SassyFlix | The Wife Swappers

The Wife Swappers

  • R
  • 1970-09-09
  • 01:24:00
6/ 10
4 votes
Categories:

Drama, Sexploitation

They were ready and willing to trade anything!

Classic British Erotica From the Saucy 70's!

The Wife Swappers...kinky, erotic and over the top. These are stories of promiscuous partners in search of forbidden fruits, seemingly ordinary couples who turn into rampant sex adventurers behind closed doors. They lust after sordid thrills, regardless of the risk. This is an eye-popping excursion into the lusty world of wife-swapping clubs where anything goes. Sexy swingers dare and bare all in their quest to turn the humdrum into the horny. Rude, nude and funny (not always intentionally), these classic British sex films vitalized the Soho raincoat trade and became international blockbusters.

Although mostly forgotten today, The Wife Swappers was one of the most successful British films at the tall end of the Swinging Sixties. Headlining a double bill with an obscure Sixties adaptation of "The Perfumed Garden" it appropriately became the couples favorite among the British sex cinema roster. The Wife Swappers is a true blue British classic.

Reviews

They are awful but I like them!

During the first 10 minutes you wait with eager anticipation for Dick Emery to appear. This must be where he got his idea of interviewing 'characters' in the street from. If you've seen it you'll know what I mean. Hello honkytonks indeed! This film is a classic and the British equivalent of a release on the Something Weird DVD label. The music is fantastic and some of the women are actually very attractive. It certainly is a social document from a by-gone age. Think Budgie, dodgy punters in Soho bookshops, 8mm stag films and Get Carter. But it's not really that seedy - the middle class swingers own Forever Changes by Love - that's far from being a drag man! The most bizarre thing is that this film has the ambiance of a public information film on the 'Charley Says' compilation.

I'd swap my wife....For a new motor!!! 10/10

Dated look at swinging in Britain

Derek Ford's THE WIFE SWAPPERS is an exploration of extra-marital sex told via anthology format with a number of stories occupying the rather short running time. It has almost exactly the same look and feel as Ford's later COMMUTER HUSBANDS, which I had watched the previous day, although it's not as much fun as that movie. The material here feels more restricted and more than a little repetitive, and the endless monotonous narration by the pompous psychologist really hurts it.

Still, the film begins on a strong note, with a nice introduction to 'swinging' and a decent set up in which an 'ordinary' married couple are visited by a liberated couple who have them play a stripping game. Valerie St. John is an attractive and arresting presence as the wife caught up in a world beyond her expectations, and amusingly enough the liberated swinging bloke is played by the actor who would later go on to fame as Captain Birdseye in many TV adverts of the 1980s.

Being a Ford film, there's plenty of nudity to occupy viewers, which is good because otherwise the plotting feels rather dragged out here. When the psychologist really gets going in the mid section of the film it slows down quite considerably and becomes something of a chore towards the end, although I enjoyed the amusing way that the stories become rather dark and downbeat. As is the case with most similar fare from this era, THE WIFE SWAPPERS only works today as a mild curiosity piece.

first half of the film is fine

Nothing like as bad as some consider, this starts well with a lady bare beneath her wet look black mackintosh (and hat!) being 'kidnapped' from Westminster Bridge. She is taken blindfold out of London and at a lower stretch of the river, stripped and told to swim to a boat the other side. It transpires that this is one of the set-ups of a pleasure seeking group. This we are told has sprung up as people become jaded from wife swapping and seek more and more dangerous thrills. The first half of the film is fine with lots of Soho location shooting, dirty bookshop fronts,contact magazines and an interview with a gent who looks more like a granddad who yearns to spank his missus. It all begins to cave in,however, when a 'psychiatrist' takes centre stage to explain it all too us and in so doing explain why this is all going to go terribly wrong. There are some misguided comments regarding SM and then things get more and more depressing as the subject is analysed out of existence.

