BOUQUET OF BARBED WIRE. (1976) THE CONTROVERSIAL SEXY TV SERIES REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

bouquetofbarbedwire

BOUQUET OF BARBED WIRE. (1976) WRITTEN BY ANDREA NEWMAN. DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY TONY WHARMBY AND JOHN FRANKAU. MADE BY LONDON WEEKEND TELEVISION.

STARRING FRANK FINLAY, SHEILA ALLEN, SUSAN PENHALIGON, JAMES AUBREY, DEBORAH GRANT, ROLAND CURRAM, ROGER REES, ANN BEACH AND CAROL DRINKWATER.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Wow. I watched this vintage British television series over the May Bank Holiday this year and it practically fogged up the screen with the smouldering sexuality. I believe it was the critic Clive James who said of it that, by the end, everyone in it except for the baby had slept with everyone else, a pretty accurate assessment, if you ask me.

Not that you see any nudity or actual sex happening on screen, but you see the before bits and the after bits and it all leaves you with the distinct impression that you’ve actually seen the middley bits too, if you know what I mean.

It’s a family saga with lust, physical violence and forbidden desires simmering away under the surface, with a generous dollop of guilt, remorse and consequences thrown in for good measure, just in case any of the characters should be seen to be enjoying the deliciously illicit sex too much…!

Frank Finlay does a phenomenal job as grey-haired paterfamilias Peter Eliot Manson, a wealthy publisher with the ‘perfect’ family: Cassie, his lovely wife, who’s devoted the best years of her life to supporting Peter and bringing up her family (but she has her secrets too); their twin sons of about ten whom we hardly ever see, because they’re ‘away at school;’ and a beautiful, spoiled adult daughter called Prue…

The series was mired in controversy on its release because of the overtones (never mind the undertones!) of incestuous desire between Peter and his daughter. They’ve never actually slept together, as far as we know, but Peter is head over heels in love with the flirty, mischievous, shit-stirring Prue who, all her life, has always gotten exactly what she wanted from both parents. Now she’s as manipulative and dangerous as any other spoiled child to whom no-one’s ever said the word ‘no…’

Peter is sick with jealousy that Prue, a university student (for all the work we ever see her do…!), has met and married an attractive but independent-minded fellow student, an American chap called Gavin Sorenson.

Gavin’s had the exact opposite upbringing to Prue and therefore has no problem in calling her out when she’s out of line. Prue is having Gavin’s baby now too, and Peter wants to kill Gavin for sullying the virginal body of his beautiful perfect daughter. It’s all very uncomfortable, albeit thrilling, to watch…

Into Peter’s complicated life (and office) then comes his new secretary, Sarah Francis. Sarah is one of those independent working girls who shares a house with other girls, the kind where there are always knickers and tights hanging in the bathroom to dry. Her house-mate Annabel is rich and a walking bitch, just thought I’d mention it!

Anyway, Sarah doesn’t come from a rich, privileged family. In fact, she hails from quite a dysfunctional one and she’s never been able to depend on them for anything. She has to fight for her place in the world. She has two lovers, the impoverished artist Simon and the handsome son of a rich businessman, Geoff, and she can’t decide between either of them. (Geoff would be my choice, lol.) In fact, Sarah never seems to really know what she wants in life and this could spell trouble for her down the line.

Sarah has a delicate beauty and an air almost of damaged fragility that draws her restrained, prim and proper cold fish of a boss Peter to her in his hour of need. He feels betrayed by his precious daughter, he hates Gavin’s guts and he and his wife are barely communicating.

Sarah is like a soothing balm to Peter’s many wounds. Knowing the risks, but nonetheless supremely confident that they can be the first two people in the world ever to have an affair where absolutely no-one gets hurt, not even themselves, they embark on a secret relationship. No-one gets hurt, right, because no-one ever needs to find out? Talk about famous last words…

The series was also famously controversial for its dark themes of sadomasochism, a shady subject that probably had never been openly portrayed on the screen before. Prue Manson-Sorenson has a powerful need to be knocked about by her husband Gavin, and she manipulates him into doing it by pushing him to his limits.

