Friday, 19 October 2012



Some day a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets, but I'm not going south of the river at this time of night.... Obviously there's no comparison between Scorsese's dazzling cinematic art and this, which is neither dazzling nor artistic, and indeed is barely cinematic. For all the blimey-it's-him! guest stars off TV sitcoms, Stanley Long's shoddy righthander isn't remotely as funny as Taxi Driver, containing precisely zero laughs, zero funny lines and zero comedic flair, and for all the young ladies constantly besporting themselves and pointing their norks at the camera, it's not even as sexy. That's how awful this is: it's less erotic than Taxi Driver, and that's got a twelve-year-old prostitute in it. There's little in the world less phwoooarsome than Taxi Driver but Adventures Of A Taxi Driver achieves it.

If De Niro's Travis Bickle is "God's lonely man", then Barry Evans' Joe North is "God's absolute failure". North is a lovable roguish Lothario (or, if you're reading this in the 21st century, a despicable and charmless Cro-Magnon dick) who, as a London cabbie, keeps getting into saucy scrapes with comely ladies who get 'em out for this oaf before their husbands suddenly turn up unexpectedly. He's sort of reluctantly engaged to unhinged blonde Carol (Adrienne Posta) but that doesn't stop him getting his unremarkable end away with whoever's on offer, including Ingmar Bergman's daughter. Having started a number of plot threads - Carol, Joe's thieving teenage brother, a snake (used in stripper Judy Geeson's stage act) and an absurd kidnapping prank - the film brings them all together in the final reel with a jewellery robbery.

Brian Wilde, Ian Lavender, Liz Fraser and Stephen Lewis turn up, do their standard turn and are gone from the rest of the film, Henry McGee gets five minutes right at the end, and Robert Lindsay and Diana Dors are there as well. Mercifully, none of them get their clothes off (though Barry Evans does go full frontal at one point). For those moments, you can relax slightly as you're in the hands of someone who understands something of comedy and how to deliver a line, even a duff one. But then it's back to the boobs and the traditionally British cringing embarrassment - ooh, he's naked and there's a WPC! Now bring on an elderly nun! Artless, sordid, miserable, hateful; it's actually even worse than Adventures Of A Plumber's Mate. Solely for those who'll laugh at anything, and indeed for those who'll wank at anything.


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