Woody Allen once said that sex was the most fun he'd ever had without laughing. But laughing and sex are not mutually exclusive. Horniness brings on undignified behaviour, and it is all the more fun if we are in on the joke. This blog is a celebration of the funny side of sex and the sexy side of humour. As an author of erotic stories I like to show that sex is more fun when it is playful and silly.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Flicks With Chicks : Pacific Banana (1981)

Alyson Best as Mandy
The Story

Martin Budd (Graeme Blundell) is a pilot for Blandings Airlines. After his employer's wife, Lady Blandings, tries to force herself on him, first during a private flight and secondly in her chauffeur-driven limousine, Martin develops a sexual disfunction. When attempting sex he sneezes and loses his erection. This is depicted by a shot of a windsock deflating. Sir Harry Blandings (Alan Hopgood) sees Martin fall out of the limo and sneeze, while a dishevelled Lady Blandings informs him she has been molested.

Blandings fires Martin, but not before showing him off to his daughter, Julia (Helen Hemingway), and explaining that this is what a sex maniac looks like. For Julia it is love at first sight. After his wife is gone, Harry explains that he knows what she is like and that he will send Martin to work as a pilot for Banana Airlines. On his way there he is picked up by a sexy woman who tries to seduce him. When he finds out that she is Blandings' other daughter Penny he sneezes and goes limp.

Banana Airlines seems to consist of only one plane, and a pretty clapped-out one at that. The other pilot is an inveterate lady's man by the name of Paul Davidson (Robin Stewart) who is engaged to both of the airline hostesses - Sally (Deborah Gray) and Mandy (Alyson Best), but still finds time to cheat on them with a string of other women.

Once Paul, Sally and Mandy find out about Martin's problem they try to help him with it. When the plane is chartered by Candy Bubbles (Luan Peters) to carry a bunch of swingers to Club Candy (her cut-price answer to Club Med), she and her club hostesses lend a hand.

Julia Blandings keeps stowing away aboard the plane and popping up to declare her undying love for Martin, which just panics him even more.

While jealous husbands and jealous hosties pursue Paul, Candy finally resorts to a primitive ritual which involves her baring her boobs and which is liable to arouse not just every man on the island, but the slumbering volcano as well.

But perhaps it is true love in the person of Julia which will, after all, provide the cure for what ails our hero.

The Director

John D. Lamond was once the king of Aussie skin flicks. He began in 1975 with a mondo style documentary called Australia After Dark. This was to be a look at the sinister and sleazy side of Australian life. The only problem was that in 1975 Lamond found it hard to find anything sinister or sleazy going on to film, so he had to create his own black mass and kinky orgy, the latter scene featuring a well-known gay television personality sporting leather gear. Next came The ABC of Love and Sex : Australia Style (1978) - a softcore sex film posing as as a sex education documentary and featuring women in leotards fondling giant penis statues. Also in 1978, Lamond made his most popular film Felicity, an Emmanuelle imitation about a plucky school girl who travels to Hong Kong and finds herself on a journey of sexual discovery. After that he turned to the popular slasher film genre with Nightmares (1980). Pacific Banana appears to have been Lamond's last real success. He directed a couple more films in Australia - Breakfast in Paris (1982) and A Slice of Life (1983), a comedy about vasectomy, and he wrote and produced a science fiction adventure called Sky Pirates (1986). Since then he's made a couple of obscure thrillers shot in Asia. But his appearance in Mark Hartley's documentary Not Quite Hollywood (2008) and the DVD releases of a number of his films has brought him back into the public eye, and now he is planning to direct two new movies - a noirish thriller and a dramady as well as executive produce some others. Check out this article for more on these current projects.

