8/22/15

Double Feature #8: Unlikely Chick Magnets



Tonight's Double Feature brings you two very unlikely studs: Don Knotts in The Love God? (1969) and the terribly goofy looking Robert Askwith, who inexplicably has girls throwing themselves at him throughout Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976).  Enjoy.



The Love God? (1969)



This film was a lot dirtier than I thought it would be, considering it starred Don Knots.  No nudity - not by a mile - but it definitely touches on some adult themes out of the normal domain of Barney Fife (but maybe not Mr. Furley).  In fact, Doris Day turned down a role in this flick because it was too sexually explicit.


Above, we see a group of shady characters who take Knots' dying bird watchers magazine and convert it into a Playboy style magazine called Peacock (after his last name).


The real fun begins when Knots' new skin mag goes to the top, and he becomes a Hugh Hefner-esque ladies' man.  You can imagine how funny a Knots-as-stud plot device would be.  A joy to behold.


There's an awesome scene at his new Playboy Club Peacock Club with some killer music.  The film is perhaps a little behind the times - it seems like it's not quite caught up to the music and culture of '69 (seeming more like a '66), but who cares?


Definitely a plethora of Miniskirt Monday worthy moments.  Knots' entourage is smoking hot and always in short skirts.


Even though the fame and fortune has gone to Abner Peacock's head; he's eventually able to come to his senses and be the humble and honest man he was before.

He realizes he's "been a bad boy", and he needs to make amends to his sweetheart back home (played by Maggie Mancuso)... and this is where a very adult plot point arises.  Peacock is going to announce to the world that he's never had sex.


The very idea that the publisher of the top skin rag is a virgin would destroy the magazine.  The shady group that started this whole mess conspire to ensure this does not happen.

Take note that Ann Francis (The Forbidden Planet) plays in the role turned down by Doris Day, as the unscrupulous assistant at Peacock magazine..  Her plan to get Peacock not to divulge his virginity is ingenious....


Her plan?  To make him not a virgin!... or at least have him believe he's not.  Ms. Francis will knock him out - and when he awakes he will be in bed with her and he'll think they had sex. Ingenious.... and, again, a pretty adult scene for a Don Knotts comedy.

I won't spoil how it all turns out.  Overall, it's a pretty typical movie, and not going to be at the top of anyone's comedy hall of fame. However, it's a lot of fun, and the 60s look, fashions, music, decor, is a lot of fun.  Recommended.



Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976)


Why is Timothy (Robin Askwith) so happy?  He just rocked his driving instructor's world (which literally destroys the vehicle) and now has a license to be a driving instructor himself.  Let the hilarity commence!

This isn't my first rodeo with the Confessions series, so I pretty well knew what I was in for going in: lots of ribald humor (Benny Hill would approve).  I'd compare them to the Carry On films, but they're a smidge randier.


So, Timmy and his brother-in-law Sidney (Anthony Booth) open a driving school next door to their competitors - the stuffy, uptight gentlemen pictured above - namely Mr. Trescot and his lovely daughter, Mary (Lynda Bellingham - one of my favorite ladies of British cinema).


Wacky hijinx immediately ensue.  They splash a fish tank on Mary and are busy fishing a guppy out of her blouse when Mr. Trescot and his nebbish employee, Tony (George Layton), arrive.

Yes, the Confessions series was all about compromising positions.  Just as Three's Company could milk every ounce of humor out "misunderstandings", the Confessions series did the same with compromising sexual situations. And you could just about guarantee that those just stepping into the situation would do a spit-take and look profoundly aghast (think of Mr. Furley - eyes bulging in shock/horror).


Next, we meet Timmy's busty landlady Ms. Chalmers (Liz Fraser) and her daughter Avril (Maxine Casson).  Silly Timmy has just accidentally spewed his eclair cream all over them (and, no, that's not a euphemism). Both inexplicably have the hots for the lad...


Madame Chalmers pays a visit to Timmy's room to give him a hot water bottle (dressed in a sexy negligee) while Avril is hiding under his covers.  You can imagine the gags in this scene.

You can't help but wonder why a guy that looks like an uglier version of Peter Noone (Herman's Hermits) is constantly having women throw themselves at him.  A willing suspension of disbelief may be required.


So, Timmy develops a relationship with Mary (after shagging a few drivers and the landlady in Benny Hill fast speed).  There's a climactic rugby game followed by a car chase and a happy merger between the two rival companies.

All in all, this third installment of the Confessions series may be the weakest.  The relatively low amount of nudity could have been balanced by a high amount of comedy; alas, this is not the case. My advice: catch an episode of Three's Company or Benny Hill instead.

7 comments:

  1. Comparing that Don Knotts movie to any UK sexcom of the same year is comparing Pat Boone to Linda Lovelace. "Petticoat Junction" was that sexy. One of the "Confessions" movies has Caroline Ellis of the Bugaloos giving head and a bit of Linda Hayden as well! Not that it's a good movie.

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    1. I agree - no comparison in terms of sexual content. And I'm going to pretend I didn't read that thing about one of the Bugaloos; next you'll tell me that Julie Andrews went topless in a film. ;-)

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    2. I WOULD say that , but it would just make me an SOB !!

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    3. Retro HoundAugust 23, 2015

      Perfect setup and reply!

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  2. I thought "The Love God?" was pretty fun. It's hard to go wrong with the Don Knotts and Vic Mizzy combination. I just caught parts of "The Shakiest Gun in the West" today and at one point, my girlfriend was passing through the room and remarked about how the music reminded her of the music in "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. I also have "No Deposit, No Return" at the top of my YouTube queue to watch when I get a chance. Haven't seen that since I was young.

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  3. I always thought The Ladies Man with Jerry Lewis would fit with this theme, but he really had a good shape on him.

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  4. "The Love God?" is an okay movie that could have been great. Don Knotts as a Hugh Hefner figure is gold right there (Why didn't somebody revive the idea later, when Hefner was really starting to look like Knotts?). The film is pretty clever about how Peacock gets looped into the girly magazine business, and how it's taken upscale with help from an aspirational gangster. Then you have that civil liberties lawyer on the need to protect this "scrawny little degenerate's'" rights.

    Where the film goes wrong is making the story about Peacock becoming NOT the ideal of his male readers but the lust object of middle-aged ladies. That might work as the plot of a different film, but here it scuttles the whole Hefner satire. And then the movie falls back on old-fashioned gangsters and Knotts doing bird calls.

    You really want to see this faux ladykiller give the game away, revealing he's closer to the guys who READ Playboy than the male fantasy figure who fronts it. The film doesn't need more skin or "adult" jokes; it needs to focus on the male fantasy Hefner was selling back then. I have this vision of Peacock facing a nightclub full of mod Peacock wannabes, eager consumers of all the Peacock-endorsed products, and telling them to go home, put on nice suits and find nice girls.

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