Secrets of Sex (1970)

Genre: 70’s British Sexploitation

Secrets of Sex… Well, what a weird film!

This 1970 British sexploitation comedy has the ingredients to being quite interesting and I don’t mean just for the London’s Soho dirty raincoat brigade, if you know what I mean… nudge… nudge… wink… wink. Although they would be happy with what’s on offer here. There is another reason and that is because this whole film is quite surreal.

The film opens in ancient Egypt where a woman is caught by her husband with a large trunk in her bedroom. Could there be a secret lover inside? Another woman? The husband doesn’t want to know, so without opening the trunk, he has it buried.

We now come forward to the present day - well, 1970 - where the unlucky occupant of the buried trunk has resurrected as an Egyption Mummy. He then continues to narrate the remainder of the film (voiced by Valentine Dyall) on the eternal struggle between men and women.

This film is an anthology of short stories on the topic of sex and to me, this film is similar in feel to the horror anthologies produced by Amicus Films which were popular at that time.

Some of the stories even contained a horror element, such as the first two. The first story is about a female photographer who is photographing her male models in various states of S/M. This results in a rather uncomfortable death for the poor model.

The second story, which is in fact quite creepy, concerns a young female scientist who becomes pregnant from a 69 year old man. The resulting baby, although barely seen, is quite disturbing.

On a lighter note, the story about a guy who catches a female burglar in his house is predictable, but still fun and quite erotic.

Two other good stories is the mini spy spoof about a female secret agent called Lindy Leigh. This was supposedly based on a comic strip which appeared in the popular British men’s magazine, Mayfair. The other  is about a sexually repressed man who phones for a prostitute and once she arrives, asks her if his pet lizard could watch while they both have sex.

Directed by Antony Balch, who was a friend of William S.Burroughs. Balch started his film making career by making two William Burroughs’ shorts and eventually became a legendary distributor in the 60’s and 70’s. He would often distribute European films while giving them catchier English titles, such as Weird Weirdo.

He only ever made two features, this William Burroughs inspired film and the black comedy, Horror Hospital (1973).

Is Secrets of Sex a good or bad film? Well, I would say it's both. Some of the vignettes, as mentioned above, were fun, but in other places it seemed weak.

What was good about this film is the off-kiltedness of the whole thing, especially the beginning of the film before the vignettes take place, which was very experimental. This experimentalness continues interspersed throughout the remainder of the film, leading to a bizarre ending.

This is definitely a product on the early 70’s - with even a feel of the late 60’s. The girls are all pretty and are dressed in the hight of fashions for those times – white go-go boots and mini skirts and the interior sets are great with early 70’s décor.

As was popular at that time, people were trying to pseudo-scientifically analyse sex in Freudian terms, notably Wilhem Reich, which was brought to the big screen in the Yugoslavian/West German co-production WR: Mysteries of the Organism (1971).

Secrets of Sex pre-dates that film by one year, but includes a few similar characteristics, notably one scene where girls strip while the men brandish and caress sub-machine guns. This was maybe also in response to the radicalization of the hippie movement at the end of the late 60’s and their call for the violent overthrow of the establishment through the likes of radical groups, such as the Weathermen.

Although not a classic, this film is still worth watching for its oddness and there are also plenty of pretty “dolly birds” to keep the dirty raincoat brigade happy, including myself. Now I just need to get hold of some early 70’s issues of Mayfair… nudge… nudge… wink... wink…

You can find this film on DVD under it's US title of Bizarre.

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