DIRECTED BY: Freddie Francis
FEATURING: Ursula Howells, Vanessa Howard, Michael Bryant
PLOT: The four titular characters form a dysfunctional family living in a large, isolated house amidst rambling grounds. Sonny and Girly regularly venture out to bring back lonely, homeless men as “friends” for the family. Each friend’s well being depends on his willingness to abide by the family’s bizarre rules and games. The latest friend adapts only too well, turning the family’s rules against them and revealing the sexual frustrations and power games simmering just below the surface gloss of nursery rhymes and tea parties.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: It just isn’t weird enough. Whether you consider it weird at all probably depends on whether you grew up with this brand of self conscious black humour. The British are traditionally fond of it, for reason’s best known to ourselves. Murderous, nonsense-prattling dysfunctional families are as mother’s milk to us, so this really didn’t seem all that odd to me. Pared down to basics this is a tale of four maladjusted people, who may or may not be related, who seem to be independently wealthy and are isolated from society. They have formed a family unit and devised a set of perverse games and rules to pass the time. Periodically they lure in a lonely outsider, subject him to their games and when he inevitably breaks a rule, they kill him and film the proceedings. Certainly it’s a little off kilter, but in the company of the Premier League weirdness on this site it just doesn’t measure up.
COMMENTS: If you are charmed by the idea of adults chattering out nonsense in sing song voices and constantly referring to themselves in the third person then I’ve got good news for you… this film has it in spades! I’m not entranced by it, so the first ten minutes were touch and go. A brief cameo by character stalwart Michael Ripper was enough to distract me, though, and I gradually found myself becoming interested in what was developing. The first fifteen minutes or so of the film are an introduction to the games and rules. Sonny and Girly are out at the crack of dawn scouting out park benches and ferreting under newspapers in their search for a New Friend. The last Friend has apparently proven himself unsatisfactory Continue reading CAPSULE: GIRLY [AKA MUMSY, NANNY, SONNY AND GIRLY] (1970)