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Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Babysitter (1969) Drama Sleaze

The Babysitter (1969) - This film came from the "Drive-In Cult Classics Vol 3" and is a sleazy little story of a man having a romantic relationship with the babysitter but it has a weird plot that is so much more than that, not quite a morality tale but certainly not the standard pulp either. The story centers around Babysitter Candy Wilson (Patricia Wymer) and the father of her charge George Maxwell (George E. Carey). George is married to Edith (Anne Bellamy) who plays the bitchy wife to perfection. Not meaning to create stereotypes here but the trope of "bitchy wife" in film is well establish and the character of Edith is written well for said trope. She is all about schedule and routine and constantly irritating in her pursuit to get George to do what she wants. Both sort of middle aged they have a small baby from a night of drunken love making that Edith now resents. (The love making without protection not the child.) They hire a baby sitter since there college aged daughter will not be home until the next day. This is the old days so the agency send candy a late teens early twenties hippie girl. George and Edith are portrayed as a couple going through the motions in what over the years has turned into a loveless marriage.
  Edith is trying to get out to socialize with local politicians and move her husband up the social status ladder. George is a District Attorney and she always wants more for him even though he seems happy with his job. He frankly is bored with his life, same old dinners and bridge nights, a wife who seems to nag constantly it is all getting old for him and he is prime for a dalliance.  So they hire Candy from a local agency to watch the little one. She is a relaxed hippie girl, doe eyed and innocent sounding when she is being shown around the house. When the couple leaves she immediately gets on the phone and invite a bunch of friends over to play music, smoke weed and dance in the basement playroom. It seems to be a groovy time with rock music by a full band and girls dancing around them. When the girls freed by the music remove their clothes you understand this is 1969 and didn't all the girls take their clothes off all the time? Okay this is some of the sleaze of this film and it is only the early return by the Maxwells that breaks the party up. Not while Edith heads to bed George is tasked to take Candy home. He sees the mess that the group made in the basement and it will ave to be a topic of conversation on the ride.
  Oh but does it turn there as Candy coolly lets it be known that the looks George is giving her are alright. In fact she just might be into exploring what it would be like to fool around with an older man. She very bluntly asks him about his relationship with his wife. They have some pretty cool banter about how the foods kids eat in 1969, tacos and hotdogs make them so cool and carefree; and George gets to ask. What are you some kind of hippie or something?
Candy says "I only know I want to laugh. I want to have fun. I want to feel things. I want to be free." George resists this first night but when Candy comes to his house the next day to swim in his pool all bets are off. They frolics topless and kiss leading to some afternoon lovemaking. Candy leaves the spent and sleeping man in his bed to be found by his wife who complains about him sleeping away the afternoon. So the initial deed is done and for George it is a refreshing change. The next two weeks will be repeated hook ups with the younger woman while also living the mundane events that make up his life with Edith. When with his wife we see through memory flashes that all he can do is think of Candy. The tension between he and his wife of course grows. He is only present in their life together but his mind is always on the hot young number he is seeing on the side.
  This is George's moral dilemma, he sees that the life he has is not the one he wants. He has broken his vows and experienced another relationship that is physical and fun and find himself torn between his obligations and his desires.  At this point it should be noted that this film is really not a fair representation of an affair. This film written by our lead actor is more of the ideal fantasy of an affair. George gets to play with a young beautiful woman but there are no expectations from this. Candy could be a sex doll for the number of requirements she has. She really just is having fun, sure she "digs" George but she will be able to walk away with no strings attached as soon as anyone finds out. The only consequences for her is having to find a new guy. This fantasy woman for George is a real flaw in the film, he never has to make the hard choices of two relationships with equal expectations. Candy is more the middle aged man's dream girl when it comes to infidelity which I suppose makes her so easy to get involved with. Still the lack of reality is clear and even when the shit hits the fan the consequences are strangely blunted.
  The secondary story has to do with George's job as the DA. He is on a high profile case where a biker is on trial for killing a woman. It was a brutal crime and there really is no doubt that he will be found guilty. In jail and awaiting trial, his girlfriend is desperate to find a way to get him out. Julie Freeman (Kathy Williams) knows George's daughter Joan (Sheri Jackson) from high school (or college?) and is going to blackmail him into throwing the case. How? By exposing a secret about Joan, that she is a lesbian. She gets in touch with Joan and comes to swim at the pool, the same day George and Candy have their first afternoon together. She intends to get pictures of Joan and her girlfriend in compromising positions, but never quite can get a good shot with her camera. When she pretends to leave the two girls leave the house and Candy arrives to find George. Julie stumbles upon them while looking out an upstairs window and now has the opportunity to get pictures of their afternoon.
  Those pictures compromise George's situation, he can be exposed at any moment. Julie insists that if he wants to keep his tryst secret he had better throw the case against her boyfriend. So what will George do, let a killer walk or let his affair become public? George being a product of the forties does the right thing and gets the conviction. The conclusion as mentioned earlier really leads toward this film being a immature fantasy instead of a morality tale. George finds out where Julie lives and Candy and her musician guys go there and rough Julie up until she gives up the negatives. So not only is the ideal lover without complication, she also solves any problems that might arise from her involvement. Unfortunately the photos from those negatives were already sent to George's boss, he comes in and his boss in true fantasy form lets him off the hook. He also suggests that George hurries home to intercept the postman so his wife never finds out. Really no work consequences at all? He get home and his wife is sitting at the dining room table looking at her set of photos. We see George's shoulders slump, defeat creeps into his face. His wife looks up and disappointment remarkably turns to understanding and she utters the one line that completely releases George from responsibility. "I guess we have been playing too much bridge." Wow, completely off the hook.
  So overall this is not a horrible film, sure the production values were pretty poor and the message of the plot is just awful. But it is also so much a reflection of the male psyche, the desire o be attractive and desired. The hope for that connection to an attractive younger woman. The fantasy that an affair could happen and there would be not consequences. Of course today there are websites like the website Ashley Madison where creating the hookup that George had, are just a few clicks away. Sure finding someone attractive and half your age might be a long shot on the site but the no strings attached affair is enabled online. This pre-Internet fantasy leaves the viewer a bit cheated though, it just is pulp if there are no consequences. The final shot with Candy dancing with a young guy show no ill effects for her either, she leans in and whispers to him, " I really dig you man." This film ends up being and hour and a half version of "No harm, No foul".
Rating (4.5) 5.0 and up are recommended, some more recommended than other.

1 comment:

  1. Candy is no hippie girl, AT ALL. Hippies didn't believe in violence. She certianly a violent criminal though who likes to party. My mother-in-law was like that, hung out with biker gangs in the late 60s and early 70s who was at Laconia in '65 during the biker riot. Girls like 'Candy' and my mother law only cared about one thing, 'fun'. fun as in getting high, getting into fights, dare devil antics and the like ... you DIG what I'm sayin'.

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