Rhythm & Blues

Executive producers, David Winters, Patrick Meehan.

Executive producers, David Winters, Patrick Meehan.

Directed by Stephen Lennhoff. Screenplay, Michael Jones. Camera (color), Fiona Cunningham Reid; editor, Patrick McDonnell; music, Michael Conn. Reviewed at Mr. Young’s preview theater, London, Sept. 27, 1999. (In Palm Springs Film Festival.) Running time: 95 MIN.

With: Angus McInnes, Ian Henderson, Paul Blackthorne, Gary Fairhall, Joe Hutton, Richard Ritchie, Phillipe Sartori, Sue Tilling, Simon Vale, Gary Lee, Tanya Green.

A self-styled “comic thriller” set in London’s gay male escort world, “Rhythm & Blues” is a lame low-budgeter by U.S.-born, British-based TV helmer Stephen Lennhoff that won’t get much farther than cast-and-crew screenings. Best part is the main title, with Michael Conn’s fake 007 music and Chris Hart’s Maurice Binder–like graphics raising expectations (rapidly dashed) of a slick spoof.

Lonesome John (Paul Blackthorne) is picked up in a park by Scottish skinhead druggie Byron (Ian Henderson) and intro’d to the Boys Galore escort agency, run by the queeny Mitzi (Gary Fairhall) and middle-aged Bethsheba (Sue Tilling). John is immediately hired by a rich, seedy Yank, Bad Daddy (Angus McInnes, in Orson Welles vein), who lives in baronial splendor with his French companion, Jean-Claude (Phillipe Sartori), and an ex-army officer (Richard Ritchie). Lurking somewhere is the Rent Boy Ripper, who’s been terrorizing the capital’s gay scene. Between the squirmingly unfunny dialogue and general “Hey! Let’s make a lavender movie” atmosphere, John spends an inordinate amount of time in the bath or being the butt of double entendres. Tech credits are lackluster, exaggerated perfs likewise.

Rhythm & Blues

(U.K.)

Production: An Equator Films presentation of a Life on Mars production. (International sales: Equator, London.) Produced by Hugh Bygott-Webb, Dominic Denny.

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