Pacific Banana (1981)

I've got Australian Sexploitation on the brain, my little Girls and Ghouls, so please bear with me. This one's from 1981, but it's so close to the look, feel and vibe of the seventies that I tend to lump it in with that schtick. It's a mixed bag of fruit, but as I say with most of my reviews for this collection, they just don't make them like this anymore. Well, not that I know of, anyway. It features actor Graeme Blundell in it, famous for his role as Alvin Purple, the man supposedly irresistable to women in the sex comedy of the same name. I haven't seen that one just yet, so can't really compare the two at this point. Here's the lowdown on the Banana.

As we find out from our wisecracking, unseen narrator, Blundell plays Martin, a bumbling pilot who works for airlines magnate Sir Harry Blandings (Alan Hopgood). On one of his flights, the middle-aged Lady Blandings (Audine Leith) is a passenger, and tries to seduce poor old Martin. As a result of the trauma, Martin has an erection problem (which is signified constantly throughout the film by a half-empty, deflated wind-sock) which enrages Lady Blandings, who after being caught by her cuckolded husband, demands that he be fired. Harry agrees to do this, but once his wife is out of sight, he admits to Martin that he knows the ways of his wife all too well. He then just demotes him to working on his low-rent "Banana Airlines". Martin meets his co-pilot Paul (Robin Stuart), a randy, oversexed stud who is sleeping around behind the backs of his two fiancees, Sally (Deborah Gray) and Mandy (Alyson Best). What a man, eh? Sally and Mandy also work as air hostesses, in very revealing uniforms, on Banana Airlines. Soon, Paul finds out about Martin's problem and decides he needs to help. In fact, all the passengers find out as the intercom has been switched on throughout Martin's confession. Ever since both Lady Blandings and the older Blandings Girl had tried to seduce him, he couldn't perform with anyone. He just sneezes, and it's all over. The youngest Blandings girl, Julia (Helen Hemingway), whom we first meet dressed in a schoolgirl uniform, - she looks about thirty to me and is referred to by our narrator as "mutton dressed as lamb" - also has an infatuation for Martin, and continually runs away from home and stows away on his and Paul's flights. Of course, they continually send her home, but she escapes time and time again.

They drop their "horny" passengers, including the token, ultra-camp gay man who has the hots for Paul, on a Caribbean island and stay for a while. Paul sends Martin to "The House of Joy" and is given an exotic woman, but of course, his problem is not so easily overcome, and let's just say he "sneezes". Sally and Mandy have a system where they take turns with Paul, and that night, to Mandy's frustration, it's the blonde Sally's turn. Nonetheless, Paul also has an Island lover whom Mandy and Sally are trying to find out about, but he constantly outwits them, and this time with Martin's help. Later, Paul and Martin take the busty Candy (Luan Peters) and her passengers, who are en-route to Club Candy in the Caribbean again. Somehow, a pie-fight erupts amonst the crew and passengers. This film certainly has everything, folks! Of course, Julia tries to stow away, and is sent packing yet again.

Candy takes pity on Martin, and sends her Club Candy girls over to him. First, a nude body-painting session fails to arouse him. Later, when they return from another flight to Club Candy, Candy tries again. One by one, the girls try to seduce him - one of them dressed as a cat-creature, one as a Chinese princess, one in the bath, two girls at once. All fail, so Candy decides to try "The Ritual of the Sleeping Giant" - a sexy dance where the voluptuous Luan Peters shows Martin her breasts to a pounding native beat. A very well-done volcano erupts, the natives are all influenced to have sex, but, wouldn't you know it, poor Martin sneezes again. The wind-sock goes limp. Candy faints in amazement at her failure.

Paul liaises with his Island lover again, but her family, as well as Mandy and Sally discover them and give Benny-Hill style sped-up chase. Paul is saved from the irate natives by Mandy and Sally, who will only protect him if he becomes their private slave. Julia reappears and gives comical chase to Martin, the both of them on bicycles. Of course, people fall off bridges and off bikes as the chase proceeds. Martin crashes and Julia crashes on top of him, admitting her undying love. Poor old suffering Martin is touched, and they have sex amongst a pile of crates and chickens. Martin is cured by true love! The curse of the Blandings is over, and we know this because a rooster crows.

So, it all sounds amusing, but is it any good? I did have quite a lot of fun with this one. Some of the sex and impotence jokes are so cringe-worthy, they, well, make you cringe, but that's what makes these movies what they are. The quips are constant too, whether from any number of the female cast, or from Paul or the Narrator, whom I have no idea of who was doing the voice. I made a reference to Benny Hill, and that's what this film reminds me of, a cross between a Benny Hill television show, and something made by Russ Meyer. There's oodles of couplings, I haven't even bothered to work those into my plot summary. Plenty of naked flesh on display, but no real sex scenes, unlike a sex-filled film such as Fantasm. Still, I have no real complaints on the sleaze-factor! Everyone does their best and most of the cast seem to be having fun. Graeme Blundell does his best shaggy-dog-please-love-me look in most scenes. It's all crisply filmed and well-made, I was especially impressed with their erupting volcano scene! Nice model work. Of course, there's a breathily-sung "Pacific Banana" theme song that will stay on your mind for all time, once heard.

To sum up, I'd like to add Pacific Banana to the pantheon of classic Sexploitation-comedy. When all is said and done, it's a feel good movie, and all the characters have a sort-of happy ending in store for them. Just switch your brain off when you press play, and let it wash over you with its silliness. You'll be singing that theme song for weeks, I promise.

"You've got a lazy Pacific Ba-na-naaa ..."

© Boris "The Antipodean Adonis" Lugosi 2005.


Review written: 06/27/2005 21:36:40