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Mary Millington Movie Collection, The
Mary Millington, born Mary Ruth Maxted in 1945, passed away from an overdose in 1979 but she remains a popular counter culture figure in her native England and beyond thanks to her run as a model and actress in various adult magazines and films made in conjunction with publisher/producer David Sulluivan. British Blu-ray distributor Screenbound Films gathers together a selection of some of her better remembered films and has released them, with a load of extra features, as The Mary Millington Movie Collection.
Disc One: Come Play with Me (1977):
Directed by George Harrison Marks, this first film tells the story of an aged criminal named Cornelius Clapworthy (played by Harrison Marks himself) who makes his money as a forger. He and his partner in crime, Maurice Kelly (Alfie Bass), have been passing fake banknotes around London with quite a bit of success lately, although when they wind up on the wrong side of Slasher (Ronald Fraser), the gangster in charge of their operation, and find themselves pursued not only by him but also by a cross-dressing government man named Podsnap (Ken Parry) they decide to take off to the Highlands in nearby Scotland. Here they pose as a pair of travelling musicians and take up residence at Bovington Manor. Run by a woman named Lady Bovington (Irene Handl), the estate is being run as a health retreat but, like most things in this story, it too is a fraud.
As our two crooks settle into their new digs, they get to know some of the residents of the manor and, once they're comfortable, decide to set up a printing press and start up their forging operation once again. Rodney (Jerry Lordan), the nephew of Lady Bovington, soon shows up with a gaggle of beautiful dancing girls who decide to help out Bovington's operation by posing as nurses. Soon, what was once a health farm is now being run as a house of ill repute. This is all well and good until Slasher and his crew decide to pay this hot new brothel a visit.
Millington plays Sue, one of the house girls, and it was decided by the distributors that, after the first cut was complete, that the film needed more of her in it. As such, some padding was shot, with Millington engaging in a lesbian scene with actress Penny Chisholm as well as a sex scene with Howard Nelson to up both her presence in the film as well as the overall sex and nudity quotient as well. This made the film more marketable, and more controversial as well. Allegedly some scenes were actually originally shot to be hardcore but that footage has been cut and lost to time. Either way, by the standards of late seventies British cinema, Come Play With Me was, even without the hardcore footage, considered to be pretty strong stuff. It was also remarkably successful
The film itself is amusing enough. The style of comedy is very old fashioned, often using goofy sight gags and wacky situations to get laughs, even throwing in a musical number at one point during the film, performed by our two rascally crooks and a few of the lovely nurses who find themselves in Bovington's employ. It's all pretty corny but funny enough, and pretty lighthearted. Like a lot of sex comedies of the era, it'll come across as pretty misogynist to a lot of modern viewers, but you do get the impression that it's all being done in good fun. Technical merits are fine, if not particularly remarkable. The movie is well-paced and edited, and if the cinematography isn't particularly amazing, it does frame the ladies quite nicely during their various scenes of naked playtime!
Disc Two: The Playbirds (1978):
Directed by Willy Roe and once again produced by David Sullivan, the second film in this collection follows the exploits of Jack Holbourne (Glynn Edwards) and Harry Morgan (Gavin Campbell), a pair of London-based Scotland Yard detectives. They're assigned a new case and tasked with bringing in a suspected serial killer who is going about London and murdering women who have been featured as nude models in a men's magazine called Playbirds. As they set out to crack the case, they follow the clues and narrow the list of possible culprits down to four suspects: magazine publisher Harry Dougan (Alan Lake), photographer Terry Day (Michael Gradwell), a preacher named Hern (Dudley Sutton) and an anti-pornography politician named George Ransome (Alec Mango).
In order to figure out which of these four is the killer, they decide to use police officer Lucy Sheridan (Mary Millington) to go undercover and pose as a potential model for Playbirds, but of course, they have to audition a few other candidates before settling on Lucy as the one to use. As she heads undercover into the world of nude modelling and pornographic magazines, things become increasingly dangerous for her as she gets closer to the one responsible for the killings.
