Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Stud (1978)

Sometimes, when life is getting too much for you with lots of stupid dramas, there’s only one thing that will really cheer you up. And that’s a really classic trashy movie. If said movie happens to star Joan Collins, even better. The Stud is a movie tailor-made for these situations.

Oliver Tobias is the stud of the title, Tony Blake. He was a waiter, a poor working-class kid with big ambitions, a pretty face and a hot body. He attracted the attention of the fabulously wealthy Fontaine Khaled (Joan Collins), or rather his hot body attracted her attention. So she set him up as manager of a night-club, although his main duties are to satisfy her sexual appetites. He’s constantly on call in case she has a sexual emergency that requires immediate servicing. And this happens to Fontaine quite frequently.

Tony’s services are also available to other women, and they’re in high demand. He’s a busy boy, even if he spends most of his life in bed! Tony’s friends are gigolos as well, but Tony’s problem is that he thinks he’s more than that. Unfortunately he isn’t smart enough to be more than an amusing sex toy for wealthy women, and he also isn’t smart enough to realise that that’s the only use women have for him.

Tony’s big problems start when Fontaine has a sexual emergency in the elevator of her apartment building. She’s turned on by the fact that the security camera is filming their encounter, but perhaps she should have been a little more careful about making sure the resulting video tape wouldn’t be found by anyone inconvenient. Like her husband. Or her husband’s daughter, who already dislikes her. And Tony finds his life starting to spiral out of control when Fontaine decides she should share her toy boy with her friends, like Vanessa. Vanessa is very keen to try Tony out. And while Vanessa amuses herself with Tony Fontaine can screw Vanessa’s husband, which she’s been wanting to do for a while. So Fontaine arranges a little holiday for them all in Paris - shopping, drugs and lots of sex. She didn’t need to ask Tony if it was OK with him - she does own him after all. This little trip will have momentous consequences for both Fontaine and Tony.

Tony has been playing some dangerous games of his own, pursuing Fontaine’s step-daughter. He thinks he’s in love. He’s certainly in love with her money and her social position, but whether Tony is actually capable of loving a woman for herself is debatable. If it sounds like it’s all going to end messily, it is.

These are the beautiful people of the 70s. Their lives consist of night-clubbing, shopping, and sex. After which they go to another night-club, shop some more, and have lots more sex. It’s 1978, London is a smorgasbord of night-clubs and sex, and no-one imagines that this lifestyle can’t go on forever.

Oliver Tobias does a good job as Tony, although he doesn’t really need to do much more than pout a bit and look hot. Sue Lloyd is amusing as Fontaine’s lecherous friend Vanessa, The supporting cast seem to have been chosen more for their willingness to take their clothes off than for their acting abilities, and that turns out to be an asset. The last thing a film like this needs is people trying to do serious acting.

And of course there’s Joan Collins. After her Hollywood career hadn’t really taken off she’d returned to England, and by the 70s she was pursuing a varied and interesting if not overly distinguished career, high-lighted by some wonderfully camp performances in some wonderfully camp horror movies. She was certainly a busy actress, but The Stud marks the beginning of her classical uber-bitch period when she really found her niche. And it helped her to transform her, at last, into a major box-office star. She’s in top form. Her great asset has always been that she has no illusions about being a great actress, but put her in something really trashy and set her loose and she knows exactly what to do. This movie gives her the chance to be both bitch and sex-bomb, and she performs both roles admirably, shedding her clothes at every possible opportunity.

This is absolutely top-notch high-gloss trash, and demonstrates that Britain could make great movie trash as well as anyone else could. The swimming pool orgy scene is as excessive as anyone could possibly desire. And you get disco music. A must-see for anyone who adores Joan Collins as I do. I loved every sleazy minute of it.

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