Thursday, 3 January 2013


Anyone who’s into camp knows that this next focused film, THE WORLD IS FULL OF MARRIED MEN, is based on Jackie Collins’ first novel of the same name. If it’s all new to you, don’t despair. You’ll get there. Just follow this blog for an easier access. As I was saying, THE WORLD IS FULL OF MARRIED MEN is Collins’ other screen adaptation for which she wrote the screenplay (after THE STUD, another contender for Sleaze Factor). It stars Carroll Baker and the late Anthony Franciosa, two well-known faces at the time. The title song is sung onscreen by a young Bonnie Tyler (Total Eclipse of The Heart). The year is 1979 but I am totally unaware of this flick. In fact, I don’t even know who Jackie Collins is. It’ll be another four years before I discover her and her talent. In the meantime I try to survive as a gay teen. It does get better but this feeling of inner peace takes an awful time to arrive. So I read a lot. Fast forward to 1998 when I finally get a hold of Collins’ film on VHS and watch it. Suffice to say, I’m far from being disappointed.

As in the book, THE WORLD IS FULL OF MARRIED MEN centers around a housewife whose marital problems force her to take in a lover. Her husband, a master philanderer himself, just can’t accept his wife doing the same. When he’s kicked to the curb by his latest conquest, a manipulative sexpot who has no time for impotent middle-aged men, all hell breaks loose. Collins is as finely tuned as a screenwriter as she is as a novelist. Her dialogue is punched up by a string of exciting if sometimes silly situations that are as effective as they are in the book. You can feel she has a ball juggling the hectic lives of her over-the-top characters. Though Baker and Franciosa are more than fine in the lead roles, it’s newcomer Sherrie Lee Cronn who steals the film as Claudia (whatever happened to her, anyway?). Her turn as the devious vamp takes THE WORLD IS FULL OF MARRIED MEN to a higher degree of sleaze and makes it even more a must-see.

As far as the novel is concerned, I dove right into it after finishing up the glorious HOLLYWOOD WIVES in 1983. The Powers That Be at Simon & Schuster were already cashing in on the success of Collins by reprinting some of her backlist in mass market paperbacks and THE WORLD IS FULL OF MARRIED MEN was one of them. The cover showcases the same glamour pose of some jeweled woman dressed to the nines (as you can see at the bottom of the text). The story itself, however, is a shorter one (with a bigger typeset) but the Collins style is as evident, focusing on a feisty heroine grasping for a complete control of her destiny. The plot not only takes you into the world of the music business but also centers around the workings of the advertisement agencies. It’s always fun to dig into those when the author knows what she or he talks about, and Collins is an ace at that, just as she is in writing effective sex scenes; and they are aplenty believe me, even for a 1968 novel. Of course, one thinks of Jacqueline  Susann when dwelling into that era. How can you not? Both have the same style, both have show business in their blood. Both became queens of roman à clef. Collins’ heroines are stronger types however, which puts her a notch over Susann, but both authors deserve their rightful spots.

I so wanted to catch the movie adaptation after finishing this one up. I couldn’t even believe it ever existed. But there it was one day on eBay, for all the world to see, and at a decent price, no less. I still own it as we speak. I’m now waiting for the Region 1 DVD release which should occur at any moment. Well, that’s how I'd like to think of it even though nothing has been confirmed yet. It’s already out in the UK, so I don’t see why it can’t ever cross the Atlantic, right? RIGHT?!!!

Until next post—Martin


John Nail said...

Glad you reviewed these. I remember my excitement at discovering, in the mid-2000s, that the movie existed and considering myself blessed when I discovered a cheap VHS copy on eBay. Carroll Baker was my main reason for seeking it out (I have a weakness for Carroll's tawdry '70s filmography). I didn't find The World is Full of Married Men quite as fun as The Stud or The Bitch, but it still delivered enough camp thrills to keep me happy. Anthony Franciosa deserved a special award for uttering the line, "You little minx!" without apparent irony. I also loved the finale, when Carroll is attending the stodgiest rock concert ever (mitigating factor: the music is only marginally better than the tunes in Pod People) and says the music makes her feel young, and yet she looks her most matronly. Seriously, who goes to a rock concert with helmet hair and wrapped in a fur coat? Maybe it was supposed to be a Conservative Party fundraiser. Personally, I thought Sherrie Lee Cronn gave the weakest performance in the movie (bluntly put, I didn't think she could act her way out of a paper bag), though that kind of adds to TWIFMM's tacky charm. One final thing: I first became aware of the song "The World is Full of Married Men" when Bette Midler recorded it for her Thighs & Whispers album, and wasn't aware it was a theme song for this movie. I can't say who did a better job of it, Bonnie Tyler or Bette, though I think Bette's is a little livelier, and disco af.

Haven't read the source novel. Though I've enjoyed many a Jackie Collins novel, I'm more of a Harold Robbins fan. I may check it out eventually. Anyway, thanks for the review and once again indulging my trash nostalgia.

Authorfan said...

Always a thrill to read a fellow trash lover comment. I wasn't aware that the divine Miss M did a rendition of the Tyler song. I might have to check this out ASAP. You Tube a-calling.