The Playbirds is hardly the most remarkable thriller ever made but as exploitation fodder it works pretty well. There's definitely plenty of nudity on display, as you'd expect from a Sullivan/Millington venture, and it's unique in that it gives viewers a chance to see Millington star in a more dramatic picture. She gets quite a bit more screen time here than in Come Play With Me, though it's clear once again that she was case for her looks and her willingness to get naked on camera than for her acting abilities. Still, she's not half bad here as Lucy Sheridan and she handles the dramatic aspects well enough. There are a few effectively humorous moments in the film, the audition for an undercover female officer being one of the highlights in that regard, and a bit of sleazy kink infused into bits of the picture to make it more than just a standard T&A flick.
Disc Three: Confessions From the David Galaxy Affair (1979):
Once again produced by Sullivan and directed by Roe, this third film, also known as Star Sex stars David Lake as the titular David Galaxy, an astrologer by trade who makes quite a nice living for himself. Not only is he quite wealthy, he's also a ladies man and has no trouble getting almost any of his seemingly endless line of female clients to hop into the sack with him. David doesn't always treat his lady friends as well as he should, however, farting quite loudly while in the bed with lovely Amanda (Sally Faulkener). However, things get complicated for him when two cops, Chief Inspector Evans (Glynn Edwards) and Sergeant Johnson (John Moulder-Brown), start tailing him. They believe that he could have been involved in a robbery that took place a few years prior, where an innocent man was killed, a case that remains unsolved, but not for long.
Meanwhile, Millicent Cumming (Millington) hopes to one day have an actual orgasm during sex, something that has eluded the poor woman. When she meets Galaxy and hops into bed with him, he gets her there but remains unaware that two of his pals, Steve (Anthony Booth) and Joe (Kenny Lynch) have secretly recorded her lustful exclamations.
A big step down from the entertainment factor offered by the first two movies, this one isn't very good. Lake's take on Galaxy is completely obnoxious. He runs about spouting off terrible dialogue and doing bad impersonations of celebrities like John Wayne, all of which adds nothing to the plot. It's hard to believe that he'd be as successful with the ladies as he is in the film, we don't buy it. He's sleazy and gross, not really good looking enough to overcome those qualities, you really wind up not understanding what the women see in him at all. The supporting cast does better. Moulder-Brown, who really is slumming it here, is pretty decent as one of the cops and Sally Faulkener is more than charming as Amanda. Millington's part is shoehorned into the script but she handles herself well enough here, even if she isn't give all that much to do save for playing the sex pot.
Poorly paced and unremarkable in terms of its look and its style, Confessions From the David Galaxy Affair will no doubt hold some curiosity value for exploitation aficionados, particularly those who appreciate the uniquely British style, but the fact of the matter is that it simply isn't very good.
Disc Four: Queen of the Blues (1979) / Mary Millington's True Blue Confessions (1980) / Mary Millington's World Striptease Extrazaganza (1981):
The sixty-three-minute Queen Of The Blues, from 1979, was once again produced by Sullivan and directed by Roe. As to the story? A pair of entrepreneurs, brothers Mike (John M. East) and Tony Carter (Allan Warren), buy up a run down old strip club only to get coerced into paying protection money to some mobsters, Eddie (Felix Bowness) and Ricky (Milton Reid). This cuts into their profits and threatens to close the club down, so the boys have to figure out how to get out of this without getting killed by the toughs. During all of this, one of the owners is experiencing erectile dysfunction issues in the boudoir. Oh, and there might be a ghost involved in all of this too.
