A young woman named Pat Lord (Shirley Valentine‘s Pauline Collins in her first film role) is killed in a car crash and the film tells the story of her life in a long flashback, narrated by her close friend Linda Grey (April Wilding) to the detective investigating her death (Derek Bond).
Pat and Linda find work after leaving school as sales assistants in a shoe shop but leave to fulfil their ambition to be professional dancers. They take jobs at the Windmill Theatre in London’s Soho and work there as part of the cast of showgirls until it closes.
Linda then wins a role in a big West End production while Pat is unable to find work and is reduced to performing in the sort of sleazy strip clubs she despises.
Much of the film takes the form of a semi-documentary look at the daily life of a Windmill Girl – it was originally intended as a straightforward record of the last nude review presented at the Windmill, but the routines were woven into a crime story.
During the 30s, 40s and 50s, the Windmill Theatre was a noted venue for semi-erotic revues with scantily dressed showgirls. The shows involved nude “tableaux” in which the models did not move, but never striptease. The theatre closed in 1964, partly because of competition from the burgeoning strip clubs.
Arnold Louis Miller