He needn’t respond, of course. He could of course just walk away with his hands in his pockets, but he’s such a hothead that he can’t resist getting into it with her every time. They need to be very careful, these two, especially with Prue’s being pregnant and everything. This is a dangerous game they’re playing and, if they’re not prue-dent, excuse the pun, the consequences could be deadly…

The Manson family is a hotbed of secrets, lies, terrible betrayals, sex, violence, resentment and, buried deeply somewhere underneath all that, love. The aristocratic Frank Finlay at fifty, with his cut-glass accent and meticulous dress, would put one in mind of Christopher Lee, who was only four years older.

Both men would attract you in the same way, with their same aura of stern austerity and regal command. I’m getting weak at the knees now at the thought of it all, lol. I hope to be back to you all in a few days’ time with my review of ANOTHER BOUQUET, the follow-up to the original BOUQUET, so until then, stay safe and we’ll talk again soon.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

ANATOMY OF A MURDER. (1959) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Anatomy-of-a-Murder

ANATOMY OF A MURDER. (1959) BASED ON THE NOVEL BY ROBERT TRAVER. PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY OTTO PREMINGER. MUSIC BY DUKE ELLINGTON. STARRING JAMES STEWART, LEE REMICK, BEN GAZZARA, ARTHUR O’CONNELL, EVE ARDEN, KATHRYN GRANT, MURRAY HAMILTON, GEORGE C. SCOTT AND DUKE ELLINGTON.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Some might say that this was a strange vehicle for the all-American, wholesome-as-apple-pie Jimmy Stewart to get mixed up with. He’s not a grizzled old gunslinger in it, for one thing, and for another thing, there isn’t so much as a sighting in it of the giant rabbit who used to run the Savings and Loan.

Instead, James Stewart is casually using words previously unheard on the cinema screen, such as ‘rape,’ ‘panties’ and ‘spermatogenesis.’ That last one had even me scratching my noodle in bafflement. And this is the movie, if I’m not much mistaken, that made Stewart’s own Pops stop talking to him for a bit, it was so shocking to the old man.

For those who haven’t seen this black-and-white, rather controversial-for-its-time courtroom drama, James Stewart plays Paul Biegler, a small-town attorney who looks exactly as James Stewart does and who defends a man called Frederick Manion. Manion is accused of shooting dead the man who raped his wife.

The question is not whether he ‘dunnit.’ He ‘dunnit’ all right. The man’s as dead as dead and there are witnesses and everything. The question is whether he was in his right mind when he ‘dunnit,’ or if he was in fact temporarily insane, as this is what he’s going to plead.

The trouble for the viewer is that the married couple at the centre of the drama, Laura and Frederick Manion, are not what you’d expect for a woman who’s just been supposedly raped and battered by an acquaintance and the husband who’s so horrified by what’s happened to his lovely wife that he’s rushed out while his blood is up and shot the guy who committed these awful deeds.

Ben, an army lieutenant, is young, handsome and very, very cold. There seems to exist very little affection between himself and Laura. He’s suspected of having a jealous temperament and of giving her the odd clout round the head when he’s in the mood, although he shows us little or no emotion at all in the film. It’s not out of the question for the viewer that his wife, an incorrigible flirt, made up the story about the rape and battery to excuse her late arrival home to their trailer and her dishevelled appearance.

Let’s move onto the wife, Laura. Talk about a femme fatale. She doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word ‘inappropriate.’ Two days after the supposed rape, she turns up at Pauly’s office in a tight little outfit, flirting and smoking and smiling mysteriously, and making herself at home in his gaff, playing his records and sitting with her feet tucked up underneath her on his couch. She’s brought her adorable lickle wuff-wuff, Muff, with her too. Muff can do cute tricks, lol, and be altogether very obliging for an adorable lickle wuff-wuff. 

The homespun old Pauly is enchanted, to say the very least. There’s not much sign on the sexy blonde Laura of a recent trauma having taken place, barring the shiner underneath her sunglasses, which could just as easily have been given her by her husband as by the man she’s accusing of rape and battery. She looks rather in the pink, as a matter of plain fact.

