Just as well known as The Young Playmates, director Val Guest's 1974 sex comedy Au Pair Girls follows four lovely young ladies who travel to London to work as Au Pair Girls - young women who work as servants doing light housework for well to do families who, in exchange for the work, put them up. The four women the film is centered around are Randi (Gabrielle Drake, she of UFO fame), Astrid (Anita Sector), Nan (Me Me Lay - or Me Me Lai, take your pick - she's the one who popped up in Last Cannibal World , The Man From Deep River and Eaten Alive) and Christa (Nancie Wait). There isn't a whole lot of plot to the picture, it's more or less a series of sexualized escapades in which the titular young ladies inevitably end up in various states of undress.
Randi heads out into the countryside to spend some quality time with the son of a wealthy man before posing for an effeminate photographer. Nan hooks up with a piano player at the insistence of his mother, while Christa hits the London clubs with the daughter of her host family only to wind up in the sack with a rock star. Anita quickly winds up showing off her birthday suit before heading for a ride with a local cabbie before an Arab named El Abab (Ferdy Mayne) gets into the mix.
Guest is savvy enough to keep things moving at a good pace and to inject the film with enough frequent nudity so that our attention is held throughout. There's nothing in here that wouldn't pass with an R-rating by modern standards but there's still plenty of footage of the four young ladies slipping in and out of their clothing - which is really the whole point of the film in the first place. The dialogue is funny and the humor sometimes cringe inducing in how ridiculously corny it is but it's all in good fun, and the playfulness of the picture makes it an enjoyable one to watch. There isn't a lot of actual sex here which makes so much of it come off as the harmless fun that it is rather than anything particularly seedy or dirty.
Given that the director of the film is better known for the horror and science fiction pictures he did for Hammer Studios like The Quatermass Experiment and The Abominable Snowman, it's maybe a bit of a surprise that Val Guest handles the directorial chores as well as he does here, but then when you factor in his involvement in films like 1967's Casino Royale and Up The Creek, maybe it's not so strange after all. Obviously a multifaceted director, Guest ensures that the movie, and particularly the ladies who populate it, are always very nicely shot and composed and light in the most favorable way possible. Yes, they're very much dressed up as sex objects here but they're not without some personality and despite their freewheeling attitudes, they're meant to be seen as intelligent and spirited women. As such, it's hard to see the picture as misogynist in any way, despite the fact that the girls undress at the drop of a hat and almost solely for our amusement.
In the end, the movie is just as interesting as a relic of its time as it is in any other way that you might want to evaluate it. We get loads of colorful shots of interesting seventies fashions and an appropriately eclectic score that compliments the action in that way that only a fun seventies score can do. The girls all have a lovely and fairly endearing naturalness to their looks that makes them plenty easy on the eyes. Additionally, from a cultural perspective as a precursor to the harder sex films that would come, both in hardcore and softcore variations, from continental Europe and the United States, there's enough to like and appreciate about this admittedly shallow and vapid but enjoyable comedy to make it worth a look for fans of such fare.
Au Pair Girls looks good on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.66.1 widescreen and mastered from the original 35mm negative. As it has been with most of the Kino pickups from Redemption (or in this case, Jezebel), it doesn't appear that the movie has undergone any seriously intensive restoration but the elements used here were obviously in pretty nice shape to begin with so outside of some minor specks and a couple of small scratches, there's nothing to be concerned about. Detail is solid as is texture and color reproduction looks nice and natural. There are no issues with compression artifacts evident nor are there any obvious examples of either edge enhancement or noise reduction. All in all, this is a nice film-like transfer that should make the film's fan base pretty happy.
The only audio option on the disc is an DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track in the film's original English language, no alternate language or subtitle options. This isn't a particularly exciting track but for an older Mono mix, it leaves little room for complaint. The levels are nicely balanced, the dialogue is easy enough to understand and distortion (you'll hear it in the opening theme song) or hiss does make it into the mix is minimal. The score sounds good as well, it's got some nice punch behind it when the movie asks for it.
There are no extras at all, not even a trailer or a still gallery, just a static menu offering a 'play' button and chapter selection.
Au Pair Girls is a good bit of naughty, bawdy fun made in what now seems like a more innocent time. The four actresses are all just as lovely as can be and the film's playful attitude makes it difficult not to enjoy this one for the goofy, campy slice of cinematic cheesecake that it is. Kino's Blu-ray is light on extra features but looks and sounds quite good and fans of seventies sexploitation pictures can consider this one recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.