ESKIMO NELL (1975)
Translating the German Bohrlock ('borehole', 'blast-hole') was too difficult for most British porn fans; the film consequently enjoyed a variety of alternative titles such as MISS BAWLOCK and even MISS BOLLOCK.
BRITAIN's sex superstar of the saucy 70s, Mary Millington's girl-next-door demeanor actually encompassed everything from magazine cover girl to hardcore actress. An outspoken opponent of the Obscene Publications Act, she also starred - often fleetingly - in British sex comedies, including COME PLAY WITH ME, which holds the record of the longest-ever theatrical booking in domestic cinema history. Her open bisexuality - she cited Harold Wilson and Diana Dors as lovers - illustrated a genuine love of carnal activity ("the old slogan of 'make love, not war' was a very good one"), before the predictable spiral to prostitution, kleptomania and cocaine abuse. A chance meeting in a Kensington coffee shop with pioneering Scottish pornographer John Lindsay led Mary to play the title role of MISS BOHRLOCH, the first of around twenty hardcore 8mm shorts made in Britain and on the continent over a four-year period.
Filmed in Frankfurt, MISS BOHRLOCH was a huge success in Europe (some 300,000 copies were sold) and created an underground following back home. Millington runs the whole gamut in her initial outing, and is mesmerizingly unrelenting (no wonder it was awarded the Golden Phallus Award at the Wet Dream Festival in Amsterdam). An insatiable and upbeat call girl in a fur coat, stockings and suspenders, Bohrloch welcomes two men to her flat for a "full service," after giving her address over the phone ("6 Pop Street") and dropping a ping pong ball from her vagina. Dubbed back in the UK, Mary becomes a Southern Belle while her clients are Irish-American, which makes the banal dialogue slightly amusing ("yes, we'll have a little music here"). In best British seaside postcard tradition, there is a punchline of sorts: having spent all their money on the activities, the duo cannot pay for the service charge; Bohrlock smiles and leads them off screen, "you've been well fed, now you can wash the dishes".
Directed by Martin Campbell and produced by Stanley Long, ESKIMO NELL saw Mary's mainstream sex comedy debut, albeit for approximately ten seconds. Then a jobbing actress and model using her married name Mary Maxted, Millington's role as a stripping traffic warden auditioning for a film-within-a-film is speed up for comedic effect. But this is more of a footnote for one of the few genuinely entertaining and funny entries in the much maligned sub-genre, which sees fledgling film auteur Dennis Morrison (Michael Armstrong, who also scripted), producer Clive Potter (Terence Edmond) and screenwriter Harris Tweedle (Christopher Timothy) hired by seedy erotic film linchpin Benny U. Murdoch (Roy Kinnear, in his element) to make a dirty movie based on the bawdy poem 'The Ballad of Eskimo Nell'. When each of the backers request a completely different style - and Murdoch makes off with the money - the budding filmmakers attempt to keep everyone happy by providing the first gay Western/hardcore/kung-fu musical for all the family. With four different versions in the can, the hardcore cut is then mistakenly shown at the Royal Charity premiere.
The triumph of ESKIMO NELL is that it is a thinly veiled critique of the film industry itself, and an illustration of the moral guardians of the day: Lady Longhorn and Lord Coltwind - backers of the wholesome version - are caricatures of Mary Whitehouse and Lord Longford; Murdoch is based on Tigon supremo Tony Tenser; and Bick Dick - played by Gordon Tanner - ridicules Louis "Deke" M. Heyward, the London representative of AIP who had previously clashed with Armstrong during the shambles of THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HORROR. Of other interest is DOCTOR WHO's Katy Manning, who appears as Hermione Longhorn; this was Manning second film after leaving the services of UNIT, the first being the screen adaptation of the Whitehall farce DON'T JUST LIE THERE, SAY SOMETHING! (written by Jon Pertwee's brother Michael).