Sexy, teenaged, immature Girly and her camera-wielding brother Sonny bring home unsuspecting men to Mumsy and Nanny, where they play games, and if they don't follow the rules, they're sent to the angels. One day they bring home a New Friend who has a few ideas for games of his own, though, and he begins to turn the foursome against each other.
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Originally titled "Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly", the title was shortened to just "Girly", appropriate since Girly is the main character. It is definitely a product of its times. Imagine mixing "The Beguiled" with the television shows "The Avengers" and "The Prisoner". Francis was primarily a television director.
Like those shows, much of the humor comes from presenting extreme characters and situations as if there they are nothing exceptional. In this case a nutty family of four (insert original title here) which includes a brother and sister far to old for their school uniforms.
Vanessa Howard plays the title character with a lot of sizzle and will remind viewers of Tisha Sterling, especially Sterling's portrayal of Ma Parker's daughter Legs on the Batman television show. She has a lot of fun with this role alternating instantly between playful child, coquettish flirt, and violent psychopath. Howard is a genuinely fine actress, although in "Girly" her short skirts and provocative scripting make it hard to concentrate on her acting skills.
This happy family lives on a large estate just outside London and amuse themselves by luring men there to serve as the children's playmates in various games supervised by Mumsy (Ursula Howells) and Nanny (Pat Heywood). When these new friends outlive their usefulness they are dispatched in novel ways and "sent to the angels". The last new friend believes himself a murderer and in time actually wants to become part the family, or anything else involving Girly. This sets things up for a cute twist at the end as Francis examines the fragility of sanity.
The best scene is a slick little seduction sequence around the pool table. As the new friend looks on Howard places a doll in each pocket and calmly circles the table, driving a ball into each doll's face. At the same time she keeps up a monologue about the punishment her playmate will receive if he should try to leave. Very cool.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
It's not streaming free anywhere, and though one of Austin's indie video stores has it in stock, I wouldn't count on finding it anywhere if you don't live in a big city with active weird subcultures. So buy it! It's pretty cheap really, cheaper than a non-matinee movie ticket most places, and I've watched it three times so far. It is fascinatingly, beautifully bizarre. It's deranged, but not chaotic or incoherent - in fact it's a well-structured/crafted story with a lot going on under its cheerfully murderous surface. I'm scouring the internet trying to find a copy of the play it was based on, but it's incredibly rare, it seems.