Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Sex Thief: Remastered Edition (1974)

The Sex Thief: Remastered Edition[The Sex Thief AKA Her Family Jewels 1973 88 minutes directed by Martin Campbell Widescreen] The late David Warbeck (who later appeared in three Lucio Fulci horror films in the 80's and a ton of other films) stars as Grant Henry AKA the Sex Thief in this silly but surprising 1973 British sex comedy. A writer of trashy paperbacks, Henry moonlights as a masked jewel thief who is usually caught in the act but lures his female captors to bed. He is a criminal by choice, not by necessity. Bedroom gyno-gymnast that he is, the women all lie to the authorities about his identity and secretly hope to get burgled again and again.

A shameless Hollywood producer and a ditzy blonde wannabe movie star try to drum up publicity by claiming that the notorious thief assaulted her. Enraged and engorged that his name has been tarnished, our beloved Sex Thief purchases a toy gun and stalks the actress. In a forced apartment entry, he catches her in the bath before the pair passionately reenact her made up fantasy scenario. Typically dimwitted and corrupt cops more interested in peddling contraband blue movies (porn in today's vernacular) than catching the thief also become involved for comedic effect. Despite the softcore stereotype of the British sex-comedy film, this one is fairly well made and occasionally funny, mildly sexy and a fairly flagrant female fleshfest.

Michael Armstrong, who acts in the film as a breast obsessed cop, wrote the screenplay under the demonic alter ego Edward Hyde, is most familiar to exploitation fans for the much maligned and frequently banned ‘Mark of the Devil' as well as the autobiographical ‘Eskimo Nell', another Brit sex comedy from that time. The version of this flick known as ‘Her Family Jewels', had brief notoriety when it resurfaced with some hardcore insertions before being yanked (puns intended) from circulation. Another discovery is actress Gloria Walker AKA Gloria Maley who went from being well-worked over by Warbeck's buzzing stimulator here to providing the blood and guts special effects for 1980's ‘Inseminoid' (ugh) a more diverse career move is hard to imagine. ‘The Sex Thief' marginally rises above the typical British sexploitation comedy from that era thanks to some pointed raunchiness, a somewhat subversive script and a charismatic leading man. Oh yeah, and a boatload of nudity, which is the only reason to watch flicks like these. No one under 40 will appreciate it, it's for old codgers (like me) to wax nostalgic over, remember the miniskirts, fashions and marvel at how different times were and how women looked then.

The remastered edition is in widescreen, where earlier editions were only available in full screen, and a decent clean-up of picture, color and contrast are noticeable. So if you want to recapture stolen moments from the bygone era of your wayward youth and pilfer a snicker or three in the process, snatch yourself a copy of ‘The Sex Thief'. All else should consider yourself duly warned.

Many were the sex comedies that England made during the seventies, with a significant part released by Jezebel. I do remember watching some at the time, although I have forgotten most of their titles. But one that clearly comes to mind is the delicious "The Sex Thief," a spicy sex comedy directed by a young Martin Campbell, who would years later be responsible for James Bond's "Casino Royale" and "Goldeneye."

The film stars David Warbeck who at one time was considered to play James Bond -as Grant Henry, the sex thief, who, during the day, works as a "creative artist" never figured that one out. He is an attractive guy and, when discovered by his female victims while conducting a robbery, they quickly fall for his charms, with one saying, "I should call the police," and Grant just answering, "Later." Yep, as simple as that. However, the cops are after him, due to a clue given by one aspiring actress, trying to get publicity, when she tells the police that, "he had a Russian accent. I'll do anything I can to help such a beast to be put behind bars." Of course, she also got a taste of the thief, or vice versa. Unfortunately for Grant, a sexy insurance lady (Diane Keen) had developed the perfect trap to catch the famous sex thief. She is aided by two inept and horny cops.

"The Sex Thief" is truly funny, with smart and hilarious dialogue. Of course, as any film of the time, it is loaded with female and male nudity. This, friends, is a classic of the genre, in a magnificent Blu-ray edition. (UK, 1974, color, 90 min)

Reviewed on March 12, 2013 by Eric Gonzalez for Kino Lorber Jezebel Blu-ray

Buy The Sex Thief: Remastered Edition (1974) Now

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