Review: Respectable – The Mary Millington Story
DVD: Respectable – The Mary Millington Story (2016)
Britain in the 1970’s must have been a really fascinating time in history. In particular the sex trade and distribution of obscene material was so different by today’s standards, it is barely recognisable. The rise of pornographic material led to the rise of Mary Whitehouse and her crusade to, “ban this filth”. On the flip side of that coin was another woman called Mary who would lead the charge for sexual liberation and the right for people to decide what they wanted to see and do.
Mary Millington will be instantly recognisable to many but I’ll be honest and say that I hadn’t heard of her until our illustrious leader Dave interviewed the wonderful Simon Sheridan. I would thoroughly recommend people check out that interview as it is clear to me that Simon is extremely knowledgeable in this field and a really nice guy.
The documentary follows the life and ultimately tragic death of Mary, from her humble upbringing to becoming one of the biggest stars in the British sex industry. To give you some idea of just how popular she became, forget Star Wars because the real blockbuster from 1977, at least in the UK, was Come Play With Me, which, incredibly spent 4 years playing at the Moulin Cinema in London’s West End.
Mary was often described as, “the girl next door” which only seemed to add to her allure and popularity. There were even rumours of an affair with then Prime Minister Harold Wilson and it wasn’t long before her lifestyle began to take its toll. This in turn lead to some poor decisions and arguably contributed to her untimely death.
The Mary Millington Story features interviews from people who were close to her including David Sullivan and Linzi Drew. They really give you a sense of just how meteoric her stardom became and her state of mind when things became desperate. Dexter Fletcher provides the voice of the documentary and does a great job telling the story of Mary’s life.
Writer, producer and director Simon Sheridan has created a labour of love and captured the spirit of the 1970’s. Simon does a great job of being fair to Mary, providing a balanced point of view about her vulnerability and how she also manipulated people and the press.
I would totally recommend you seek out this documentary whether or not you have heard about Mary Millington. One of the wonderful things about the film is that is provides a fantastic sense of time and place showing just how different things were in Britain.
I was captivated by Respectable: The Mary Millington Story and although it is currently available on Netflix, I would highly recommend you go out and buy the disc as it is packed with the following extras:
- Audio commentary by Simon Sheridan and Sam Dunn
- Respectable teaser trailer
- Original 1977 Come Play with Me trailer
- Party Pieces – short 1974 Mary Millington film
- Confessions from the David Sullivan Affair featurette
- Keep it Up, Sue Longhurst featurette
- Sex Talk with Ed Tudor-Pole featurette