There really isn't much of a plot here, just a whole lot of strippers stripping, audiences ogling and comedians telling bad jokes. It all wraps up exactly as you'd expect it to by the time the film is over, there really aren't any surprises here, but this works as a harmless, hour-long bit of bawdy fun. Millington plays Mary, Queen Of The Blues, the best of the strippers in the Carters' employ, and she looks great here and excels when she does her routine. Don't go into this expecting to see her act much, there isn't any of that here, but the movie doesn't overstay its welcome with such a brisk running time. The movie is also an interesting snapshot of its era, documenting the strip club scene and the surrounding area. It's also worth pointing out that sexploitation starlet Pat Astley shows up here, she'll be familiar to fans of British horror pictures for her appearance in 1984's Don't Open Till Christmas. She also played Mr. Grace's nurse in the popular comedy Are You Being Served?. It was all made fast and very clearly on the cheap but it has its own oddball charm.
The forty-three-minute Mary Millington's True Blue Confessions was released in 1980, shortly after Millington's death. It starts off with a prologue that shows Millington posing nude for a photographer while a narrator talks about her unflinching desire to show herself off and her ability to give audiences what they wanted as well as her ability to shift from sex pot to fawn at the drop of a hat. From there we get clips from her two sex scenes in Come Play With Me, footage of her audition scene in The Playbirds and a clip from her strip tease act from Queen Of The Blues. Seven-minutes later we get the credits for Mary Millington's True Blue Confessions, which starts off with a tour of her home where 'her dogs still pine for her mistress.' As the next thirty-five-minutes play out, we get a look at many personal photographs from her life and learn about how she got her start doing modelling in girlies magazines only to make the rise to superstardom once she hit it big in the British sex film industry. The narration fills us in on her life and work overtop what is essentially a greatest hits reel. At one point, we see 'Mary' in a coffin with photos from her life displayed overtop of her. The narrator goes over her death, and we see newspaper clippings documenting the event before then getting a look at photos of her as a child and learn about her family life. This doesn't last too long, however, and we're quickly back to nude photos, recollections of those who knew her and more. It's a pretty crass cash-in on Sullivan's part to profit off of her passing but it's also a fascinating document in its own strange way.
Mary Millington's World Striptease Extravaganza was also released posthumously in 1981.Noted in the opening credits as starring ‘The Rovedale Girls' and set to a disco-heavy soundtrack, this forty-seven-minute film, again produced by Sullivan, opens with a host talking about the impact that Millington made as a stripper before she passed. From here, we get a clip from Queen Of The Blues, and then move on to footage from the 'Strip Tease World Championships' where the winner will get a thousand pounds, a film contract and a holiday in Jamaica. The judges are introduced and then the sixteen different contestants are brought out to do their thing as a master of ceremonies tells terrible jokes to keep the audience engaged. The next forty-two-minutes really is footage of different girls bumping and grinding to a live band with the MC interjecting now and then to tell more bad jokes. At one point a drag queen shows up only to get hauled off the stage before the clothes come off. Towards the end the strippers are briefly interviewed by the MC and then the inner is announced. It's completely terrible, yet somehow equally watchable.
Disc Five: Respectable: The Mary Millington Story (2015):
Respectable: The Mary Millington Story is a feature length documentary made by Simon Sheridan, the man who wrote Come Play With Me: The Life And Films Of Mary Millington and Keeping The British End Up: Four Decades Of Saucy Cinema, that spends an hour and forty-four-minutes going over Millington's life and career.
Narrated by Dexter Fletcher, the director of the Elton John biopic Rocketman, the documentary is as thorough as it is fascinating. It covers Millington's early days, from her birth in 1945 through her childhood and then her adult years. We trace her career as she hits it big as a model in adult magazine layouts and then makes the move to British sex pictures in addition to doing 8mm hardcore loops for markets more tolerant of explicit material. As her story plays out, we learn about the different romances that she had, the various scandals that she was involved with and the darker side of her life and times. Her drug use is covered as is her marriage at the tender young age of 18 to a butcher in her home town. We learn how she had to balance caring for her ailing mother with her then exploding career, how she hooked up with pornographer David Sullivan who took her career to the next level, and how she and Sullivan were targeted by conservative activist Mary Whitehouse. The documentary covers how she took the name Millington, how she opened her own sex shop in London and her run ins with the law throughout her career.