The Writer

Alan Hopgood is a writer and an actor. In Pacific Banana he plays the role of Sir Harry Blandings. He wrote the script for the famous Australian sex comedy Alvin Purple (1973) which made a star of actor Graeme Blundell. He also wrote its sequel and the television series which followed. He has written for famous television soaps such as Bellbird (1967), The Flying Doctors (1987-1991) and Neighbours (1998-2001). As an actor he has been a regular on Australian television. He played the part of Wally Wallace in 75 episodes of Prisoner. Films in which he as acted include My Brilliant Career (1979), The  Blue Lagoon (1980) and Roadgames (1981). Clearly Lamond thought that, by reuniting Hopgood and Blundell, he might end up with a hit like Alvin Purple. Certainly he and Hopgood were hoping it would be the first of a series. It didn't turn out that way. Hopgood was disappointed with the way Lamond cheapened his script, adding a pie fight sequence, etc. He feels that it was the director's fault that they didn't end up with a successful series of films.

The Actors

Graeme Blundell became a household name in Australia playing the role of Alvin Purple in the film of the same name. This tale of an ordinary guy who is unaccountably irresistible to women was a huge success, taking advantage of the recently created R-rating and paving the way for a string of raunchy romps like Pacific Banana. He has had an extensive career in film and television and even appeared in Star Wars : Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005). He has also worked extensively in the theatre and was the author of a best-selling biography of Australian television personality Graham Kennedy.

Robin Stewart is an English actor perhaps best known for his role as Mike Abbott in the sitcom Bless This House (1971-1976) starring Sid James and as Leyland Van Helsing in the Hammer Films / Shaw Brothers collaboration The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974).

Deborah Gray adorned the cover of Australian Playboy in March 1981 as well as appearing in three other issues of the magazine. She became famous in 1977 playing the character of Miss Hemingway on the notorious Australian soap Number 96. Miss Hemingway was a serial exhibitionist who would appear in public in a long fur coat only to drop it and reveal that she was completely naked underneath. Her public exposures and trips to the psychiatrist in hopes of finding a cure for her behaviour were  a highlight of the show towards the end of its run. As well as playing the role of Sally, she and Luan Peters co-wrote and sang the film's catchy theme song. She went on to have a pop music career in the late seventies. Now she writes witchcraft books and has put out a jazz album.

Alyson Best appeared on a number of television soap operas, including having a main role in the short-lived Holiday Island (1981) of which her bikini-clad form was the major appeal. She also appeared a number of movies, including Harlequin (1980), with Robert Powell and David Hemmings, and Paul Cox's brilliant Man of Flowers (1983). She had a very appealing girl-next-door quality and often got her gear off on film. John Lamond claims she walked around nude for much of the time they were filming Pacific Banana. She hasn't acted on television or film since 1986.

Helen Hemingway was born in 1953. This would mean she was 28 when she played the role of Julia Blandings, running around in a school uniform. So the voice over narration which describes her as "mutton dressed up as lamb" is accurate. Her acting career was a fairly modest one. She appeared in three television series and two movies. The other movie was the cult horror film Patrick (1978). A pity. After seeing her sexy and charming performance in this film I would have liked to see more of her.

Luan Peters did a lot of television in Britain including two appearances on Doctor Who. She also appeared in two Hammer vampire films - Lust for a Vampire (1971) and Twins of Evil (1971).

Hedley Cullen who has a brief non-speaking role as an airline passenger who leeringly looks up Deborah Gray's skirt was better known as Adelaide television horror host Deadly Earnest.

The Review

John Lamond's movies are not what you would call high-class cinema, but unlike many other auteurs who chased the drive-in dollar he kept the production values high on his movies. They might be dumb exploitation movies, but they always looked good. And Pacific Banana is no exception. The girls are gorgeous and artfully photographed. The scenery often spectacular. And the acting is good enough for the requirements of the script. Graeme Blundell, in particular, has always been a fine comic actor. The gags in the film, and especially the campy narration, are more likely to induce groans than giggles, but it really doesn't matter. The characters are likeable, the actors and actresses good looking, and watching them fly around a number of Pacific islands having sexy adventures is a pleasant way to spend an hour and a half.

The Book

There was a tie-in paperback based on the film written by someone with the unlikely name of Aldor Flagg. It isn't very good. The plot differs in some areas from the movie, but it really has nothing to offer as the film's appeal is in its visuals and not in its plot or dialogue.

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