Entertaining Mr Sloane (film)
|Entertaining Mr Sloane|
|Directed by||Douglas Hickox|
|Produced by||Douglas Kentish|
|Written by||Clive Exton|
|Based on||play by Joe Orton|
|Music by||Georgie Fame|
|Edited by||John Trumper|
Canterbury Film Productions
Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors Ltd.|
Entertaining Mr Sloane is a 1970 British black comedy film directed by Douglas Hickox. The screenplay by Clive Exton is based on the 1964 play of the same title by Joe Orton. This was the second adaptation of the play, the first having been developed for British television and telecast by ITV on 15 July 1968.
Murder, homosexuality, nymphomania, and sadism are among the themes of this black comedy focusing on a brother and sister who become involved with a young, sexy, amoral drifter with a mysterious past.
Kath is a lonely middle-aged woman living in the London suburbs with her ageing father Kemp, referred to as "DaDa". When she meets the Mr. Sloane sunbathing on a tombstone in the cemetery near her home, she invites him to become a lodger. Soon after he accepts her offer, Kath seduces him. Her closeted brother Ed makes him the chauffeur, complete with a tight leather uniform, of his pink 1959 Pontiac Parisienne convertible. Kemp, recognizes Mr. Sloane as the man who killed his boss years before, and stabs him in the leg with a gardening tool.
Mr. Sloane takes delight in playing brother against sister and tormenting the elderly man. He gets Kath pregnant and a jealous Ed warns him to stay away from her. When Mr. Sloane murders Kemp to protect his secret, they blackmail him by threatening to report him to the police, unless he agrees to participate in a ménage à trois in which he becomes not only a sexual partner but their prisoner as well.
Douglas Hickox was a TV director who wanted to get into feature films. He discovered the rights to the play were available and set up a company with Doug Kentish from Illustra. They spent two years trying to raise finance. Hickox admitted "Orton is not a subject I would have picked" normally but "it was my opportunity." 
The 1959 Pontiac Parisienne, registration number VYP 74, used to belong to original Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett, and was in pretty poor shape. Photographer Mick Rock, who did famous shots of the musician with his car, remembers: "If I recall correctly, it was a Pontiac Parisienne, a push-button convertible, and it was pink. Mickey Finn, who became the bongo-player for T. Rex, had picked it up at an auction, and Syd had swopped his Mini for it. But he didn’t have a clue how to drive this massive American car, and it basically didn’t work anyway. You can see the back wheel is a bit wonky. Eventually, it got towed. It was autumn 1969…"  The car had been repainted dark blue by either Finn or Barrett, but for the sake of the movie it was painted bright pink again, and given extra accessories like chrome front lights, but a close look shows it was more of a cover-up job than an actual restoration. It is unclear how the car ended up in the movie, but obviously it never had been towed away and was ready when the filming began in August…
The film was shot on location at Brockley, at East Dulwich, and at the lodge in Camberwell Old Cemetery in Honor Oak. The crew asked for dressing rooms at Marmora Road, opposite the cemetery, but Reid refused to "lower herself" to use an ordinary house as her dressing room, So a caravan had to be especially arranged for her and parked in the street outside.
Roger Greenspun of The New York Times observed, "I think that the play's real interest lies precisely in its grotesque avoidance of the depths with which the movie is so vividly familiar. But in most of its particulars the film succeeds—with a superb cast, Douglas Hickox's inventive and generally restrained direction, and a screenplay by Clive Exton that . . . opens up the action mainly to enlarge the characterization of Ed, a real virtue if only for allowing more time and scope to the wonderful Harry Andrews. To a degree the drama has been realized on film . . . and this seems worth the effort and the occasional misdirections, and the nervous discomfort that is likely to be an audience's most immediate response."
Time Out thought the original play "loses much of its savoury charm in this movie version. Clive Exton's script opens out the play conventionally, to little effect, and Hickox's direction shows little flair for farce in general or Orton in particular."