Adventures of a Private Eye (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Powerhouse Films
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (16th April 2022).
The Film

Once dubbed the ‘King of Sexploitation’ by the tabloid press, Stanley Long was the godfather of the British sex film. Starting out with 8mm striptease reels in the 1950s before moving into nudist documentaries, Long went on to produce and direct a string of extremely popular X-rated movies which told tales of wife swapping, groupies and other saucy goings on. He reached the pinnacle of commercial success with this trio of incredibly successful ‘on the job’ sex comedies.

Adventures of a Taxi Driver, starring sitcom actor Barry Evans, set the template with the antics of a cabbie who ‘gets more than his fare share’. Securing international distribution – as well as becoming the most successful comedy at the British box office in 1976 – it prompted two sequels, each featuring more of the same but with a different lead actor (future hit-record producer Christopher Neil).

Boasting supporting casts which burst with top-tier British acting talent – including Harry H Corbett (Steptoe and Son), Diana Dors (Berserk), Judy Geeson (Inseminoid), Suzy Kendall (To Sir, with Love), future musical theatre sensation Elaine Paige, and former Doctor Who Jon Pertwee – the Adventures series represents British popular filmmaking at its most unashamedly cheeky.


These final two cheeky chappie sex comedies have a more polished air and are fine examples of the form. A type of sex film that's peculiarly British. Whilst porno chic was all the rage in the USA where hardcore romps like Deep Throat (1972) were raking in the bucks and the French had Emmanuelle (1974) and soft focus sophistry. In Blighty we were making sexed up softcore Carry On style comedies. A much maligned genre which has only had more analysis in the last quarter century. For a time in the '80s they were seen as resolutely unfunny, unsexy and unentertaining. Apparently there are still naysayers with this Powerhouse Films boxed set getting some flak before release.

I'm no fan of the genre personally, but I do embrace the idea of this much maligned aub genre getting the deluxe treatment. These films are all rather fluffy and innocent when set aside the hardcore epics and the much more explicit European softcore soirées.

This is part two of my technical review covering the second and third segments of Long's Adventures trilogy which were shot on 35mm film. The first had been a 16mm production and the 1981 straight to video fix up film The Best of the Adventures had been assembled on video in standard definition.

The colour palette for these two 35mm is a notch or two more vibrant when set against the grainier, softer Adventures of a Taxi Driver. It's essentially the same with pinkish flesh tones but with a more ruddy quality. Primaries are richer and with less bleed at the edges. It's all down to the superior definition of 35mm and grain is better resolved. Black levels and contrast are more full bodied with no signs of unintended crush and detail is pleasing across all focal planes.

The encode is typically superb and the two films under discussion look very filmic with a pleasing veil of grain across every shot, finer in well lit exteriors, courser in darker less well lit scenes. Taxi .driver was apparently shit in 16mm because it was cheaper, but lso because it ensured that the smaller cameras could get inside the taxis. 35mm makes these silly films look slicker. Image is about as good as these films can be shy of a 4K UHD BD release ('A').

1080p24 / AVC MPEG-4 / BD50 / 1.85:1 / 96:38, 88:33


English LPCM 1.0 (48kHz)
Subtitles: English HoH

Both features on these BDs have very decent, uncompressed versions of the limited 1.0 tracks heard in cinemas with no signs of audio damage or age related wear and tear. There is some very mild hiss but that's to be expected given the nature of the tracks under discussion which are very low budget 1.0 tracks that remains front and centre with little LFE boost. There's some mild distortion as you increase the volume to extreme levels but no one in their right mind is going to play a simple mono track at maximum volume Hard of hearing subs are present and correct for both films ('B+').


Audio commentary by Stanley Long (2008)

I've seen, met and had a group dinner with Long and he was a great raconteur on that occasion (a fantasy film festival at the Bradford Media Museum circa 2010 and dinner at Omar Khan's with several others). Both of the 2008 commentaries are excellent and packed with a huge mount of detail about the subjects under discussion and were done for the 2008 three DVD set from Icon films. They focus specifically on the two 35mm films so work in much more detail about those rather than his overall career which is covered with greater detail in the BEHP material, see below. The three 2008 tracks provide an excellent audio companion to the films and fans will not be disappointed. Presented in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

