Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Twin sisters have children on the same day, one a boy and one a girl. The boy's mother dies young and both cousins are raised by the girl's mother. Separated in their teens when the girl goes off to school, they are reunited in their early 20s. The boy (Hywell Bennett) clearly has a thing for the girl (Jane Asher) and sublimates it by, while on a picnic in the English countryside, declaring his intention to "pimp" her to some appropriate man, and he has success with the first man they meet, a hunky and handsome Swede (Sven-Bertil Taube, pictured with Asher) who makes quite an impression by skinnydipping in the river. Sven returns the favor by getting Hywell a woman, American Leigh Taylor-Young. Hywell and Leigh get it on right away, but when they rent a house in Spain for a 2-week getaway, Jane doesn’t seem quite ready to lose her virginity to Sven. Eventually, she gives in (and Jane catches cousin Hywell spying on some of their trysts) but Leigh, who has been around the block a couple times, picks up on to the incest vibe between the cousins and has a brief affair with Sven. The four head back to the city and live together in Hywell's flat, then rent a countryside vacation house near Clive Revill, Leigh's rich, middle-aged former lover. The vaguely unsettled feeling amongst the four comes to a head when Leigh announces her pregnancy—the father could be Hywell, Sven or Clive. Sven marries her and they go off to Sweden. When the four reunite a year later, tragedy occurs when Leigh's baby dies while left unattended on a rocky beach (while Leigh and Hywell have sex). Leigh goes a little crazy and strips naked on a disco floor. Clive re-enters the scene, and Hywell and Jane finally seem ready to face their feelings for each other—or are they?

On this plus side, this has sumptuous colorful cinematography; on the minus side is most everything else. Really, it's not a terrible movie, but given the era and the free-love-meets-incest plotline, it should have been more interesting (or at least had more nudity). All four main characters are sorely underdeveloped. Bennett (at right) and Asher have some chemistry, but remain curiously bland figures. Taylor-Young gives a flat-out bad performance, part of the problem being that her character remains a total (and totally boring) cipher. Taube gets to show off some chest now and again, and he's the most sympathetic person in sight, but even he's not compelling enough to keep the viewer hooked on the soap opera antics of the young and overprivileged of the late 60s. The title comes from a chain of flowers that Asher makes and gives to Taube during the picnic and which is never referenced again. Chain of Fools might have made a better title. [DVD]

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