Given, somewhat appropriately, an X-rating by the BBFC, the documentary is thorough and does a great job of genuinely humanizing a celebrity known almost entirely for her audaciousness and promiscuity. It is, at times, quite tragic but always illuminating, peeling back the many layers of Millington's career and persona. There are scores of interviews here with those who knew her and worked with her as well as a treasure trove of archival bits and pieces: news clips, footage from her films, personal photos, magazine layout photos, 8mm clips, TV clips and lots, lots more. The film is well-edited and technically quite polished and it moves nicely, really doing a great job of letting viewers get to know Millington in ways that they never have expected to. It also does an interesting job of showing a few different possibilities surrounding how she died, bringing different players into it and shedding some light on whether or not she really did simply overdose by accident at the age of thirty-three or not.
It's a great companion piece to the vintage features included in this set and a very fitting tribute to the collection's subject.
The bulk of the material, that being the main features in this set, is taken from new 2k restorations and it looks very good. Details are as follows:
Come Play With Me: AVC encoded 1080p high definition, framed at 1.66.1 widescreen. The feature takes up 20.9GBs of space on the 50GB disc.
The Playbirds: AVC encoded 1080p high definition, framed at 1.66.1 widescreen. The feature takes up 17.3GBs of space on a 25GB disc.
Confessions From The David Galaxy Affair: AVC encoded 1080p high definition, framed at 1.66.1 widescreen. The feature takes up 20.7GBs of space on a 50GB disc.
Queen Of The Blues: AVC encoded 1080p high definition, framed at 1.66.1. The feature takes up 16.6GBs of space on a 50GB disc.
Mary Millington's True Blue Confessions: AVC encoded 1080p high definition, framed at 1.33.1 fullframe. The feature takes up 8.2Gbs of space on the 50GB disc.
Aside from some mild compression artifacts noticeable in a few scenes here and there, these transfers are quite strong. Detail looks very nice throughout and colors are bright and bold but reproduced accurately, never looking to have been artificially boosted or anything like that, though once in a while things can look just a tad flat, likely given to how the movies were shot in the first place. Black levels look good and skin tones, which are reasonably constant here given the amount of nudity contained in the pictures, look lifelike and accurate, never too pink or too orange. Noise reduction and edge enhancement are never an issue and overall, Screenbound has done a great job here.
Mary Millington's Strip Tease Extravaganza: AVC encoded 1080p high definition, framed at 1.33.1 fullframe. The feature takes up 11.6Gbs of space on the 50GB disc and is, unlike the other features in this collection, film sourced. As such, the movie is softer than the rest of the content on the set. Black levels are often dark greys and colors are muted. It looks like a tape, but it's perfectly watchable.
Respectable: AVC encoded 1080p high definition, framed at 1.78.1 widescreen. The feature takes up 19Gbs of space on the 25GB disc. Shot digitally, this documentary looks great. Detail is sharp, colors are nicely reproduced and compression is fine. Some of the archival clips and photos show their age, but that's to be expected, and overall this looks really nice.
Every one of the features in this collection gets a 16-bit LPCM 2.0 Mono track, in their English language . There are no alternate language options or subtitle options provided. There are times where the audio sounds a tad flat, which isn't surprising given the movies' low budget origins and all, but dialogue is always easy to understand and to follow and the levels are always nicely balanced throughout. Hiss and distortion are never a problem and the scores for each film generally sound quite nice as well.
Disc One: Come Play with Me (1977):
Extras on the first disc start off with an audio commentary by biographer Simon Sheridan, author of Keeping The British End Up, and actress Sue Longhurst, who stars in the movie and who wrote the forward to Sheridan's book. Sheridan starts off by talking about how she thought she was a fraud when she started working as an actress, because it came easily to her and didn't require any study or hard work. She then talks about how she got into acting, her background in music, how her older sister got her into modelling which led to film work, getting her start doing a laxative commercial, working doing cigarette promotions, doing some 'Page 3' modelling and getting her start on screen in Lust For A Vampire, where director Jimmy Sangster asked her out despite a substantial age difference (she declined). As the track goes on she talks about different sources of stress that would give her migraines during important moments, some of the stranger fan mail that she and other actresses got during their heyday, landing the part on Come Play With Me, what it was like on set and her own personal love of comedy. She also talks about how hardcore inserts were shot with a different cast so that inserts could be put into pictures for different markets, how a photographer told her she should win 'Rear Of The Year' and quite a bit more. It's a fun track and quite interesting to listen to.