Where’s the crying, the trembling, the hiding away and unwillingness to come forward that we might have expected from an on-screen rape victim? There’s none of that, just what seems like a vain, silly, thoughtless woman trying to add another middle-aged conquest to her army of followers. James Stewart, how easily you succumbed! For shame, haha.

Pauly and his elderly alcoholic assistant Parnell McCarthy (yep, it’s a good team, folks!) have to try to unravel what kind of man the dead guy, Barney Quill, was. In order to do this, they have to visit the bar which Barney owned and see the place where Laura and Barney met up on the night of the rape.

Over in one corner is the pinball machine on which Laura played on this fateful night, when she was boozing heavily and ‘swishing her hips’ in her little skirt and no doubt thrusting out her nips too in the little tight ‘Fifties sweater she wore.

And over there behind the bar is Alphonse Paquette, the surliest barman who ever pulled a pint. He surely doesn’t want to co-operate with Pauly and Co. What in the hell is he hiding? He’s played by a really young Murray Hamilton, by the way, a man who was once accused of ‘queuing up to be a hot lunch’ in the 1975 summer blockbuster, JAWS.

He’s definitely hiding something. Protecting his attractive young bar manager, Mary Pilant, maybe? Who is she, anyway, and what’s her connection to Barney Quill, the deceased bar owner with his trophies for shooting on display behind the bar…?

George C. Scott is handsome and deadly as the visiting big-city prosecutor who has to pit his razor-sharp wits against the rambling homespun wisdom of Pauly Biegler. The ancient judge, a bit of a rambling old dodderer himself, seems to be pro-Pauly rather than pro-the-visiting-big-city-prosecutor, but it’s not the judge Pauly has to convince with his arguments. It’s the jury of roughly about nine angry men and three mildly pissed-off women, and they all have lives to be getting back to…

I loved Eve Arden as Maida, Pauly’s good-humoured and efficient Girl Friday who puts up with his crap with loyalty and stoicism, even though some weeks he clearly can’t pay her her goddamn salary because he’s a bad businessman and he keeps letting people go off without paying him. She must have the patience of a saint to put up with his bullshit.

The funniest scene in the movie (and there’s a lot of comedy in this for a film about a rape trial) is when the judge, James Stewart and the two prosecutors are trying to find a suitable word for knickers, one that won’t offend the delicate sensibilities of the listening public but won’t cause them to crease up with a fit of the giggles, either. George C. Scott: ‘When I was stationed in France, there was a word they used there but it might be too suggestive…!’ Ah, go on, tell us, George, we’re totally in suspenders here…!

Modern-day feminists viewing the film will be appalled at the way in which the rape victim is judged unfavourably for her flirting and her boozing and her habit of swanning off to the pub without her husband or her knickers of a night, to play pinball and knock back the booze with strange men.

What was she wearing, the question some people think should be an irrelevancy in a rape trial, is given more court-time here than most feminists would like, and The Panties deserve their own credit, maybe even their own spin-off show, a cutting-edge legal drama where the characters are all played by undergarments, perhaps.

The long-winded judge who keeps trying to finish early in court so he can sneak off to go fishing could be played by an old pair of stripey boxer shorts, for example, and the sexy young barrister trying to make a name for herself could be portrayed by a lacy hot-pink thong, and so forth. The Panties could be splitting up with her husband and she’s fighting him tooth and nail for custody of their wonderful offspring, a delightful little pair of twin sock garters, and of course the case comes up before our aforementioned judge. You don’t buy it? No, neither did Fox, lol…

 Finally, if I may end with an appeal to film-makers to refuse to have pinball machines in the bars in their movies in the future, as said machines have been an incitement to rape in at least two films; this one, and also THE ACCUSED, starring Jodie Foster and Kelly McGillis.

In fact, the pinball machine in THE ACCUSED was later found to have participated actively in the on-screen rape of Jodie Foster’s character in the movie and became unofficially known as ‘the fourth defendant,’ along with College Boy, the Ted Bundy lookalike and the local, ahem, lackwit, shall we say, so you can see how easily it can happen. Say no to pinball machines and you’re saying no to pinball machine rape, and together we can stamp out this atrocity in our time. (Send donations too if you want; it’s a totally legit cause…!)

