Friday, 5 November 2010

Under the Doctor

Starring Adventures of a Taxi Driver's Barry Evans in a somewhat different role, that of a sex obsessed doctor rather than a sex obsessed cabbie, this is a middling example of the 1970s British sex comedy that manages to be of some theoretical interest.

The film is structured around three of Evans's patients, played by Penny Spencer, Hilary Pritchard and Liz Frazer and their respective case histories.

First, Spencer relates how she went for a job interview and had fantasies about her potential employer.

Next, Pritchard first tells how she obtained valuable stock market information from an upper-class broker type only to have difficulties with his lecherous butler, then of her fantasies of being an 18th century noblewoman whom two suitors are duelling over.

Finally, Frazer relates of how she has attempted to reignite the passion of her imagined husband.

The key point of significance in Spencer and Pritchard's cases, along with Fraser's fantasy, is that Evans is present, as the would-be employer, one of the suitors and the imaginary husband respectively. As such, amidst the bums, boobs and bad humour, there is the question of whose fantasies are actually being represented, and of who is projecting or transferring what onto whom.

Put another way, someone with an interest in psychoanalytic film theory really ought to look at this film and what it is 'saying' in a more or less unselfconscious / unconscious way...

For the rest of us there is also the Barry Lyndon parody of the 18th century sequence. (The film's writer, Ron Bareham, was a production accountant on the Kubrick film.)

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