I read someplace that the Boulting Brothers' 1957 film of 'Lucky Jim' was originally to have starred Jonathan Miller ( it eventually was made with Ian Carmichael ). How true that is I do not know. It seems highly unlikely as Miller was virtually unknown until 'Beyond The Fringe' in 1960.
In 1970 the good doctor directed this - his only movie - an adaptation of another Kingsley Amis novel - 'Take A Girl Like You'. It stars Hayley Mills as the charmingly named 'Jenny Bunn', who moves to London to work as a teacher. She takes up lodgings with the Thompsons ( John Bird and Sheila Hancock ), an argumentative middle-aged couple. Alchoholic Mr.Thompson is the local Labour candidate, and expects Jenny to canvass for him.
No sooner has she moved in than Jenny meets Patrick ( Oliver Reed ), the boyfriend of her roommate. It is lust at first sight. He does not get very far though - she is a virgin, and intends staying that way until her wedding night. Another man would have given up on the spot, but Patrick embarks on a quest to get her into bed without actually marrying her...
As the book was written in the '50's, the story had to be updated, making Jenny's decision to remain chaste seem all the more bizarre, given the different moral climate of the era.
The late George Melly wrote the screenplay. Curiously enough, three years earlier, he wrote a movie called 'Smashing Time' which also began with a comely Northern lass ( two of them, in fact ) heading down South and finding it a sinful place. 'Take' is a different kettle of fish, free of the surreal comedy of that earlier picture. Miller's direction is functional rather than flash.
Reed gives a solid performance, virtually identical in fact to the one he gave in Michael Winner's 'The System'. Like 'Tinker', Patrick regards women as existing mainly for his amusement, arguing with Jenny that her attitudes to sex are outdated. Hayley Mills is suitably sexy as 'Jenny', though her decision to succumb at the end to the lures of Patrick's upper-class friend 'Julian' is a little hard to understand, especially as he seems an even bigger chauvinist. Noel Harrison ( son of Rex ) is excellent as 'Julian', whose life consists of drunken parties. He backs Thompson only because he wants him to cancel a project to build a new airport - one that would see his country home demolished. Unluckily for him, Thompson reneges on the promise ( politicians, eh? ). Lovely Aimi MacDonald is hilarious as dippy game-show hostess 'Wendy'. For me though the stand-out performance came from John Bird as the seedy 'Dick Thompson', a Labourite with more than a passing resemblance to Harold Wilson. Future 'Liver Bird' Nerys Hughes appears briefly as a teacher.
Patrick's pursuit of Jenny takes place against a background of country pubs, posh restaurants, and trendy flats. Surprisingly, they do not go anywhere near Carnaby Street. The film is nice to look at and there are some wonderfully funny moments, but the ending unfortunately spoils it.
In 2000, the B.B.C. remade the story, putting in all the things the film lacked, such as nudity and bad language.
Not a great movie then, but worth a look. For a true classic based on a Kingsley Amis book, check out 'Only Two Can Play' ( 1962 ) starring the great Peter Sellers.