The Incredibly Bad Film Show: Passion Flower Hotel

The tone of this film is set in the very first shot, which is a close-up of a breast. Yes, this film is 100% sexploitation, right from the off, and doesn’t really let up, through a continuous series of shower scenes, shots of school-girls in their nighties and sundry other gratuitous pieces of nudity until the end, when we finally get our reward for sitting through it all in the extremely droolworthy form of an unclothed, 16 year old, Nastassja Kinski.

In the first scene, we have the inhabitants of a dorm in St Clars’s school for girls attempting to find out what heavy petting is like by the odd method of making their arms go numb and then touching themselves… Of course, such anti-social behaviour can not go unpunished, and the leader is moved to another dorm, leaving the remaining four to worry about the problems of being “four blossoming virgins who can’t get rid of it”.

Help is at hand though, in the shape of Deborah Collins (NK), a new American girl. She is first seen on the train to the school where she meets Frederick Irwin Benjamin Sinclair Reynolds (knows as Fibs, for obvious reasons), who is going to be a pupil at the boys’ school, handily located just across the lake. This blossoming relationship is rudely ended when they are separated by their respective head teachers, both of whom look like ex-Gestapo agents.

Never daunted, Deborah phones his school and arranges to meet him that night, but he is caught, leaving her to sit around feeling melancholy, in a touching scene. At least it is touching, until a sea-gull craps on her, in one of the most surreal moments in cinema history.

Deborah, being an American girl, is treated as the fountain of all wisdom by her dorm-mates – she knows about rock & roll, successfully convincing the head girl that it is the latest exercise scheme, as used by the U.S. Olympic team (this movie seems to be set in the mid-50’s, but it isn’t easy to tell)! Equally, it is assumed that she knows all about s*x, and her friends ask her advice on how they too can lose their purity.

She comes up with the novel idea of forming a company, Club Love Unlimited to offer sex to Fibs and his mates (with a small m, pun not intended), with the school-girls acting as the hookers. They draw up a price list –

  • “1: Just looking;
        above the waist, 5 Francs,
        below the waist, 7 Francs,
        both, 10 Francs.
        Time limit 15 minutes.
  • 2: Touching;
        above the waist, 8 Francs,
        below the waist, 10 Francs,
        both,15 Francs.
        Time limit 15 minutes.
  • 3: All the way; 20 Francs.
        No time limit”

and send a letter to their prospective clients, who understandably are enthusiastic about the idea. The first customer is dispatched, chosen in the time-honoured method by an eating contest (grasshoppers, to be precise). It is the ‘fat boy’, Plum Pudding, disliked by his fellows – they reduce his appeal somewhat by dropping a dead fish in his blazer pocket. The location of the meeting is a boat in the middle of the lake (before launching, there is a gorgeous parody of the life-jacket demonstration in planes). The obvious occurs (this film is never subtle!) and the boat capsizes,nearly drowning Plum Pudding.

Another attempt is made. Another eating contest (dumplings) – complete with dramatic piano music, but this time Plum Pudding is beaten. Following the previous fiasco, the location is terra firma, the boathouse, decked out with cushions & curtains, and renamed “The Passion Flower Hotel”. This is no more successful though, as a series of accidents (“It’s my fault, I’m left handed”) and the after-effects of the dumplings take their toll…

To restore their reputation, Fibs sends in a sub – their head boy, wise in the ways of the world. Unfortunately, the girls’ art teacher (male) and his girl-friend have also arranged a rendezvous there. Things are not helped by the Club Love Unlimited employee OD-ing on Dutch courage – she ends up being carried unconscious back to the school by the art master, while the substitute gets off with the girl-friend.

St Clara’s head teacher is aware that something is going on, and moves the head girl into the dorm. They convince her one of the boys is passionately in love with her, and she rushes down to the boat-house to meet him. No luck here either – she ends up leaping into the lake for some reason or other that managed to get lost in the dubbing.

This disheartens the directors of Club Love Unlimited so much that they decide to close down, but decide to go out with a bang and arrange a strip -tease contest with the boys as judges. This is arranged for the annual prize-giving at St Clara’s, and the teachers are removed from circulation by putting “disinhibiting pills” in the punch (as in Carry On Abroad).

From here on, things get chaotic, but the end result is that everyone gets someone, even Plum Pudding, who falls for St Clara’s head girl. Deborah and Fibs are, of course entwined, in a soft-focus sex scene, accompanied by some particularly sickly piano music. The next morning comes the reckoning. Deborah is expelled, but saves her friends from the same fate by threatening to tell the newspapers, and the film ends with her leaving on the train, swearing her love for Fibs.

There you have the plot, possibly one of the most ridiculous ever? It is just so tacky – there is no way a comedy about school-girl prostitutes could be made now, with the current problems of AIDS and child abuse. In it’s 80 or so minutes, it manages to trample on almost all of society’s corns but does it in such a manner that you have got to laugh.

The director, Andre Farwagi, knows he has few cards to play, basically nudity and more nudity, but he does so with some skill – you are always kept hanging on, hoping for some more flesh. The humour is pretty basic, relying almost totally on slap-stick, but I still find it a highly amusing and entertaining film. It does get shown on television now and again – Thames showed it about nine months ago, and TVS a little while after – so I’d suggest that you keep an eye out for it. If you have an interest in ‘bad’ movies or even if you just want to enjoy some gratuitous sex (which is getting harder to find these days as censorship clamps down), this is one film I’d certainly recommend.