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RAYMOND HITCHCOCK
based on the screenplay by Sid Colin and Ian La Frenais
Percy's Progress


click to enlarge

Sphere, London, 1974
price: 35p; 128 pages


The blurb on the back:

Since the famous operation Percy had found you can have too much of a good thing. So he took to the sea. Alone.
Which was how he missed a dose of the drug that accidentally sterilised the male population.
Result: Percy was the only capable man alive.
It wasn't only the frustrated females who sought his services, but also the British Government. It wanted Percy to give the prizes in the Miss Conception International contest the world's answer to the falling birth rate.
He made seven countries very happy before things began to get on top of him again and he went into hiding. But the Government wanted its secret weapon back. And itís hard to hide from bevies of beautiful birds who only want a favour most men would be happy to give them.


opening lines:
Edwin Anthony opened one eye. The moon was high, perfectly round, white and, so far as he could see, empty.


Raymond Hitchcockís novel Percy, about a young man who loses his penis in a car crash and has a new one grafted on, became a hugely successful British movie in 1971, despite the fact that it really wasnít very good at all. It did however star the ever-wonderful Hywel Bennett, featured an impressive supporting cast, and benefited from a soundtrack by The Kinks, and it had a certain rude charm, at least in retrospect. The quality of the 1974 sequel can be judged by the fact that it replaced Bennett with Leigh Lawson, which doesnít exactly count as trading up (though he did later marry Twiggy), and replaced Ray Daviesí music with that of Tony Macauley.

Most bafflingly of all, the screenplay was written by Sid Colin and Ian La Frenais (of Up Pompeii and Porridge fame respectively), but Raymond Hitchcock was then brought in to do the book. So heís writing a novelization of a screenplay inspired by a novel he wrote earlier? Yep, thatís about the size of it.

I donít know how shocked youíre going to be by this, but the result is nothing for anyone to be proud of. And itís not helped that the plot about a virus rendering men impotent had already been done by Ian Rosse in The Droop a couple of years earlier.

One other thing: according to IMDb, Raymond Hitchcock was the father of the very, very wonderful Robin Hitchcock, my favourite British songwriter this side of David Bowie and Luke Haines. Is that right? Is that really the author of Percy on the cover of the Soft Boysí classic album Underwater Moonlight? 'He was white and she was white as only statues are...' - that's him? Cool.


ARTISTIC MERIT: 2/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
1/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
3/5


From the maker of...

There's a Girl in my Soup
Like this? Try this...

Ian Rosse, The Droop
acknowledgements:
my thanks to Mr John Flaxman
for donating this book

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