Britain’s First Adult Film Superstar
If you lived in Europe during the 1970s, the porn starlet Mary Millington became an infamous celebrity due to her erotic exploits in British sex comedies. What Linda Lovelace was to American adult films in the Seventies, Mary Millington was the British equivalent. She became a household name in Europe thanks to a string of softcore adult movies made over a relatively short period before her death.
The pretty girl-next-door rose from obscurity as a model working for adult publisher David Sullivan (the British Hugh Hefner) to everlasting stardom overseas in 1977’s Come Play With Me. The tawdry sex comedy became a box office sensation in London. Her career continued in full bloom until 1979, when she tragically passed away at the age of 33. Beset by personal problems like kleptomania and massive debt, Mary Millington’s rough lifestyle finally caught up with her in an overdose. A crusader against censorship, the sexy starlet was adored by her fans in England.
Mary Millington’s rough lifestyle finally caught up with her in an overdose
Mary Millington’s rough lifestyle finally caught up with her in an overdose
The Mary Millington Movie Collection is a luxurious five-disc box set of her most popular films from the late Seventies. Included are Come Play with Me (1977), The Playbirds (1978), Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair (1979), Queen of the Blues (1979) and Mary Millington’s True Blue Confessions (1980). Providing a candid look back at her life and career in films is the 2015 documentary from her biographer Simon Sheridan – Respectable: The Mary Millington Story.
Originally rated X by the British film board, Come Play With Me is amusingly tame by today’s more lax and liberal standards. The most famous British sex comedy ever made, the farce sees two elderly money forgers visiting a clinic staffed by a bevy of voluptuous nurses willing to do anything for their guests. The movie is flimsy nonsense that understands its supporting cast of beautiful actresses is what the audience wants. Filled with familiar mainstream actors, the comedy has its funny moments.
Interestingly enough, Mary Millington is often little more than a supporting player in these movies. Taking a backseat to the actual actors in her films, she provides the necessary eye candy and occasional sex scene. She’s comfortable enough on camera but the international sex symbol is used more as marketing bait than featured performer.
The Playbirds is a bizarre fusion of b-movie thriller and exploitation spectacle only the British could make. Confessions From The David Galaxy Affair is mostly about star Alan Lake as a playboy bedding every attractive woman he comes across. None of the films hold up on their own if not for their rampant nudity and occasional sex.
While technically rated X, Mary’s films in the box set are from a different and far more conservative era of British filmmaking. I think most today would barely consider them even qualifying as softcore adult films. Cheaply made with poor writing and uneven performances, they are aimed at the men that grew up during the Seventies wanting a nostalgic reminder of their misspent youth.
All the movies receive fairly impressive transfers from the original film elements. Presented in their original, theatrical 1.66:1 aspect ratios, every movie is shockingly crisp with solid detail and definition. While the color palettes are a little ruddy with minor black crushing, the steady 1080P presentations have no major weaknesses. For low-budget films from the Seventies, clarity and resolution are both excellent.
Screenbound has encoded the movies in transparent AVC, finely preserving their original grain structure without overt processing. The prints are in stable and clean condition. Fans will be immensely pleased seeing the video quality of these films in the box set.
Decent quality 2.0 PCM audio in mono is the standard soundtrack for each movie. Despite their status as “adult” films these were highly professional productions with stout recording fidelity. They sound little different than any British film from the period.
Dialogue is crisply rendered in clear, intelligible exchanges and accompanying music offers middle-of-the-road dynamics. Expect serviceable soundtracks that get the job done without fuss.
No subtitles are provided for any movie.
Individually numbered and limited to 3,000 units, UK label Screenbound has created this deluxe Blu-ray box set as a loving tribute to Mary Millington and her career. MVD has picked up the completely region-free release for distribution in North America, importing copies from the UK.
The Mary Millington Movie Collection arrives in a thick chipboard slipcase holding five slim-line BD cases and an 80-page squarebound book, packed with rare archival photographs and in-depth essays on each movie by biographer Simon Sheridan (author of Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema). It’s really a fantastic package with crisp graphic design and lucid writing. The colorfully-designed box looks great on the shelf.
Each disc is loaded with special features, ranging from audio commentaries to rare adult 8mm films made by Mary Millington before she hit the big time in Come Play With Me. Featurettes include a fascinating interview with director George Harrison Marks’ daughter recalling her father’s career. There’s a little bit of something for everyone across the bonus features, from those wanting behind-the-scenes information to more prurient interests.
It’s amazing that most Hollywood film stars haven’t received the kind of lavish care and attention that has obviously gone into the Mary Millington Movie Collection.
It should be noted that Screenbound has avoided using any “hardcore” adult material in these special features. The adult 8mm shorts cut off before any hardcore scenes.
Come Play With Me extras:
Audio Commentary with biographer Simon Sheridan and actress Sue Longhurst
In Bed with Josie Harrison Marks Documentary (21:40 in HD) – 2019 interview with the daughter of director George Harrison Marks.
8mmillington (24:11 in HD) – Featurette consisting of softcore scenes taken from 8mm hardcore short films made by Mary Millington during the early 1970s.
Come Play With Me Theatrical Trailer (02:49 in HD)
Sex Is My Business 8mm (08:27 in HD) – 1975 8mm silent short starring Mary Millington.
The Playbirds extras:
Audio Commentary with biographer Simon Sheridan and director Willy Roe
Ten Million Dirty Words (13:28 in HD) – New featurette about Harry Knights, the writer who helped shape Mary Millington’s career.
George Richardson: Confessions of a Photographer (14:27 in HD) – 2020 interview with press photographer George Richardson.
“Response” (09:13 in HD) – 1975 8mm silent adult short starring Mary Millington.
Confessions From the David Galaxy Affair extras:
Sally Faulkner: David Galaxy And Me Documentary (11:12 in HD) – Actress Sally Faulkner is interviewed in this 2019 production.
“Mary Millington on Location” (27:04 in HD) – A featurette narrated by actress Judy Matheson about locations in Mary Millington’s life and movies such as the sex shop she managed.
“Arabian Knights” (08:07 in HD) – Softcore opening of a 1979 hardcore 8mm short.
“Wild Lovers” (04:52 in HD) – 1974 8mm silent short with Mary Millington
“Party Pieces” (08:02 in HD) – 1975 8mm silent short featuring Mary Millington
Queen of the Blues / True Blue Confessions extras:
Audio Commentary on Queen of the Blues with biographer Simon Sheridan and actor Allan Warren
Audio Commentary on True Blue Confessions with biographer Simon Sheridan and producer David Sullivan – For some reason they forgot to include this commentary in the menu. It can only be chosen by switching audio tracks while playing the movie.
Aural Sex (07:02 in HD) – Featurette narrated by actress Clyda Rosen, including a complete 1977 erotic audio recording by Mary Millington.
Emmanuelle in Soho prologue (06:37 in HD) – 1981 prologue added to the start of the US release of the movie.
The Naked Truth (01:37 in HD) – 1981 VHS introduction for Mary Millington’s True Blue Confessions
Respectable: The Mary Millington Story extras:
Audio Commentary with biographer/director Simon Sheridan and Sam Dunn of the BFI
Millington/Sheridan Documentary (28:26 in HD) – 2019 interview with director Simon Sheridan
Respectable Teaser (0:31 in HD)
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Mary Millington Movie Collection
The biggest British adult performer of the 1970s, Mary Millington’s titillating sex films are collected in this expansive box set.
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