Fun and Games (1971, UK)

“Really, Angela, I don’t like to say this, but I think you’re a bit mixed up,” says the housekeeper to the prison Governor’s nymphet daughter, after relatively little exposure to the girl’s troubling and wanton behaviour. “Me? Oh, I wouldn’t say that, Mrs Jackson. I may be a little psychotic, a schizophrenic with undertones of paranoia, a nymphomaniac with irresistible bisexual tendencies… I can tune in AC or DC. I have alternate sadistic and masochistic impulses. I am also an inveterate exhibitionist, and shall probably die of sexual malnutrition before I’m 20, but… apart from that, I’m not in the least mixed up.” It could be that the only interest in this awful film may be to see which of those diagnoses is borne out; not too many are.

It’s not in dispute that Angela Thorne (Alexandra Hay) is an unusual girl. She has just returned to her home in England after four years attending a school in Boston. Is it odder that a suitable boarding school could not be found for her in the UK, that she would not once return home for the holidays in four years, or that she would fly from the US to the UK in her school uniform? Her widowed father (Neil Hallett) is the Governor at the low security HM Prison Greybourne, and is far too busy to pick his only child up from the airport, so he naturally delegates the task to his driver, a prisoner, Paul Floret (Sandor Elès). Who wouldn’t? On the trip from the airport to the prison, Angela is a little more than coquettish with her driver; she starts to undress in the back seat of the car and propositions him. After they arrive (their house is on prison grounds), and Angela tracks her father down in the prison, Governor Thorne is not at all pleased at the interruption. Nor will he forego his normal routine so that he can catch up with her earlier than 7.30 pm. It’s perhaps not surprising that his daughter is ‘a bit mixed up.’

And she is a shocking tease (as Mrs Jackson rightly discerned). She roams unchecked around the prison, amusing herself by suggestive flashes to the prisoners, getting changed at night with the curtains open, dropping a handkerchief for a prisoner to pick up… and attempting to seduce prisoners, prison officers and complete strangers alike (with, unsurprisingly, some success). The two prisoners whom she targets most frequently, the driver Paul and his friend Carl Maxwell (Harry Baird), both resist her approaches, mindful of how much trouble they will get into if they take her up on her offers; Paul has less than two months to serve.

Another prisoner, Gribney (David Bauer), however, is a man with a penchant for schoolgirls, and one less able to control himself. Angela leads him on, and he falls for it and accosts her. He is then furious when she then screams for help; she is rescued and he is punished. Later, while awaiting a transfer to a higher security prison, he escapes from his cell and makes his way straight to Angela’s bedroom, armed with a knife and seeking to avenge the wrong done to him. Angela flirts and rolls around on the bed with him, and he forgets that he intended to kill her. After staff arrive, things end better for Angela than for Gribney. Her father’s response is to arrange for her to be sent back to the US.

Angela is undaunted. She continues to pursue Carl, who eventually succumbs and is caught in flagrante with her by a prison officer (who happens to have also enjoyed an intimate encounter with Angela). The Governor is called. Carl panics. Paul, unwilling to allow Carl to take the rap for Angela’s minxiness, buys into the incident and assaults the prison officer for good measure. Angela is again held at knifepoint (well, screwdriver-point, by Carl), and Paul either saves the day or compounds their problems by commandeering the Governor’s car, and escaping in it with Carl and the ‘hostage’ Angela. Finally, after much running through Berkshire woods, they find their way to a boat and Paul elects to hand himself in. Governor Thorne is tipped off as to their location and discovers Carl and Angela in a somewhat compromising consensual situation, finally convincing him that his daughter might not be a girl who can do no wrong.

This was clearly from a different era, when men’s inability to resist a sexually precocious schoolgirl’s allure was seen to be understandable, and when inviting the audience to hope for gruesome, nasty things to befall an under-age girl was also seen as acceptable. But it would be a shocker in any era.

The film was released in the US under the title 1,000 Convicts and a Woman. The sequel, 1,000 Bostonians and a Scrubber, was fortunately never made.






Posted on November 29th, 2020 at 10:57 pm. Updated on November 29th, 2020 at 10:57 pm.

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