Wish You Were Here 1.0 stars

Writer-director David Leland reportedly based his story here on the early years of Britain's notorious madam, Cynthia Payne (the time-setting is 1951), after he had already written a screenplay on her prime years, Personal Services. And for certain you can find traces in it of Happy Hooker-type bragging. The pseudonymous character in any case is one of those you're much better off meeting on screen than in life: the blithe rebel who knows no social constraint (her prime weapon is the dirty word, with a glimpse of her knickers in ready reserve). Sixteen-year-old Emily Lloyd softens the blows considerably, however, and she didn't need the intermittent heart-tuggings to do so. There's something not quite right about most of her facial features, and yet the overall effect is pleasing (or as someone in the movie puts it, "You're funny but you're pretty"), and her youthful bravado is altogether credible. The characters around her are a bit dim in comparison, and not just because of Lloyd's luminosity. With Tom Bell. 1987.

Duncan Shepherd

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