Primitive Wife Swapping in the West End Jungle

`Within the urban sprawl of any great city there is almost an infinite number of variations in human behaviour, millions upon millions of people going about their everyday business. Unfortunately we shall also find gambling alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography and every conceivable kind of sexual licentiousness'. A blonde dressed only in a leather raincoat is snatched from Westminister bridge by muscular zombie-like men in dark glasses. Driven to the countryside, she's undressed and ordered to swim naked to a boat where an unknown horror awaits. So opens The Wife Swappers, the high watermark of the British sex pseudo-documentary genre and heir to movies like West End Jungle (1961), Primitive London (1965) and London in the Raw (1964). In the classic ‘torn from todays headlines' manner, the film documents the varying experiences of middle class Hansel and Gretels lured into the Gingerbread house of the cult of wife swapping. Encompassing talking heads, monochrome hidden camera expose and blackmail thriller, The Wife Swappers has something clearly for everyone. A simple boat ride turns hazardous when one of the guys gets rough with one of the girls (cue bongo music) resulting in a righteous punch-up while members of a jaded dare club undress in a London discotheque ‘not even our camera crew knew what was to happen here'. The film mainly focuses on Ellen and Paul, a bored couple who enlist the help of swingers Jean (the victim of an odd post dubbing job) and Leonard, played by Larry Taylor later to be known as Captain Birdseye, but for 1969 purposes the gap toothed oldest swinger in town. Subliminal casual sex games give way to their induction to a wife swapping cult, who seem comprised of the cast of a 1950's gangster film. The women fashion an aged Fifties blonde pin-up image while the men have an East End gangster look to them, dark glasses and facial scars are abound. All this is interrupted by babble from an `eminent London psychiatrist' played by a weasely down on his luck character who looks nothing of the sort. The Wife Swappers came from an era when the British censor had a morality based stronghold over films. Producer Stanley Long had already had his collar felt in the early Sixties when his production ‘West End Jungle' was banned outright. For The Wife Swappers, Long dreamed up the crazy stunt of sending a real psychiatrist to the censors on a mercy mission pleading the film as a benefit to mankind, and not just an excuse for frumpy blondes to roll about on beds. Two years later Long delivered a custard pie in the censor's face with ‘Naughty: A report on Pornography and Erotica', a passionate attack on the coda The Wife Swappers holds dear, comprised of Soho street scenes, some surprising rough stuff towards the end, and ill realised but pointed swipes at Victorian morality. For contemporary audiences however The Wife Swappers' most amusing moments raise their heads with the feigned Puritanism. Witness a wife's biblical break up of a swinging party, proclaiming `animals, animals all of you, you've taken the act of love and DIRTIED IT' and later confronting her husband with the classic line `a woman isn't a sex machine she's a childbearer'. A veteran of British sex films from their 8mm strip-tease short beginnings, Long also photographed the killer moth movie The Blood Beast Terror (1967), likewise director Derek Ford juggled the sex and horror genres during his career with scripts for Edmund Purdom's Don't Open Till Christmas (1983/5) and the classic severed head in a fridge number Corruption (1967). Both men flirted with the horror genre within the sexploitation canon, Long's Primitive London has bloody reinactments of the Jack the Ripper murders while Ford's Sex Express includes a brutal vignette containing murder and vampirism, but The Wife Swappers was the first movie to really tie the sex and horror genres together. Sidelining at one point to become a stalker horror movie when a well spoken dirty phonecaller forces a woman to take her clothes off in public exhibitions that later will cause a `total nervous collapse necessitating prolonged hospitalisation', in stereotypical horror film fashion the titles open to screams of horror rather than joy. The depiction of the cult initially seen wearing theatrical masks also poses the question was The Wife Swappers Kubrick's closet inspiration for Eyes Wide Shut. Although mostly forgotten today, The Wife Swappers was one of the most successful British films at the tail end of the Swinging Sixties. Headlining a double bill with an obscure Sixties adaptation of ‘The Perfumed Garden' it appropriately became the couples favourite among the British sex cinema roster. The Wife Swappers is a Brit-sleaze classic.