Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Come Back Peter (1969)

Christopher Matthews' name came up in conversation over the weekend, during a discussion of Hammer's Scars of Dracula (1970), arguably the weakest of the studio's Dracula cycle of movies, (weaker even than Dracula AD 1972 (1972) - and that's saying something).  Matthews was one of those young British actors who enjoyed a brief spurt of fame in UK exploitation movies in the late sixties and early seventies.  But even by the time of Scars, his star was on the wane, his character vanishing before the half way mark, leaving Dennis Waterman as the principal male lead.  Only a few months earlier, he had played a far larger role in the AIP/Amicus co-production Scream and Scream Again, where had effectively played the romantic male lead (although he was still playing second fiddle to stars Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing).  After Scars, his career was confined to a supporting role in the thriller See No Evil (1971), before descending into a welter of TV guest roles (usually playing receptionists and similarly unnamed characters).

But before either the Dracula film and Scream and Scream Again, Matthews had played the lead in the British sex film, Come Back Peter (1969).  This was a pretty common career path for young British actors at the time, with some (like the aforementioned Dennis Waterman), building successful and lasting careers.  Many others, however, like Christopher Matthews, quickly faded away.  Usually this was because, although they had the looks, the actors chosen to play leads in these sorts of films lacked both acting ability and, more importantly, charisma.  Which was Matthews' problem - he was just too dull a leading man.  It didn't help that the sex film he appeared in wasn't really any great shakes either.  Whereas Robin Askwith, for instance, had made his early sex film appearances in films like Pete Walker's Cool it, Carol, which is quite stylish and reasonably witty,  Come Back Peter is a rather stodgier affair, featuring Matthews as an apparent lothario-about-swinging-London, who tools around in his E-Type, pulling birds.  (I'll spoil it for you: it is all a fantasy, he is really a delivery man for a butcher, driving around in his meat packed van).   It does feature the Collinson twins in their screen debut.

Come Back Peter's other claim to fame (or infamy, depending upon how you look at it), is that, following its original release, it was later re-released with additional hard core footage under the title Some Like It Sexy.  The new footage (shot much later), is notable for the fact that Matthews' stand in (seen only from behind in the sex scenes), has a notably hairier arse, giving the impression that he was shaving his backside between sexual encounters.  The addition of hard core footage, (more often than not for foreign release versions) wasn't uncommon in British sex movies of the era.  More often than not it would be shot by a distributor, months, sometimes years, after the original production and inevitably used stand ins and body doubles.  It was frequently much lower quality than the original footage, looking grainy and poorly lit.  So there you go - when was the last time that anyone has devoted that many words to the career of Christopher Matthews?  Let alone a relatively obscure late sixties sex movie like Come Back Peter/Some Like It Sexy?



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