Lonely well-matured suburban nymphomaniac spinster, Kath (Beryl Reid) and her ruggedly masculine but closeted gay brother, Ed (Harry Andrews) get more than they expected when they invite blonde and beautiful young rogue, Mr Sloane (Peter McEnery) into their lives.
Sloane is not his real name, just one he “borrowed” from a tombstone to cover his true identity while on the run from the police (we never find out his real name).
They take him in as a lodger when Kath finds him sunbathing in a cemetery and turn the other cheek when he murders their father, “the Dadda” (Alan Webb) who suspected Sloane of being involved in the brutal murder of his former employer.
Kath and Ed both blackmail Sloane by threatening to tell the police what happened unless he consents to make up an outlandish ménage-a-trois in which he becomes a prisoner of desire.
Adapted from acclaimed playwright Joe Orton’s controversial play, director Douglas Hickox brings to the screen a mixture of murder, homosexuality, nymphomania and sadism cloaked in the blackest of comedy.
Orton’s claustrophobic black comedy – which first appeared in 1964 – retains an underlying degree of pathos but its transition to the screen proves to be an uneven and inevitably stagy affair.
Beryl Reid gives a memorable performance as the wanton, flabby, middle-aged arch nymphet hazily pining for a lost love. Andrews, an actor best known for playing stiff-upper-lip types in war and adventure dramas, plays very much against type as the predatory brother, dressing Sloane up as a leather queen’s fantasy when he employs the younger man as his chauffeur.