During the summer season at the (fictional) seaside resort of Roxham a gang of young men led by womanising beach photographer Tinker (Oliver Reed) have perfected a system for collecting any pretty holidaymakers – “Grockles” as they call them – and sharing them on a rota basis.
While Tinker takes photographs on the beach, Sneakers (Clive Colin-Bowler) works on the speedboats, Sammy (Iain Gregory) on the deckchairs and Willy (Andrew Ray) in a cafe. Between them, they manage to meet all the pretty female visitors who arrive on holiday and take it in turns for first choice.
Two of the boys also make up an advance inspection party, boarding the train one station ahead of Roxham, rapidly scrutinising the female occupants of every compartment and passing on preliminary information to the rest of the group. Then the rota system comes into play: The boy due for first choice makes his selection and whoever actually encounters the girl must introduce her to the winner.
Tinker spots Nicola (Jane Merrow) – an elegant and blasé fashion model staying with her rich father in his holiday house – who plays him at his own game and for the first time he falls in love. The summer sees the break-up of the gang.
Nidge (John Alderton) marries his pregnant girlfriend and Suzy (Barbara Ferris), an old flame of Tinker’s is herself abandoned by Nicola’s father. The holidaymakers leave, including Nicola, for whom Tinker was only a passing distraction.
Good performances all-round spark this authentic depiction of British youth in the early 60s.
It should come as no surprise that this film was directed by Michael Winner.
The System was released in some markets as The Girl-Getters. The majority of filming took place in Paignton, Torquay and Brixham, after which the fictional Roxham was named.
Stephen ‘Tinker’ Taylor
John Porter Davison