana, partner-swapping, topless go-go girls and some genuinely good musical numbers (the title song, in particular, is a stormer) perfectly evoke the period, when bitter rivalries between groupie chicks spilt over into bra-bursting catfights and bitter disillusionment.

The film’s accuracy is never in question since it was co-written by Suzanne Mercer, who had been a groupie herself and was at the time hooked up with the drummer from real-life rock band Juicy Lucy.

Costing just £16,000 and filmed entirely on location, Groupie Girl is packed with incident and thrills.

In one especially memorable scene Sally’s languid boyfriend Steve (dimple-chinned Donald Sumpter looking like a dead ringer for Marc Bolan), the lead singer with ‘Orange Butterfly’, gets thoroughly bored with her possessiveness and makes the decision to give her to another group, the permanently stoned ‘Sweaty Betty’.

Travelling at speed along a motorway in their transit van, the band pass Sally out of the window into the rival rockers’ vehicle, Sally screaming in terror all the while. It’s an awe-inspiring sequence, frighteningly realistic. The actual sequence was filmed at Hendon airfield.

Released in some countries as I Am A Groupie.

Esme Johns
Billy Boyle
Richard Shaw
Donald Sumpter
Detective Sergeant
Neil Hallett
Gennie Nevinson
Jimmie Edwardes

Derek Ford