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Monday, July 11, 2011

Girly (aka Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny, and Girly)

This movie is a bizzarre anomaly. If you're the type of person who hates English accents and/or figures of speech you will probably want to skip this one as you'll prove yourself an absolute nonce in the end. My initial viewing didn't grab me very much to be perfectly honest, and it had to simmer for a while in the recesses of the brain before I decided to watch it again. The satire is oppressive, thick, and dry. Once you get past that you find a disturbing film full of childish naivete laced with murder and brutality all set within the confines of a lovely English mansion's large estate. Do yourself a favor and peep the trailer for a hot couple of minutes will you:

The trailer gives you a decent idea of the almost annoying level of cutsey pootsey dialogue (even the score is grossly cute and sarcastic) this film has throughout. The basic plot revolves around the four characters named quite appropriately Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny, and the titular (and titillating) Girly. Each filling their own place in a bizarre scheme involving Girly and Sonny luring strangers into coming to stay and forcing them to play a sadistic game designed to make them the "perfect family". Of course if one fails to observe the vague and varied rules death comes swiftly and viciously.

The film starts with Sonny and Girly picking up a bum off a park bench after running about through a zoo before opening. This includes an uncomfortable incestuous/erotic bit between the two when Sonny feeds Girly a piece of candy (what the fuck!?!) which can be seen in the Spanish trailer at around the 40 second mark. Don't say I didn't try to warn you:

Finding their scheme of picking up bums nobody will miss to be lacking in the fun rich British scumbags feel they do so very much deserve, they manage to cop a man and his girlfriend (via Girly's sex appeal over the man) from a drunken party, killing the girlfriend and taking the very soused and grief stricken man now dubbed "New Friend" off to their home play the game. Little does anyone suspect but New Friend is just as manipulative of a player as them and the begins starts to slant in his favor...

Note: I condensed the plot in order to tantalize you into watching this. Netflix has it, just sayin'...

This movie also has a handy DVD release for those no longer transfixed by images and sound encoded on magnetic tape making it available to a wider audience for the first time (I'd have never seen it otherwise). Unfortunately the company who released it called it by its better known in the US title of Girly but failed to provide the full title on the front cover (I'm anal like that, but you probably realized this by now). See it below:

However when one watches the DVD it features the full British title in the same font as the rest of the credits (I find this a good thing). Here is what the British title screen looks like:

And here is how it appears on the US home video release (and assumedly theatrical runs too):

Sure the title looks okay for this one pictured above, but the rest of the titles are in the curly pink and heart emblazoned font of the British title screen. Its a very minor thing to pick at, but I think the original title screen helps invoke the overly cute but deadly atmosphere this film rests its cred on. Obviously the idea of satire mixed with horror completely escaped whoever marketed this movie in America. It of course had an all too short theatrical run in both the US and Britain and was practically all but forgotten. In 1987 Prism released this VHS of it that became just as forgotten in the rental shops so it would seem.

Films like this don't come around very often. While there is likely a reason for that (1. they are hard to make and get right 2. do we really need a glut of them?), I have come of the opinion that this film needs a bit more credit than it gets. Like I said before in this review my initial viewing left me a bit unimpressed but once I gave it a decent mental chew and saw it again it started to grow on me a little. While this movie undoubtedly won't prick some of your collective ears, maybe a handful of you lot will watch it and see what I see now.

I've read that this film is a commentary on the breakdown of the nuclear family in the late 60's amongst other things. While I'm not quite sure about that (it makes some sense, perhaps I am not yet wise/learned enough?) I am quite sure this film left me very unsettled and frankly amused in a rather cheeky way. A serious complaint I have is that there are good portions of this film that totally fucking PLOD. I could have made a sandwich for a bit and missed very little. Even a review of it from the time of its original release complained of some of it lack of pace. Sure we can't all have our cake and eat it too, but it easily could easily have been at least ten minutes shorter. Speaking of shorter, Girly (played by Vanessa Howard) wears awfully short skirts in most of the movie. Its kind of disturbing because sure she has hot legs/etcetera, but you are never really certain of how old she is supposed to be...

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