It has been some time since I last 'blogged', so I trust you have been keeping well.
As some of you may know I am known to have dabbled in the mysterious, dark world of film making...
It is my intention to present to you over the coming weeks some of my efforts together with exclusive 'making of' information. Believe me there was blood, sweat, tears and egg spilt during these times.
So to kick this off, what better way to start than with my saucy homage to the great British sex comedies - Can You Keep It Up With This That And The Other For A Week?
Can You Keep It Up With This That And The Other For A Week?
"Robin Evans is a chirpy window cleaner out on his round. He laments that he never gets birds, but today might be different. He calls at Gloria McGurks house. She answers the door in her negligee and tells him to clean the bedroom window. Robin sees her stripping off and he soon ends up on the bed with Gloria down to his underpants. Gripper McGurk turns up unexpectedly, having been released early from prison. He chases Robin from the house. Robin escapes without his trousers. Professor Gaylord had invented a Sex Ray that will make him irresistable to women, but needs someone to try it out on. Robin calls at Mrs Gaylords. She too answers the door in negligee. She soon has him pinned down to the kitchen floor. Her husband Professor Gaylord enters and drags him off to be the tester for the Sex Ray. The Professor trips on Robin's bucket and overdoses him with the Ray. Both the professor and his wife are attracted to Robin and chase him out of the house. Robin once again has only his underpants on. He tries to steal a dressing gown from a housewife's washing line, but she sees him and is also attracted to him. Robin hides out in the woods but is captured by a zookeeper who thinks he is Ethel the Ape. Zookeeper tries to kiss Robin but Ethel appears. She too fancies Robin. He runs away whilst Ethel and the Zookeeper fight. Robin encounters a Vicar, a Nurse and a Photographer who all want him. He bumps into Gripper who now wants him as well. All the characters chase him. He sees a Policeman who also chases him. He is cornered by Professor Gaylord and all the characters jump on him and writhe in ecstasy. One by one the charcters are picked off by a large hairy hand. Robin is relieved he has been saved, but faint into Ethel's arms when he sees it is her that saved him.
Robin sits on a comfy sofa whilst Ethel serves him cocktails. He winks at the camera and says " Well, it ain't such a bad life after all. Cheers!"
Directed, Written and Produced by Jan Manthey
Edited by Douglas Patterson and Jan Manthey
"Can You Keep It Up...?' Theme Tune Written and Performed by Vic Pratt
Incidental Music by Alan Mills
Robin Evans - Vic Pratt, Gloria McGurk - Diana Manthey, Gripper McGurk - Norman Stebson, Professor Gaylord - Smeaton Westurby, Mrs Gaylord - Jenny Hammerton, Zookeeper - Jonathan Cockerell, Vicar - Lee Scott, Mrs Noggett - Elizabeth Leicester, Photographer - Jed Leicester, Nurse Nookie - Sarah Lee, P.C Zucker - Rob Norfolk, Angry Motorist - Mark Duqueno and Ethel The Ape as Herself.
Exclusive extracts from the personal diary of Jan Manthey:
Approximately 2 years after I wrote the script I have finally got my act together and started my latest masterpiece. It is the first one that I have actually written as a comedy, as opposed to my other efforts that often turn into comedies during their making. Also first film shot on digital. I recently had to revise the script. I had a nurse character in it but I do not know enough girls willing to appear in this filth so I changed it to a camp photographer. I refuse to use stereotypes. The first scenes to be shot were of Professor Gaylord, Mrs Gaylord and Robin Evans, all played by veterans of the INSPECTOR ZUCKER VS GORGO film shoot. For these scenes I had to build a Sex Ray Machine. This I cobbled together from various bits and pieces I had lying around including:
Some old CCTV camera holders, a sea monkey aerator, a light saber, a yellow tube, a Sesame Street speaking 'Ernie' machine and, re-used from ZUCKER, a seventies hair drying machine.
Vic had to wear some disgusting underpants that I had bought from Camden Market. They turned out to be very tight, smaller than I expected. Basically if there were any stirring in his, admittedly small, loins then they would have split.
Jenny supplied her own costume, which was rather revealing I must say. It was a black basque type thing with black suspenders and stockings. It certainly showed off her ample cleavage. She had that kind of Liz Fraser look that I was after. Smeaton had standard issue Mad Professor Lab Coat, Glasses and Curly Wig.
