Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released in September, 1969
Directed by Don Henderson
Written by James E. McLarty, from an original story by George E. Carey
Cast: Patricia Wymer, George E. Carey, Anne Bellamy, Kathy Williams, Robert Tessier, Ken Hooker, Ted C. Frank, James E. McLarty, Sheri Jackson, Warren Rose, Doris Rose, Charlie Messenger, Mary Messenger
What do you do if you’re a middle-aged actor who’s producing and co-writing a movie whose themes include infidelity and blackmail, and whose storyline features a motorcycle gang, lesbians, a drive-up taco stand, and an eager-to-please teenage babysitter who has a thing for older men? Well, obviously, you cast yourself as the older man, then write yourself a handful of swimming pool, bedroom, and secluded meadow scenes where you’re playfully at romp with the nubile young actress cast as the babysitter. You then call the film, of course, The Babysitter, and steer it towards the horndog drive-in crowd it was tailor-made for. And that’s exactly what actor George E. Carey did, and honestly, more power to him.
This early Crown International Pictures offering fooled me with an opening that screamed ‘outlaw biker film’ before switching a few gears and becoming a cross between a morality play and an exploitation film, and though The Babysitter was cheaply-made and had a tawdry air about it, I must admit that I was at least entertained by it all…or at least curious enough about the outcome to keep watching. An ‘agency’ sends cute blonde babysitter Candy to the home of bickering spouses George and Edith Maxwell, and soon enough George jettisons his excessively-shrill better half and finds peace and playtime with Candy, who shows him how to open up, have fun, and be free.
And eat tacos. And swim. And have plenty of sex. But I’ll give you three guesses who ruins this too-good-to-be-true set-up: yes, the biker gang from the opening sequence, who I’m sure everyone had forgotten about by now. One of their members is in jail, about to be handed the death penalty by deputy district attorney George, and that’s where our blackmail scheme kicks in. Will George cave in to the demands of the bikers and save his marriage, or will he stick with Candy and suffer the consequences?
Surprisingly, there were some aspects of this May-December romance that I found tolerable—mostly that Candy and George actually seemed to be digging each other for a while—and boosted the film a faint level higher than that of your typical drive-in fare. Carey did have a natural vibe about him, and offered up the best acting in the show (although Anne Bellamy should get some kudos for playing the neglectful wife to heartless, harpy-like perfection), but I have to say that Carey at times too closely resembled former Monday Night Football commentator Howard Cosell, which made for some comical scenarios from my side of the screening.
Technically speaking, there wasn’t all that much to rave about, but then again, I was watching a black-and-white PAL version of the product in full-screen, which might’ve done the directing and cinematography a slight injustice. And do you think ol’ Mr. Carey was done exploiting this gift horse of a film idea after its 1969 release? Oh, hell no…he came back in 1970 with Weekend with the Babysitter, another young-girl-hot-for-older-man story starring—who else?—George E. Carey. (4/10)