Moore Not Less - Sunday Lovers
Lovers is another one of those films featuring Roger Moore that has
largely been forgotten. This is a four segment anthology, released in
1980, revolving around love and sex with four different directors
involved. I have never encountered this film on television in my life
and it seems to be very obscure - despite the presence of some big
names like Roger and Gene Wilder.
Lovers seems somewhat reminiscent of Woody Allen's Everything You
Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask) and even has a
few actors from that film (Gene Wilder, Lynn Redgrave). Unfortunately,
Sunday Lovers doesn't have Woody Allen's wit or comic flair and is a
forgettable if not entirely uninteresting exercise.
if his autobiography is anything to go by, seems to quite like his
contribution to Sunday Lovers although he admits that the film never
found an audience and didn't really click on the whole. I suspect that
the appeal of this film for Roger was working with his friend Bryan
Forbes (who directed Roger's segment) and the fact that it would be a
quick and fairly easy thing to shoot compared to a Bond film. There was
certainly no danger of Roger getting his bottom set on fire by Karl
Stromberg making this film.
stars in the first segment - entitled An Englishman's Home. Each of the
four stories are set in a different country and we kick off with this
British caper. Roger is Harry Lindon, a randy chauffeur for a Lord who
lives in an Alan Clark type castle. Harry's regular wheeze is to wait
until his boss is out of the country on business and then pose as the
owner of the castle in order to impress and pick up airline hostesses.
The castle's butler Parker (Denholm Elliott) is in on the wheeze and
cooperates as long as Harry bungs him a few quid.
driving his Lordship to the airport, Harry picks up American airline
hostess Donna (Priscilla Barnes) and puts her up at the castle,
pretending to be the Lord of the Manor. Complications ensue though when
Lady Davina (Lynn Redgrave) unexpectedly turns up at the castle to
stay. Lady Davina has designs on Harry and now he must juggle two women
in the castle and somehow keep their presence a secret from each other.
An old-fashioned farce (predictably) plays out.
Englishman's Home is the closest you'll ever get to seeing Roger Moore
play Robin Askwith. He's a little on the old side to be believable as a
Jack the Lad chauffeur and his cockney accent is not completely
convincing but I quite enjoyed watching Roger as a somewhat different
type of character. To be fair to him he does give Harry a large dose of
weariness as if he knows he's been doing this for far too long.
fun to see Roger as a more amoral, sleazy type of character but An
Englishman's Home is never especially funny and descends into a
derivative comic farce with Harry dining both ladies in separate rooms
and switching between the two by way of Parker pretending he is needed
on the phone. Harry is also dog tired and constantly falling asleep and
they try their best to get some jokes out of this with him guzzling
vitamins and trying to stave off the attentions of his suitors.
is much more believable posing as the Lord of the Manor than he is
playing a chauffeur and you never quite swallow the usually excellent
Denholm Elliott as the crooked butler either. Elliott was an incredibly
watchable actor but he seems bored by this.
best performance comes from Lynn Redgrave as the crafty Lady Davina.
Redgrave makes her a shallow Sloane Ranger type. Bored aristocracy.
Priscilla Barnes (who Bond fans will recognise as the doomed Mrs Leiter
in 1989's Licence To Kill) is not given much to do at all as Donna. An
Englishman's Home is a modest farce but don't expect anything more than
segments in the film offer more complexity than the Bryan Forbes opener
with Roger but none threaten to make Sunday Lovers anything more than a
very average anthology. In The French Method, Lino Ventura is a French
businessman who gets into a scrape when trying to close a deal and has
to cope with a lecherous American business colleague looking for some
fun. This segment has some decent performances and is just about worth
Skippy, the American segment, the great Gene Wilder directs and plays a
man released from a sanatorium for the weekend. He meets a young woman
named Laurie (Kathleen Quinlan) but she's just as eccentric as he is.
This is a rather strange segment that goes to some strange places.
Wilder never quite seems to get a handle on what he wants to do with
this story and it seems like he's trying too hard with his performance
to mask this at times. Kathleen Quinlan is pretty good though.
last segment is Armando's Notebook. This features Ugo Tognazzi as a man
left at home alone for a few days who finds a book containing the
numbers of women he used to know. He phones them up to arrange meetings
but it doesn't quite go according to plan. This Italian segment is
decent enough and if all the stories had been as good as this, or even
The French Method, this could have been a very interesting little
compendium oddity. As it stands though Sunday Lovers is more of a
curiosity than a must watch.