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Pleasure Girls, The (1965)

In the Swinging Sixties, posh girl Sally Feathers (Francesca Annis) arrives in London to pursue a modelling career, fresh from the country “like a new-laid egg”.

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She moves into a house in Kensington with Angela (Anneke Wills), Dee (Suzanna Leigh), Marion (Rosemary Nichols), and Cobber (Colleen Fitzpatrick) – along with Dee’s gay brother Paddy (Tony Tanner) – and experiences the world of Swinging London filled with parties, blossoming friendships, and romantic encounters.

Sally gets hooked up with up and coming fashion photographer Keith (Ian McShane) at a party but refuses to give in to his ever more crude sexual advances; Marion is pregnant with the child of gambler and all-round wrong ‘un Prinny (Mark Eden); Dee is chasing money, being ‘the other woman’ of slum landlord Nikko (Klaus Kinski); Cobber spends all her money on removing her Australian accent (unsuccessfully) for a film career and Angela runs around looking (also unsuccessfully) for the right man.

Keith uses both charm and desperation to get Sally into bed, Prinny sells Marion’s jewellery to fund his gambling habits, running up even more debts (and finding more enemies) in the process. Meanwhile, Dee lives the high life but sees the misery and the violence of Nikko’s slums on their travels, as well as the hatred and violence of the tenants towards him.

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Meanwhile, Paddy is (almost) content to be everyone’s friend and confidante, until he’s caught in a ‘shocking’ clutch with boyfriend Ivor by Sally.

Still with teddies tucked in their beds, the girls are underprepared for the freedoms of sexually liberated London, and the bad sorts that shark its depths.

Nikko is one such character, an oily, slum landlord modelled on the real-life Peter Rachman.

It’s an exasperating effort from writer/director Gerry O’Hara, who seems to think that incessant references to sexual freedom are enough to sustain a paper-thin story about the ever-changing relationships of Sally and her flatmates.

It’s difficult to see how the script, which strains every sinew to be “gear” and “fab”, was ever considered audacious, as the sting is drawn from almost every situation and the moralistic tone towards the end is unbearably establishment.

The film was shot in only four five-day weeks at a Kensington townhouse as it was cheaper to rent than a professional studio.

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Sally Feathers
Francesca Annis
Angela
Annika Wills
Dee Wells
Suzanna Leigh
Keith Dexter
Ian McShane
Nikko Stalmar
Klaus Kinski
Prinny
Mark Eden
Paddy Wells
Tony Tanner
Marion
Rosemary Nicols
Cobber
Colleen Fitzpatrick
Ivor
Jonathan Hansen

Director
Gerry O’Hara

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