Conditions were a bit cramped but it all went very well indeed. There was much fun to be had in the scenes where Mrs Gaylord ravishes Robin in the kitchen, especially the Point of View shot of Jenny sitting on top of Vic. There were many gratuitous shots of Jenny's cleavage. After a splendid lunch we moved onto the scenes with the Sex Ray Machine. The machine I made was falling apart the second I took it out of the car, and I knew it wouldn't last long. It just lasted till the end though. In the script the Sex Ray is supposed to blow up creating lots of smoke. Sadly I do not have the means to create this effect, so I will have to hope something can be done in editing. The final part of the day was filming the Professor and Mrs Gaylord (clad in skimpy negligee) chasing Robin (in underpants) out of the house onto the street. Must be a normal occurrence in Amersham as no one seemed to notice. Going well for the June deadline for the Portobello Film Festival.
20th APRIL 2002
Back to the grind after a two week break. It is getting difficult keeping the momentum going. Once again went to Amersham to film three scenes with the librarian, Vicar and Zookeeper. First problem was that the Vicar didn't ever show up. These scenes would have to be done another time with a different Vicar. We went to the woods to film the Zookeeper/escaped Gorilla scenes. Vic had no trousers on and a leopard skin dressing gown. No one was around in the woods though. Jonathan Cockerell as the Zookeeper had a special hat that I had bought. Also a large net on a stick. Ideal for catching gorillas. I had to don the suit of gorilladom for my portrayal of Ethel the Ape. There were a few technical problems with the suit and I couldn't see through the mask, but we managed to fumble through the shots.
Next we had the problems. We had to film on the street and Vic was somewhat under dressed. Everytime we thought we found somewhere someone would wander by and stop and stare. Had they never seen a grown man in pants and a leopard skin dressing gown before? We wasted much time and nothing was 'in the can'. Demoralised we went back to Vic's for tea and cake. We filmed the scene in an alleyway near Vic's house, but it did not come out good at all.
31st AUGUST 2002
My how time flies. I almost got filming again in the past few months but I couldn't quite get it together. Still we are here now. The scenes to be filmed involved Vic as Robin being seduced by blond tart Gloria. The shots of Vic peering through the bedroom window as Gloria starts undressing are very amusing. Diana (the missus) as Gloria looked particularly stunning blond wig, over the top make up and regulation sexy negligee. The original script had Robin climbing in through the window, but this could not be done as the windows did not open like that. It was a shame because the payoff would have been Robin clambering down the ladder clad in only his underpants. Still changes had to be made... Speaking of which, I had to take over the role of Gripper as the chap who was to play the part proved to be somewhat elusive. This was not ideal, as I do not look tough enough to play the 'heavy'. I disguised myself with padding and a moustache and put on my finest Arthur Mullard accent. I just about pulled it off. A good days work in all, although not as I originally intended, it was of sufficient standard to pass the Jan Manthey seal of approval.
18th MAY 2003
Time has flown once again. I felt it was time to get this darned film wrapped up once and for all. I suppose we had a good excuse for the break in filming as the missus went and had a baby. So we had to wait for her to be able to dress as Gloria again. I assembled the largest gathering of actors for one of my films, and that was quite an acheivment. Jenny (Mrs Gaylord) brought a female friend along who for reasons unknown had a nurses' uniform with her. She was soon in the film. My original script actually had a nurse character, so it was quite fortuitous that this happened. The main scenes shot were of Vic running around in his underpants being chased by all the cast. This caused typical reactions from passers-by when they see scantily clad people running around the streets. The ensemble cast was excellent and ad-libbed brilliantly, especially for the shot where they corner Robin and bundle him to the floor to molest him. The cast certainly got into the spirit of the occasion and I believe a few bruises were picked up as thing got a bit 'boisterous'.
I even managed to squeeze in a role for my 8 week old son, Percy, as the photographic subject of the extremely camp photographer.
Now filming is complete, and I have 20 days to edit it so I can enter it for the Portobello Film Festival. Will I get it done in time?
20th AUGUST 2003
"Will I get it done in time?"
15th JULY 2004
Well it is finally done. The epic is finished. It is only 16 minutes long, so it may not seem epic length. But it was an epic struggle to complete. This was the first film edited on a computer and I must say the results are spiffing (compared to my old method of two tape players). It is good to see one of my films with completely clean edits, special effects and overlapping sound. Astounding. Also great music. Excellent theme toon from Vic, and 'Al's Bossa', 'Farce in 'A'' and the 'Erection Symphony' from Mr Alan Mills.
The cast, though, are what made the film.
VIC PRATT as ROBIN EVANS: Brilliant Askwithian expressions. Classic British pasty skinny body.