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

THE DEVIANTS. A NOVEL OF SEXUAL PERVERSION AND FUCKED-UP LOVE BY KINDLE AUTHOR SANDRA HARRIS.

cover max new

Max, a bored and unhappy middle-aged man, meets a younger woman, Juliet, by chance in a bookshop. Instantly attracted to each other, they begin an affair. Juliet quickly realises that Max is not like most other men sexually. Lonely, and craving the affection she has been denied throughout her life, she allows herself to become Max’s sexual plaything- and punchbag- in exchange for his love. Max takes full advantage of Juliet’s friendless state and coerces her into doing things that leave her feeling degraded and violated. Afraid of losing Max, Juliet is unable to say no to his demands and so the game continues until the situation blows up in their faces and both Max and Juliet have no choice but to face the consequences of their fucked-up love.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PPM16YM?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

cover max new

THE DEVIANTS- A NOVEL BY SANDRA HARRIS- IS FREE, FREE, FREE FROM AMAZON FROM 16TH UNTIL 20TH MARCH!!!

THE BLOG RE-WRITTEN
Max, a bored and unhappy middle-aged man, meets a younger woman, Juliet, by chance in a bookshop. Instantly attracted to each other, they begin an affair. Juliet quickly realises that Max is not like most other men sexually. Lonely, and craving the affection she has been denied throughout her life, she allows herself to become Max’s sexual plaything- and punchbag- in exchange for his love. Max takes full advantage of Juliet’s friendless state and coerces her into doing things that leave her feeling degraded and violated. Afraid of losing Max, Juliet is unable to say no to his demands and so the game continues until the situation blows up in their faces and both Max and Juliet have no choice but to face the consequences of their fucked-up love.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PPM16YM

THE DEVIANTS. A NOVEL BY SANDRA HARRIS.

Yes, this book has a lot of sex in it. After all, it deals with the murky, dirty, sleazy tacky world of extra-marital affairs, domestic abuse, kinky fucking, domination and submission, rape, addiction to pornography and swinging, and all in good old Catholic Ireland, too. It just wasn’t possible to write it without putting in the sex. But it’s not just a sex-book, and it’s most definitely not an erotic novel. What is it exactly, then? I can’t tell you that. You’d have to read the book yourself to fully appreciate its message. But you should read it. I’d go so far as to say that you need to read it. Enter the world of THE DEVIANTS, if only for a little while. Then, and only then, will you understand it. And love it. Best wishes, Sandra Harris.
THE BLOG RE-WRITTEN
Max, a bored and unhappy middle-aged man, meets a younger woman, Juliet, by chance in a bookshop. Instantly attracted to each other, they begin an affair. Juliet quickly realises that Max is not like most other men sexually. Lonely, and craving the affection she has been denied throughout her life, she allows herself to become Max’s sexual plaything- and punchbag- in exchange for his love. Max takes full advantage of Juliet’s friendless state and coerces her into doing things that leave her feeling degraded and violated. Afraid of losing Max, Juliet is unable to say no to his demands and so the game continues until the situation blows up in their faces and both Max and Juliet have no choice but to face the consequences of their fucked-up love.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PPM16YM


THE DEVIANTS. A NOVEL BY SANDRA HARRIS. NOW AVAILABLE THIS CHRISTMAS TO BUY FROM AMAZON.

Featured Image -- 1735
Max, a bored and unhappy middle-aged man, meets a younger woman, Juliet, by chance in a bookshop. Instantly attracted to each other, they begin an affair. Juliet quickly realises that Max is not like most other men sexually. Lonely, and craving the affection she has been denied throughout her life, she allows herself to become Max’s sexual plaything- and punchbag- in exchange for his love. Max takes full advantage of Juliet’s friendless state and coerces her into doing things that leave her feeling degraded and violated. Afraid of losing Max, Juliet is unable to say no to his demands and so the game continues until the situation blows up in their faces and both Max and Juliet have no choice but to face the consequences of their amour fou.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PPM16YM