Written by: Carroll Jenkins on September 26th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1970
Director: Anthony Balch
Writers: Anthony Balch, John Eliot, Martin Locke, Alfred Mazure, Maureen Owen, Elliott Stein
Cast: Richard Schulman, Janet Spearman, Dorothy Grumbar, Anthony Rowlands, Norma Eden, George Herbert, Kenneth Benda, Yvonne Quenet, Reid Anderson, Sylvia Delamere, Cathy Howard, Mike Britton, Maria Frost
DVD released: October 12th, 2010
Approximate running time: 92 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
The stateside version of this British release was titled Bizarre [as was the previous DVD incarnation]. and that title pretty much sums it up in one word. Essentially an anthology of weird tales much in the vein of the Amicus product, but with a heavier dose of sex. The seasoned British actors are quite good, in that typically stuffy English way and twist endings make this feel like Masterpiece Theater meets The Twilight Zone.
But then director Anthony Balch ran out of steam and called in additional writers to help create a finished product. It was at this point that the mummy ‘host’ was added, and the style of the new stories is much more pop art with primary colors and Laugh-In type sensibilities. Benny Hill girl Sue Bond was recruited along with many other men’s magazine models of the day, and a naked female secret agent was added to the mix. That doesn’t mean the E.C. Comics mean streak isn’t still there. Presumably about sex, the film is really about sexism, phobias, sadism, and at the core, selfishness. Add full frontal nudity of both genders, same-sex pairings of both genders, and an orgy at the end [intercut with LOTS of fireworks], and Secrets Of Sex certainly stands out from the typical British cinema of the day.
This is a very sharp and colorful widescreen presentation – identical to the former Bizarre edition. The phone sex segment of the cat burglar tale does exhibit more grain, apparently this had been cut and restored from a somewhat lesser source. So, rest assured all the closeups of the guy’s hairy ass are intact.
Trying to absorb the point of the whole thing may well be an exercise in futility – but at least it is thought provoking and not just cheap, mindless exploitation. Well, then again . . .