The disc also contains In Bed With Josie Harrison Marks, which is a new interview with the daughter of Come Play With Me's director George Harrison Marks. Here, over twenty-one-minutes, she speaks about her father's life and times, and notes that although he made quite a few other films he's best known for Come Play With Me. She also covers how he got into filmmaking after getting into doing nude photography after making a book on cats! His career took off pretty quickly and he was 'a ladies' man' she tells us. She talks about her home life, her parents' drinking problems, health problems that his lifestyle lead to, how she walked in on one of her father's film shoots as a kid, getting used to seeing naked women everywhere, how the success of Mary Millington's career was a help but how she was very much just one of the girls in her dad's eyes. It's a nice look back with a personal touch, Josie notes that he really was just a whole lot of fun to be around most of the time, despite his imperfections.
Also includes on this disc is Sex Is My Business, an 8mm softcore short film from 1975. This short was directed by George Harrison Marks in 1975 and was shot on location in a sex shop near Piccadilly Circus in London. It stars Millington and Maureen O'Malley. It was shot without sound and is presented silent. There isn't much of a story here, but we do see the two actresses make out with and fool around with one another and some of the patrons of the sex shop where this was shot. It's a great time capsule of sorts, giving us a look at a seedy side of London from decades past in addition to a few lovely ladies in the act.
This ties in nicely to the 8mmillington Documentary which is a "compilation of the tamer sequences from Mary s hardcore 8mm films." This twenty-four-minute compilation is an interesting selection of non-XXX bits from 8mm films that were shot in Holland and Germany between 1970 and 1972 by John Lindsay and which were seemingly quite popular across Europe. Millington's first 8mm film, Miss Bohrloch, sold 300,000 copies. We get some footage from this short, which involves Mary taking on two guys in her fancy apartment, as well as from a few other 8mm loops: Oral Connection, where Mary and another woman fool around with two guys; Betrayed where Mary and another girl have sex only to get interrupted by the arrival of their boyfriend; Special Assignment, where Mary gets it on with another couple in a remote country home; and Oh Nurse! where a bedridden patient in a hospital gets excited when he sees Nurse Mary making out with a female coworker, so much so that he screws the candy striper! These really should have been presented uncut, given who the target audience is for this picture, but even in softcore form, they're amusing to see.
Rounding out the extras on the disc are a trailer for Come Play With Me, menus and chapter selection options.
Disc Two: The Playbirds (1978):
This disc also starts off with an audio commentary by Simon Sheridan, this time joined by producer/director Willy Roe. They start by covering how Roe got into the film industry as a seventeen-year-old as a runner and then worked his way up, working with Norman Cohen and working on The Blue Max, moving to London and doing non-union work to start. Eventually he got his union card and continued to move up the ranks a bit, doing some work doing 2nd unit work in Alaska, moving to Toronto and doing commercial work and then heading back to the UK, working with Spike Milligan, why he and some of the other writers of The Playbirds used pseudonyms on the picture, some of the locations that were used for the shoot, casting Millington as a cop in the film and wanting to make sure that her uniform made the best of her figure, What Alan Lake was like to work with, what David Sullivan was like to work with and how he marketed the film and the film's connections to Emmanuelle In Soho, which Roe worked on but which John East made. As the commentary wraps up they cover more details about the locations, what it was like on set and how despite this film's similarities to Covergirl Killer Roe had never seen that picture.