DIANA MANTHEY as GLORIA McGURK:Looks good in negligee. Great sultry performance.
SMEATON WESTURBY as PROFESSOR GAYLORD: Great manic performance. Disturbing shot at end of film as he humps Robin.
JENNY HAMMERTON as MRS GAYLORD: Classic British sex comedy curvy figure.
JONATHAN COCKERELL as ZOOKEEPER: Funny performanace.
JED LEICESTER as PHOTOGRAPHER: Hilariously camp.
ELIZABETH LEICESTER as MRS NOGGET: Nice ass.
LEE SCOTT as VICAR: Solid performance.
SARAH LEE as NURSE NOOKIE: Nice legs.
ROB NORFOLK as P.C ZUCKER (note the name, continuity fans): Another funny performance, always makes me laugh.
The film looks just like a pastiche of a seventies British sex comedy which is exactly how I wanted it. Now read on to find out how CAN YOU KEEP IT UP WITH THIS THAT AND THE OTHER FOR A WEEK? conquered the world of film festivals...
The film is shown at the Portobello Film Festival, and many of the cast gather to watch it in a pub on Ladbroke Grove. The screening goes down well, with a few laughs and equally as many bemused looks on peoples' faces. It is certainly the rudest film there, which is a bit sad really. I mean there's no nudity, just a bit of good old British naughtiness.
The film is to be shown at the Sutton Film Festival. On a big proper screen at the UCI cinema! The screen is enormous, Vic's pants will look huge! The cinema is about half full, and I scraped together some of the tired cast to come and see it. My film is due to begin at 6.30. The time comes. There is a long pause. I begin to think something is wrong. More pause. Nervous shuffling and coughing. But then... Phew! It begins. The soundtrack for some reason is deafening, so I can't tell if people are laughing or not. The showing was another great success, and it was definitely better that some of the other stuff shown at the festival.
The film has been accepted to be shown at the prestigious TROMANALE Festival in Berlin.
Berlin is a great city, for one thing there is plenty of wurst, and probably the best place in Europe to hold the chaotic festival that was Tromanale.
It was held at a mysterious out of the way riverside venue called C-base, which claims to be the remains of a crashed spaceship. I was disappointed when we got there, it just looked like one of the many vast warehouse like buildings that populate the city. Inside however there were many computer screens with strange 'data' scrolling up and down on them, I think they had started to make it look like a space ship but got bored halfway through, as the
rest is a rundown arts centre forever bathed in a cloud of pot smoke.
We (the missus and I) got there on Friday night, and Can You Keep It Up With This That And That And The Other For A Week? was due on at 21.10. There were problems, however. When I finally asked someone how it was all going, he revealed to me that none of the films had turned up. He simply didn't know where they
were. I could see the whole night ending in tears. It was not so bad though, as I had drunk quite a few bottles of 'Berliner Kindl' beer by then. Suddenly it was announced that the films had turned up, so it was all on again. The place had filled up and there was about 30 or 40 mostly German people in the audience. I think they enjoyed the film, there were a few laughs
but I don't know how much of it they understood. Afterwards I was invited to the front of the cinema, and an Austrian called Juan Carlos interviewed me. I was greeted with polite applause. I cannot remember what I said or what was asked, but it was taped so I will watch back one day and tell you all about it. Then there was more applause and I returned to my seat. Sadly the planned showing of 'Double D Avenger ' was cancelled.
And so to Sunday, we got there for about 17.00, to see some Troma films that were supposed to be introduced by the 'President' of Troma films, one of my all time movie making heroes, Lloyd Kaufman. There were about 5 people in the audience, an old couple wandered in, probably to get out of the cold. I could see no sign of Kaufman. Suddenly a female voice exclaimed ' Hey it's Jan Manthey!' It was a girl named Thea, who apparently was the organiser of this whole event, and she was there with Kaufman. There he was, a small Mel Brooks lookalike in a crumpled raincoat. We were introduced! We had a bit of
a chat and he said he would like to see my film, and Thea said she was going to show it to him later that night. We then watched the Troma film called Terror Firmer, which was hilarious, especially if you like seeing fat bearded men being humiliated for cheap laughs. Kaufman sat slumped on his own watching his masterpiece. Afterwards we seized the opportunity to get photo with him, and photos were taken with us posing with a Toxic Avenger mask. He gave me his card and said I should call him if I was in New York. Tromananle festival was shambolic and chaotic but hugely enjoyable and the film was well recieved.
So to all those who showed their cleavage, ran around in underpants and got chased by Gorillas, I say thanks, your fame will spread throughout the German speaking world.