Respectable: The Mary Millington Story full movie review - Compelling story of a fondly remembered sex star
This eminently watchable documentary is the story of Mary Millington, the porn star and glamour model who became a household name in 1970's Britain. The title comes from her quote: "I was born respectable, but I soon decided I wasn't going to let that spoil my life".
Through clips of Mary, including brief glimpses of her hard core loops, which seem playful, even innocent today, as well as interviews with family members, lovers, friends and colleagues, a fascinating story emerges. Though it was to end in tragedy, there's lots of fun along the way, not least when Dudley Sutton amusingly disses and dismisses Mary's arch enemy, self-appointed Filth-Fighter General, Mrs Whitehouse.
Mary married Bob Maxted when she was eighteen, and he remained her husband to the end of her life, though it was an open marriage from early on. The Sixties and Seventies were a time when the last vestiges of Victorian morality were breaking down, with their replacement by modern day taboos some way off. Stories of suburban swinging and the legendary 'wife swapping' parties were rife, TV programmes with sex scenes and partial nudity abounded, and for a time, newsagents and corner shops up and down the land were festooned with scores of different soft core sex magazines to an extent unimaginable today. Some of these were becoming increasingly explicit, particularly those owned by David Sullivan, and it was these that brought Mary her fame.
However, the UK authorities were adamant that they would not follow the rest of Europe in legitimising the sale of explicit porno films of the 'Deep Throat' variety. Mary was determined to confront them, and soon fell foul of the UK's notorious 'Obscene Publications Act' still in force today, which allowed the authorities to go after material they arbitrarily considered 'likely to deprave and corrupt'. Much police harassment and bullying followed and this, plus her increasing addiction to hard drugs and not least the depression which became worse after the death of her beloved mother, were major factors in her tragic death.
The film is a significant achievement by first time director, Simon Sheridan, Mary's biographer and long time champion, and is a 'must see' for anyone who wants to learn more about her life, and sex in the UK of the Seventies.