Ten Million Dirty Words is a new featurette about Harry Knights, the Nottingham-based porn writer who helped create Mary's image, that runs thirteen-minutes. It goes a good job of setting the stage for where England was at, socially, during this time in history. We get a good bit of detail on Knights' backstory courtesy of interviews with his widow and his youngest son. We learn how he got his start writing short stories and how he loved playing the trumpet as well as drawing and painting. He played jazz music in pubs but once he got approached to write captions to go under the nudie pictures in a men's magazine. David Sullivan got in touch with him and hired him to write pornographic stories, articles and film reviews for Sullivan's adult magazines, churning out 7,000 words a day! They cover some of the aliases that he wrote under, how he wrote about Nottingham so often because that was the city he knew, and how once Millington blew up in Sullivan's magazines Knights started writing as Mary Millington and brought her different stories and escapades to life (even if they were pretty much all made up!). When Millington died at thirty-three from an overdose, he was reportedly very upset and passed away himself at fifty-three four weeks later while on vacation with his family. Sullivan, somewhat shamefully, never acknowledged Knights' contribution to his empire or to help the family out after he passed.
George Richardson: Confessions Of A Photographer is a new interview with the photographer who snapped Mary topless at 10 Downing Street. Here, over fourteen-minutes, we learn how he got his start in the industry working for a London newspaper where he photographed girls for The Benny Hill Show. This lead to doing some topless photography for some of the girls, which didn't sit well with Mr. Hill, before meeting David Sullivan who brought him on to do some promotional photography for him involving race horses and naked women! In 1976, when Sullivan produced Come Play With Me, Richardson was brought on to be a photographer on set while Sullivan intentionally stirred controversy around the film's release. He talks about George Harrison Marks' directing style, meeting Mary Millington and getting to know her and how on the 4th of May in 1978 they did a controversial photo shoot in front of the headquarters of the British government and the residence of the Prime Minister, which led to the two of them getting arrested, but not immediately confiscating the camera, which allowed them to publish the photos when Mary hid the film canister inside her vagina! It's a pretty fun interview.
This disc also includes Response, an nine-minute 8mm softcore short film from 1974 directed by Russell Gay as a spin-off from the glamor magazine of the same name. Shot silently and presented without sound, This piece casts Mary as an office work who gets aroused when looking at some erotic pictures and winds up having sex with a woman who is seemingly her boss.
Disc Three: Confessions From the David Galaxy Affair (1979):
Extras on the third disc start off with David Galaxy And Me, a new interview with actress Sally Faulkner, who recalls working with Alan Lake on Confessions From The David Galaxy Affair. Here, over eleven-minutes, we learn how Faulkner appeared in quite a few 'saucy' movies in the seventies, the different roles that she and other actresses in the industry were really just cast as sex objects, how young actresses in the British film industry of the time young actresses were expected to do nudity and how she feels that she wasn't personally treated badly or disrespected even if, in 'retrospective, the whole establishment was a bit grim.' She then goes on to talk quite astutely about how the system sexualized unwitting young women before then talking about some of the films she made like Confessions Of A Driving Instructor and how silly this and other British sex pictures of the era were, I'm Not Feeling Myself Tonight and the theme song she recorded for it (which wound up not being used), The David Galaxy Affair and how her co-star farts during the love scene and how alcohol was the 'drug of choice' for everyone at the time. It's a great piece, she comes across as very sharp and quite funny, looking back at things with some nostalgia but also through a modern eye.
The disc also includes a second featurette entitled Mary On Location, which is a new ‘then and now' travelogue bit that revisits the main locations from Millington's life and films and contrasts them with how they appeared when she was around to how they are in the modern day. Narrated by actress Judy Matheson, this piece runs twenty-seven-minutes and it shows off the homes she lived with in her younger days, the church where she wed at eighteen, some of the shops she worked at, where some of Sullivan's sex shops were located, some of the cinemas were her films premiered (one of which is now a gax sex shop called Prowler) and quite a few of the locations that were used in many of the feature films that Millington appeared in over the years. Towards the end we also get some footage of Millington's own home and Sullivan's home as well, both of which were used in Mary Millington's True Blue Confessions. The piece wraps up with footage of the cemetery where Millington was buried and the churchyard that surrounds it.
