Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane - Review


Posted by Craig Grobler on Google+ On Tuesday, April 09, 2013

entertaining mr sloaneEntertaining Mr Sloane is not typically the kind of film I would select for viewing but if travelling to the country of someone else's imagination won't break down barriers of consciousness and broaden horizons I don't know what will. Also it was part of Studio Canal's batch of re-releases that included must sees like Joseph Losey's The Servant and the outstanding Accident.

Rounding out Studio Canal's releases this week will be the DVD release of Entertaining Mr Sloane  the film version of Joe Orton's black comedy starring Harry Andrews and Beryl Reed, focusing on the brother and sister pairing who become involved and increasingly infatuated with the sexy young amoral drifter with a mysterious past. The DVD features a new extra of Joe Orton's last ever chat show appearance, recorded a few months before his tragic death.

entertaining mr sloane poster
Entertaining Mr Sloane Poster
Directed by Douglas Hickox the man behind films like; Theatre of Blood, Zulu Dawn, Brannigan and Blackout and adapted by Clive Exton from Joe Orton's wildly successful stage play - Entertaining Mr Sloane is a darkly satirical comedy/drama romp flying it sails very close to the edge of camp. With engaging performances from the leads supported by punchy dialogue, laden with barbs and witty entendres and Wolfgang Suschitzky's Cinematography is notably dynamic for the period and elevates the film past the soap operatic conventions of the day.

entertaining mr sloane Harry Andrews Peter McEnery Beryl Reid
Entertaining Mr Sloane Harry Andrews as Eddie, Peter McEnery as Mr. Sloane & Beryl Reid as Kath
Entertaining Mr Sloane is the story of an amoral man with a lust for life who gets more than he bargained for when he pushes his luck a little too far and poetic justice is delivered. The story plays out through four lead characters; the furtive Mr Sloane (Peter McEnery) himself,  batty Kath (Beryl Reid), her closeted brother Ed (Harry Andrews) and their ageing father or Dadda (Alan Webb).


entertaining mr sloane Harry Andrews Peter McEnery
Entertaining Mr Sloane Brother Ed Harry Andrews and Mr Sloane Peter McEnery discuss things over  Ed's Pink Pontiac
Dotty Kath spots Mr. Sloane in the cemetery and invites him to become a boarder. Despite the age difference, Sloane coyly plays along with her flirtations for his own benefit. Their fun seems over when Kath's brother Ed shows up, but the prim and proper gentleman also takes a shine to Sloane, hiring him as his chauffeur and taking particular interest in the young man's tight leather uniform. Kath and Ed's elderly father, however, develops a strong hatred of Sloane, and accuses to him of being involved in an old, unsolved murder.

Video: Entertaining Mr Sloane Clip - Mr Sloane meets Kath and steals his name

Entertaining Mr Sloane sometimes veers into camp territory but delivers chuckles especially from  brother Ed's keeping up appearances hypocrisy playing against Sloane ambivalent amorality and Sloane's darkly humorous torturing of the older and just lucid Dadda (Alan Webb) who play a game of cat and mouse as Dadda sees Sloane for what he is. Set in an old church with an adjoining a graveyard enhances the dark humour of this piece which captures the buttoned up and uptight British zeitgeist of the era. In another time Entertaining Mr Sloane would have been a delicious satire and  despite great performances from the leads, with changing moods and trends in fashion satire and sexuality it is dangerously close being dated and in need of a more relevant reinvention.

entertaining mr sloane Alan Webb Peter McEnery
Entertaining Mr Sloane Alan Webb as Dadda & Mr Sloane Peter McEnery fighting (Click to enlarge)
A deliciously dark and humorous story about manipulation and repressed sexuality from controversial playwright Joe Orton. An attractive young charmer by the name of Mr. Sloane weasels his way into the lives of a middle-aged brother and sister, while trying to disguise the truth about his unpleasant past. Sexual tension drives the plot from the very beginning, when the lonely Kath (Beryl Reid) spots Mr. Sloane (Peter McEnery) in a cemetery and invites him to become a boarder. Despite the age difference, Sloane coyly plays along with her flirtations for his own benefit. Their fun seems over when Kath's brother Ed (Harry Andrews) shows up, but the prim and proper gentleman also takes a shine to Sloane, hiring him as his chauffeur and taking particular interest in the young man's tight leather uniform. Kath and Ed's elderly father, however, develops a strong hatred of Sloane, and accuses to him of being involved in an old, unsolved murder.

DVD Extras:
- Trailer
- Joe Orton Interview on the Eamonn Andrews show (1967)

Entertaining Mr Sloane available on DVD from 8 April
Sloane, a handsome, sexy and completely amoral young man, joins Kath's household as a lodger and proceeds to manipulate her and her brother, Ed. He is recognized by Kemp (Dadda) as the

Director: Douglas Hickox
Writers: Clive Exton, Joe Orton
Stars: Beryl Reid, Harry Andrews, Peter McEnery

The Establishing Shot: JOE ORTON'S ENTERTAINING MR SLOANE - REVIEW


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