When American counter culture was moving film in a different direction and cult classics like Easy Rider were evidently in existence, Jonathan Miller’s effort seems all the more out of touch.
Ironically the pedigree of performer in this early seventies sex comedy is astonishing. With the likes of John Bird, John Fortune, Oliver Reed and Hayley Mills you would hope for better. Under normal circumstances with source material from Kingsley Amis and a director like Jonathan Miller you expect something of quality, but instead it’s a film of low production value which says very little and deserves to be forgotten.
These might sound like harsh words but the cast are uniformly wasted in something which fails to even reach the sophistication of a Carry On film. This is no Joe Orton-inspired Entertaining Mr Sloane or caustic social commentary piece akin to A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg. A suspect title song is sledgehammer-like in establishing both intention and theme from minute one, while Reed looks to be on autopilot. You needed Leonard Rossiter as the boarding house owner and Jim Dale for comic relief, because they might have been able to squeeze more out it than the assembled company.
It is flagrantly chauvinistic, savagely working class without possessing one modicum of style and the scriptwriter deserves shooting. Production values are indicative of the British film industry in certain quarters at that time. Given Miller’s heritage which stemmed from Beyond The Fringe and encompassed the infamous Cambridge Footlights, Establishment Club and Peter Cook things are hugely disappointing. As for Oliver Reed it says much of the man that he made this for the money then did The Devils a year later before going on to work with Ken Russell again on Tommy.
If Take A Girl Like You was trying to be anything other than chuck away cinema fodder it never makes those intentions known. When American counter culture was moving film in a different direction and cult classics like Easy Rider were evidently in existence, Jonathan Miller’s effort seems all the more out of touch. Story beats are transparent, characters shockingly under written while everyone knows this is not Shakespeare. It feels more akin to the cash-in Confessions films which made a household name of Robin Askew and kick-started the video rental market. To call this a waste of time and money is an understatement as it lacks artistic merit, moral integrity or redemptive features worthy of comment.