The third disc also contains a trio of 8mm softcore shorts, starting with 1979's Arabian Knights, directed by George Harrison Marks. This short was shot on location at the Julius Caeser Hotel in Paddington and stars Rosemary England, Nicky Stanton and Milton Reid. It was originally shot as a hardcore short but is presented here with the XXX material excised, which basically means we only get the first eight-minutes of the movie. Here an English man and a man of Middle Eastern descent strike a deal and then party with a bevy of big chested beauties in and around a fancy poolside setting. 1974's Wild Lovers was produced by Aubrey Ross and Peter Burt for Mountain Films and stars Millington as a 'willing participant at a saucy séance.' It was shot at Millington's own home in Surrey and runs just under five-minutes. It's a black and white piece that shows how a séance turns into basically a series of sexual exploits for its participants with a lesbian couple going at it near the table and a male/female couple screwing in the living room. Eventually they join forces in an orgy. Party Pieces, also from 1974, was Millington's second 8mm shot for Mountain Films and it features the blonde bombshell as a participant in 'a boozy suburban orgy.' Basically, a man and three women get drunk and as he takes one of the gals off the bedroom the other two discover the joys of lesbian lovemaking. The two lesbians then decide to join the couple in the bedroom for a big ol' naked party complete with unexpected high heel shoe fetish action.
Disc Four: Queen of the Blues (1979) / Mary Millington's True Blue Confessions (1980) / Mary Millington's World Striptease Extrazaganza (1981):
Queen Of The Blues gets a new audio commentary courtesy of Sheridan and actor Allan Warren. They start by talking about how Warren wound up in the film, and how he worked both with Mae West and Mary Millington. He talks about how he got cast in a low budget British sex film after having a respectable career prior, the state of the BBC and British media at the time, how he broke three vertabraes in his back and was in pain for eighteen months around this time, the strip club location where most of the film was shot, how he wound up getting many of his young and attractive female friends to work as extras on the shoot, the complications of the lighting used in the picture, how some of the strippers appear on stage but also in the audience clappnig for themselves and how the movie was rushed through the editing stage, details on some of the other actresses who appear in the picture, working with Millington and lots more.
Additionally, Mary Millington's True Blue Confessions also gets a new commentary from Sheridan, this time joined by executive producer David Sullivan. The track starts with the two talking about how Sullivan got into producing movies when he got talked into investing in a film by George Harrison Marks, who shot photos for him for his adult magazines. Harrison Marks talked him into bankrolling a film which led to having to deal with unions and problems, he describes the experience as unpleasant. Regardless, the movie got made and Come Play With Me wound up being a huge success. They then go on to talk about how and why they 'created' Mary Millington as a 'working class sex sympbol.' Sullivan talks about her fondly, describing her as a genuinely nice person, noting that they were always friends right up until her passing. They go into detail about the making of Mary Millington's True Blue Confessions, how it was made as a 'tribute' to Mary and not to make any money (a somewhat dubious claim but it does explain its short running time), the house that was used in the film, how Millington was quite affluent at this time, using girls from his magazines to act in his pictures, using Marie Harper as a double for Millington in the coffin scene (Sullivan defends his decision to do this in the picture), details on some of the other starlets who appear in the film, details on teh different sex shops and cinemas that appear in the picture (all shot in the Soho of the seventies), his own cameo in the film and lots more.
Also included on this disc is Aural Sex, which is touted as ‘Mary Millington's archive voice recording.' This comes with a new introduction by adult actress Clyda Rosen. In this seven-minute segment, we learn how Millington recorded, in 1977, a series of erotic audio tapes which were sold at Sullivan's sex shops and through mail order. After Millington passed away, Sullivan repackaged some of these recordings as flexi-discs which were included in his magazines. This replicates one of these recordings, entitled The Hot One and it's essentially Millington telling a sexy story about screwing her boyfriend Dave overtop of a bunch of moaning and groaning.
