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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Steaming (1985)

A disparate group of women from different classes in society gather together at a rather shabby rundown Turkish bathhouse. They include a well off divorcee (Vanessa Redgrave), a high powered attorney (Sarah Miles), a topless dancer (Patti Love), a sheltered girl (Felicity Dean) and her mother (Brenda Bruce) as well as the bathhouse manager (Diana Dors). When they hear the news that the bathhouse is being shut down, they decide to do something about it. Based on the play by Nell Dunn that was a hit in London but flopped on Broadway, this was the final film of both the director Joseph Losey (THE SERVANT) and Diana Dors. I've not read the play but based on the movie version, I can understand why it tanked on Broadway. It's a dialog driven piece with the actresses in various states of undress but not even nudity can help when the dialog is this trivial. I don't think I've seen the great Vanessa Redgrave give a worse performance though she's not as bad as Patti Love's cacophonous character. By the time I was finally getting into it, the film only had 20 minutes to go before the end. Losey's direction seems limp so along with Redgrave's performance, I'll chalk it up to their lack of enthusiasm for the material though Dors manages to emerge unscathed in a rather touching performance.

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