"The British Entertainment History Project (BHEP): Interview with Stanley Long, Part Two - 1963-1970 Conducted by Denis Gifford and Emmanuel Yospa on 24 and 26 November 1999" plays as an alternate audio track over Adventures of a Private Eye (91:39)
"The British Entertainment History Project (BHEP): Interview with Stanley Long, Part Three - 1970-1999 Conducted by Denis Gifford and Emmanuel Yospa on 26 November 1999" plays as an alternate audio track over Adventures of a Plumber's Mate (74:32)

The first part of this older recording covered his early life and career up to the early '60s - see the first part of this technical review that covered disc one (Adventures of a Taxi Driver, The Best of the Adventures). On discs two (Adventures of a Private Eye) and three (Adventures of a Plumber's Mate) we have the remainder. The second part covers 1963-70 and the third 1970-99. These are very chatty and filled with detail that essentially work as a history of the X-rated (latterly 18 certificate) film business in the UK. But Long worked as a cinematographer on some classic films like Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965), Vernon Sewell's The Blood Beast Terror and Michael Reeves' The Sorcerers (both 1967) and would also produce / co-write and co-direct a horror film, the straight to video Screamtime (1983), which recycled three theatrically released horror shorts that had played in theatres. All of this is covered in some detail along with his numerous other credits in the sexploitation arena.

"Stanley by Simon" 2022 featurette (18:53)
"Dear Prudence" 2022 featurette (14:02)

A couple of newly produced short pieces from Simon Sheridan, author of Keeping the British End Up (2001) and X-Rated: Adventures of an Exploitation Filmmaker (2012). In the first e discusses his friendship and professional working relationship with Stanley Long. The second focuses on actress Prudence Drage who spent many of her film roles in sexy attire or without attire at all. She's a character and a half. Both are presented in 1080p24 1.78:1 with uncompressed 2.0 stereo sound.

Adventures of a Private Eye: Super 8 Version (16:00)

When compared to the restored main version of the film this looks shagged out. Colours are quite strong if overly warm. Highlights are blown out, blacks are crushed and detail is weak. Presented in 1080p24 1.37:1 open matte with uncompressed 2.0 48kHz sound.

Adventures of a Private Eye: Theatrical Trailer (2:52)
Adventures of a Plumber's Mate: Theatrical Trailer (2:09)

Vintage promos presented in 1080p24 1.37:1 open matte with uncompressed 2.0 mono 48kHz sound.

Adventures of a Private Eye Image Gallery: Original Promotional Material (31 images)
Adventures of a Plumber's Mate Image Gallery: Original Promotional Gallery (23 images)

Solid HD image galleries.

"Can You Keep it Up with This, That and the Other for a Week?" 2004 short film by Jan Manthey (with optional commentary by Jan & Diana Manthey and Vic Pratt) (SD) (15:38)
"The Adventures of a Plumber in Outer Space" 2008 short film by Jan Manthey (with optional commentary by Jan & Diana Manthey and Vic Pratt) (44:34)

Two cheeky, nudity-free, sex-filled homages to the Stanley Long trilogy featuring Vic Pratt of the BFI. Shot on home video and presented in standard definition 1.33:1 with uncompressed 2.0 mono 48kHz sound. Both feature commentary from the filmmakers and star who reminisce and make plenty of humorous asides about the films and their making. Image is as you'd expect and fairly soft.

Can You Keep it Up with This, That and the Other for a Week? Image Gallery: Original Promotional Material (25 images)
The Adventures of a Plumber in Outer Space Image Gallery: Original Promotional Material (92 images)

Extensive HD galleries with much strong image quality than the features they commemorate ... unsurprisingly!

80-page liner notes book with a new essay by Simon Sheridan, archival interviews with Stanley Long and actor-composer Christopher Neil, a letter from the producers complaining about the Adventures films’ treatment in the British press, newspaper articles, a look at the three films’ novelisations, an overview of contemporary critical responses, Manthey on his short films, and film credits

Extensive hard copy companion to Stanley Long's trilogy of cheeky cult classics offering plenty of analysis and contextual added value.


Unspecified at this time.


An exemplary package that brings Stanley Long's beloved cult comedy items together with optimal image and sound, corralling the old 2008 commentaries and the 1999 BEHP interview under one roof. We also have some choice other pieces. Speaking personally, a package where the extras are more interesting than the features but I'm sure that there will be lots of happy British sex comedy junkies who'll be cracking open some tinnies and ordering in some pizza this Friday to indulge in a marathon view! Highly recommended.

The Film: C+ Video: A Audio: A- Extras: A+ Overall: A


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