Rounding out the extras is The Naked Truth, a ninety-seven-second alternate introduction taken from the Polestar Video VHS release of True Blue Confessions from 1982 (which used the alternate title of, you guessed it, The Naked Truth. We also get the six-minute Emmanuelle In Soho prologue from 1981, which uses elements from Mary Millington's True Blue Confessions. Basically, the producers of that film re-edited some footage from that Millington picture, brought in narrator Tony Jay, and added it to the beginning of Ii>Emmanuelle in Soho.
Disc Five: Respectable: The Mary Millington Story (2015):
Director Simon Sheridan and the BFI's Sam Dunn provide a new audio commentary over the feature. They start by going over the opening sequence with smoke flowing in front of a 16mm film projector, before then going on to cover the amount of research that Sheridan did for the film, requiring him to dig deep into old men's magazines, 8mm and 16mm adult films and lots more, much of which he bought off of eBay. Sheridan also talks about how he had basically the full support of David Sheridan, who was responsible for launching Millington's career and who was romantically involved with her for a while, which was obviously a big help. As the talk continues, they talk about how he went about directing his first film, shooting at Pinewood and running into various celebrities while doing so, getting to know who Millington was when he was a child, how lucky he was to be able to get as many people to talk on camera about Millington as he was, what he wanted to achieve with the picture, how so many British sex films had hardcore scenes shot for the continental and Japanese markets, where some of the archival footage used in the picture came from (including interview clips with infamous anti-porn crusader Mary Whitehouse), notes on Sullivan's own career and how he was frequently under prosecution for making his magazines increasingly explicit and lots more. It's a very interesting talk that does a great job of documenting Sheridan's own experiences bringing Milligan's story to the screen.
Millington/Sheridan is an interview with filmmaker and writer Simon Sheridan) that runs just over twenty-eight-minutes. He starts by talking about how he first became aware of Mary Millington as a kid in Gloucester when he saw a poster for Confessions From The David Galaxy Affair at a nearby cinema. From there, he goes on to talk about why The Playbirds is his favorite of Millington's output, how he started working as a writer and published a book on her for FAB Press and how, by doing so, he made a lot of connections to those who were involved in her work. This led to his making Respectable, meeting people good (like Sullivan) and bad (John East, who he describes as sleazy and annoying and 'one of the worst people I've ever met in my life!'), and responses to the Millington book and a follow up about British sex films called Keeping The British End Up. From there he talks about making the movie, dealing with different producers, how he wound up directing the film by accident, why he chose the title Respectable, how he made contacts for the picture, how and why specific shots were put together the way that they were, meeting Alan Lake's son and learning about his bizarre upbringing, a few interviewees who declined to be in the picture, how the film was received when the film was released, the conspiracy theory angle about the circumstances surrounding Millington's death, the tragedy of her passing at such a young age and why he had to tread very carefully while covering this aspect of her story in the documentary. It's quite an interesting and thorough interview that does a great job of documenting Sheridan's personal experiences working on the movie and bringing Millington's story to a worldwide audience.
Finishing up the extras on this last disc are a trailer for Respectable: The Mary Millington Story, menus and chapter selection options.
This release also comes packaged with an excellent booklet entitled Mary! that contains an introduction by David Sullivan and notes on the different films and many of the extra features that make up this collection written by Sheridan.
The Mary Millington Movie Collection is an excellent, and remarkably comprehensive, collection of British sexploitation content that varies in the quality and entertainment value of the features that it compiles. That said, this stuff is always interesting. The good films are just that, good films, while the lesser films still serve as interesting time capsules of an era long gone. As an overview of Millington's career, it is very thorough and seriously interesting throughout, and the presentation is strong across the board, with most of the content looking very nice. Sheridan's documentary is the icing on the cake, but even the packaging and included booklet are top notch. Highly 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.