Friday, December 18, 2015

Movie review - "Perfect Friday" (1970) ** (warning: spoilers)

In the late 60s and early 70s famed theatre director Peter Hall took a brief stab at being a film director; none of the films are that remembered today but this piece has its pleasures, particularly a lively trio of star performances.

Stanley Baker is kind of cast against type as a mousy deputy bank manager - I say "kind of" because said bank manager plans a bank robbery and is a big time stud with Ursula Andress so he's not that mousy. The film might have worked better with a more obviously whimpy actor in this role, someone who stinks of being a little coward (eg Alec Guiness, Tom Courtney) - it may be have given this more tension instead of Baker standing there in his hairpiece practically going "hey I'm cast against type". (I will say though that this is among his better 70s movies.)

Andress is a spendthrift girl about town married to decadent aristocrat David Warner. She  is surprisingly good as the girl who sleeps with both men, whose loyalties we are never sure about. She rolls around in sheets, shows of boob and breasts (Peter Hall said this was a "send up of sex films" but I kind of don't think so) and displays a lot more energy than we're used to seeing from her.

Warner is a lot of fun as an impoverished, self entitled lord who takes to robbing banks like a duck to water.  There is an element of ham in Warmer and he pitches his performance just right; I don't always like him as an actor but he was good here.

There are a few twists - we presume that everyone is going to try and rip off everyone else, but because no one is an obvious star there is good tension. The theme music was overly jaunty and there are stretches where I got bored.

The last third was good (the robbery) when narrative took over. I really liked the idea of Dave Warner and Stanley Baker deciding to try robbing a bank again at the end of the film and wouldn't have minded a sequel.

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