Perfect Friday (1970)
Mike’s Take on Stanley Baker Movies …… Day 6
It’s a very dapper looking Stanley Baker this time out in bowler and the customary umbrella hooked over his arm as the tough guy plays it light. He’s cast as a banker with designs on the money kept inside the company vault and in order to get at it, he enlists a couple of fellow leading actors to make his dream of riches and retirement a reality.
Behind Peter Hall’s directing, this one is a bit unconventional in style with the plot being unveiled in flashback. Third in pecking order at the bank, Baker’s life is turned upside down when the gorgeous Ursula Andress walks into his office. She plays it sexy and cute in trying to acquire a loan and when Baker grants it, he realizes he’s been taken. She has no real need for the cash other than living in luxury with a sporty car and fancy clothes. Like me, Baker’s hooked by the exotic beauty and while she may be married to David Warner, that doesn’t worry Baker who makes a play for the first ever Bond girl and enlists the two of them in an inventive scheme to steal a fortune in English Pounds and flee the country.
Upon reviewing the story, their isn’t much to tell. It’s a rather clichéd story of close calls, clandestine meetings amongst our trio of thieves and tempers flaring when Warner doesn’t exactly adhere to the plan but the whole endeavor is undeniably enjoyable and the majority of the credit has to go to both Baker and Miss Andress. You find yourself with a rooting interest as both Baker and Warner plan to run off with Andress and leave the other partner penniless to face the music.
Baker playing against type proves he could handle something a bit stuffy that sees him slowly coming out of his shell in a comical slant and for Ursula? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her better than she is here. Hold on now! Just because she spends about a third of the film without a stitch of clothing on has nothing to do with this. She’s sexy, playful and far more devious than we have any right to expect. I guess in the end we might as well say it. Ursula Andress steals the picture.
Thankfully I watched the film before seeing an interview with Baker included in the bonus material on the blu ray edition for Robbery. I say this because he makes a few comments about working with Ursula on the film, After admitting to some initial misgivings over her casting thinking she was more the sex symbol than an actress, he appears to have truly enjoyed working with her and quickly came to respect her working ethic on set paying her multiple comments during the interview. He goes on to make light of the fact that when they met on set they promptly spent the next four days nude in bed on the set to film their playful sex scenes. He winks at the interviewers camera to let us in on the fact that he enjoyed his time during that part of the shoot.
I should say so!
Perhaps Perfect Friday is just another blip on the radar screen in the careers of all three leading actors and not as widely known as their more popular films but an enjoyable, spirited romp none the less and I’m thankful I had this one among others shipped in from the UK to add to my pile of Stanley Baker titles here on the shelf at Mike’s Take. If you can snag yourself a copy, I hope you like it much as I did and if you’ve yet to see it, I hope you take the time to seek it out.
This one is proof positive that good actors can lift a so so project to greater heights.