Wednesday, March 27, 2013


One of the most important movies in the Andressian oeuvre is a rather strange Italian sex farce. It’s very well known, but copies of it are rare, fetching more than US$100 on eBay.

It’s 1975’s 'L'infermiera', or 'The Sensuous Nurse', or 'Secrets of the Sensuous Nurse'... somewhat appropriately, as the title gets longer it also gets ruder.

After his wealthy Uncle Leonida suffers a stroke while banging the local gravedigger's wife, Benito Varotto comes up with a plan to finish him off and thus inherit the family's winery, which he can then sell for a tidy profit to cold-hearted American businessman Mr Kitch (Jack Palance, who appears to have taken acting lessons from a particularly grim piece of wood). He calls on his old friend and occasional bedmate Anna, a part time nurse and full time Ursula Andress, to be his uncle's private nurse.

His plan is that her hot, seductive Ursulaness will overexcite the lecherous old bastard, and thus finish the job the gravedigger's wife started and pack him off to 70s Italian Sexpolitation Heaven (a place I imagine to look a lot like an eternal Benny Hill sketch, only with Yakety Sax being played on a harp or something). Ursula being Ursula she's totally up for it, but, over time, she comes to like the feisty old fornicator, and falls prey to his well-aged charms.

But not before she's seduced his 18 year old grand-nephew, apparently more to keep in practice than for any solid reason. Having a virgin around put her off her game, I think, like a vampire who struggles to drain a maiden's blood knowing that there's a crucifx and some holy water in the next room.

But in the end Uncle Leonida is the only man for her. In due course he and Ursula are married, Benito's evil plan is revealed and Leonida kicks all his worthless relatives out of his house... except for his grand-nephew, who wasn't in on the plan. Apparently the whole "he-had-sex-with-my-new-wife" thing isn't a problem for any of them. Perhaps this happened a lot in Italy in the 70s.

Then Leonida and Ursula head off for their honeymoon where, naturally, he drops dead while enjoying his marital entitlements. This leaves Ursula as the sole beneficiary of his estate. So the original plan worked, just for Ursula rather than Benito.

At the end of the film, only one question remains: what the hell? There’s no good reason why 'L'infermiera' should be so famous. Sure, it has a naked Ursula Andress, but Ursula got her nude on in pretty much all of her movies, so that’s hardly a unique selling point. The comedy is laboured, the dialogue is trite, and there are no grand scenes or moments of action. There’s just a lot of naked Ursula.

So maybe that’s it. The movie is famous because it didn’t have anything in it that was going to distract the viewer from the many scenes of Ursula taking her clothes off and frolicking. It’s the purest ever distillation of everything an Ursula Andress movie should be.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Mr Graham (Stanley Baker) has a problem. Or rather two problems. The first is that he looks like a John Cleese impersonator who got lost on his way to the Ministry of Silly Walks.

The second is that he is bored out of his mind by his job as an assistant bank manager. In order to get out of the tedious life his career seems to be guaranteeing, Mr Graham comes up with a plan to rob the bank of all its money - the princely sum of 300,000 pounds.

Apparently in 1970 that was enough money to keep you in luxury for the rest of your life... or so they thought before rampant inflation kicked in around the mid-70s. By 1980 it barely enough money to keep you in poverty, let alone luxury. But Mr Graham isn't to know that, so he hones his plan and dreams of a better life.

His dreams are answered, as a red blooded man's dreams are wont to be, in the form of Ursula Andress, here playing the irresponsible yet vivacious Lady Britt Dorset. After determining that she is the sort of feisty, loose-moralled woman his plan needs, he asks her if she wants in. She responds as only Ursula can.

But the plan needs a third, so they enlist Britt's husband, Lord Dorset, who is just as profligate and wanton as his wife. Together they work out the intricate plan for robbing the bank, with Mr Graham and Britt planning to ditch her husband at the first opportunity. But these things never go according to plan.

'Perfect Friday' is a classic British caper film, with amoral characters who seem charming now but must have been rather scandalous and cynical in 1970. It's only a little over forty years ago, but it was an entirely different world. It was a time of businessmen in bowler hats and Ursula Andresses in Sunbeam Alpines, and also the time of the bewildering hell that was 1970s office design.

Sweet merciful crap. It's like a psychological experiment designed by the French. No wonder Mr Graham was a little unstable.

But we don't watch AndressFest movies for inconsequentialities like set design and plot. We watch them for Ursula, and in 'Perfect Friday' she was at her sexy, seductive best. Well... perhaps not her best. Although she was lovely, she was always a little out of her depth with comedy. Ursula was at her most seductive in roles which took the business of seduction with the utmost seriousness. In Perfect Friday, the seduction is fun, not hot. And so Ursula was beautiful but not, well, perfect.

Still, it was an amusing little film, and if the assembled AndressFesters wanted more of Ursula doing what she does best, there was plenty still to come in AndressFest'13.

Monday, March 25, 2013


AndressFest'13 has been and gone, leaving many empty liquor bottles, throbbing hangovers and confused memories of Ursula attempting to act. But it was an AndressFest, after all, so feelings of nausea and malaise are only to be expected.

As usual, the snacks were a celebration of Ursula's ability to give life to dialogue and project a deep evocation of character.

Astonishingly enough, this year's movies were actually not all that bad. Not masterpieces of course, by even the most relaxed standards, but certainly better than previous efforts like 'Tigers in Lipstick' and 'The Loves and Times of Scaramouche'. And accordingly, this year's cocktail was, in my opinion, better than usual. Following in the tradition of the Golden Ursula, the Creamy Ursula, the Dirty Ursula, the Cheeky Ursula, the Spicy Ursula and the Sultry Ursula, I created... the Perfect Ursula.

The Perfect Ursula

1 part American Honey (or similar)

1 part peach schnapps

2 parts vodka

4 parts soda water

Fill a collins glass with ice. Mix first three ingredients, then add to glass. Top up with soda water, then add sections of orange and blueberries on a short skewer.

The Perfect Ursula was named in honour of not only Ursula's general perfection in the fields of bedroom eyes and nudity, but also our first movie for AndressFest'13: 1970's 'Perfect Friday'. Sigh... if only it had been anywhere near as perfect as the woman herself.

Friday, March 08, 2013


It's that time of year again. The time that fills Blandwagons with joy and DVD players with loathing. The time when we remember that it isn't talent, hard work or luck that gets you ahead in this world. It's having boobies and getting them out at every conceivable opportunity.

Yes, it's AndressFest time!

AndressFest'13 - my eighth annual celebration of the greatest terrible actress ever to grace the silver screen - will be held on Friday 22 March 2013. Let me know if you would like to come. And you know you want to. Nobody says no to Ursula.