Eskimo Nell (film)
|Directed by||Martin Campbell|
Eskimo Nell, a.k.a. The Ballad of Eskimo Nell a.k.a. The Sexy Saga of Naughty Nell and Big Dick, is a 1975 British film directed by Martin Campbell and produced by Stanley Long. Though inspired by "The Ballad of Eskimo Nell", the movie owes little to the original bawdy song.
In Campbell's film, a writer, a producer and a director are hired by seedy erotic film producer Benny U. Murdoch (Roy Kinnear) to make a dirty movie based on the poem. However, they run into difficulty when each of the production's backers want a completely different style of film made. Then Murdoch makes off with the money, and the three have to produce four different versions of the movie to keep everybody happy - a gay Western, a hardcore porno, a family version and a Kung Fu-style production.
- Roy Kinnear as Benny U. Murdoch
- Anna Quayle as Reverend Mother
- Katy Manning as Hermione
- Christopher Timothy as Harris Tweedle
- Michael Armstrong as Dennis Morrison
- Terence Edmond as Clive Potter
- Rosalind Knight as Lady Longhorn
- Diane Langton as Gladys Armitage
- Richard Caldicot as Ambrose Cream
- Beth Porter as Billie Harris
- Christopher Biggins as Jeremy
- Gordon Tanner as Big Dick
- Jonathan Adams as Lord Coltwind
- Lloyd Lamble as The Bishop
- Christopher Neil as Brendan
- Nicholas Young as Deadeye Dick
- Mary Millington as Stripping Traffic Warden (uncredited)
Many of the film's characters are based on real personalities of the time, Lady Longhorn and Lord Coltwind — the backers of the wholesome family version — are thinly veiled caricatures of Mary Whitehouse and Lord Longford. While Benny U. Murdoch is loosely based on Tony Tenser, head of Tigon films. A more obscure figure the film ridicules is Louis “Deke” M. Heyward, the London representative of AIP (American International Pictures) who had previously clashed with the film's writer, Michael Armstrong. during the making of Armstrong’s directing debut, The Haunted House of Horror, in 1969. In Eskimo Nell, Heyward is parodied as “Big Dick”, a crass, foul-mouthed American producer from “A.W.P Films”, and the backer of the hardcore porno version. A similar character had previously appeared in Armstrong’s script for The Sex Thief in 1973.
A pre-fame Mary Millington, then just a jobbing actress/model using her married name Mary Maxted, has a small role in the film, playing a stripping traffic warden who auditions for a part in the film within a film. Although Millington appears only fleetingly (with her audition speeded up for comic effect), stills from her scene were used to publicize the film in the likes of Titbits and Cinema X magazine.
The film is not to be confused with Richard Franklin’s 1975 film The True Story of Eskimo Nell which was released in the UK as “Dick Down Under”. Campbell’s film was re-titled The Sexy Saga of Naughty Nell and Big Dick in Australia.
Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray
Eskimo Nell will be released in a 'special edition' DVD and Blu-ray on 26 January 2015, to celebrate its 40th anniversary (the film was originally released in London in January 1975). The new edition has been digitally re-mastered at Pinewood Studios and comes with several extra features including the original theatrical trailer (unseen since 1975), an audio commentary by the film's actor-writer Michael Armstrong and film historian Simon Sheridan, plus an extensive stills gallery and a newly re-mastered version of Mary Millington's short 1974 film Wild Lovers.
- Titbits (No. 4613, August 1–7, 1974, "Eskimo Nell"
- X-Rated - Adventures of an Exploitation Filmmaker by Simon Sheridan (Reynolds & Hearn books) 2008
- Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema by Simon Sheridan (Titan books) (fourth edition) 2011