The Sex Thief (1974) – By Roger Carpenter

A crime spree is underway in early 1970’s London. It seems a burglar wearing a black velvet cat mask is stealing very expensive jewelry from London’s upper crust. The crimes have the police stumped due in large part to what they don’t know: in reality the thief is a very handsome man who seduces and makes love to his female victims who then gladly give away their jewelry. It’s a win-win situation as the thief gets the loot while the victims can turn the loss into their insurance and get the thrill of a lifetime in the bargain. To throw the police off, the women don’t mention the physical contact and each describe a very different burglar: a tall strong man who threatens violence; a midget; even a one-armed man.

But when a starlet who has lost her shine ups the ante by falsely claiming she was burgled and raped, both the police and the insurance investigator redouble their efforts to capture this mysterious maniac. There is a sidebar that includes a reporter and a second policeman who peddle illegal porn confiscated by law enforcement. The two have plenty of double entendres and one-liners as they argue which female body part is better, tits or ass.

An early picture directed by Martin Campbell who is probably better known for his two Bond films (1995’s Goldeneye and 2006’s Casino Royale) as well as Mel Gibson’s comeback film Edge of Darkness and the recent comic book superhero flick Green Lantern, The Sex Thief was written by Michael Armstrong (horror fans will know him as the screenwriter for the infamous torture film Mark of the Devil as well as House of Long Shadows and other horror fare) and stars David Warbeck as the handsome burglar who moonlights as an author during the day. B-movie fans of course know Warbeck from his cheesy European horror and adventure fare, most famously Lucio Fulci’s classic, The Beyond. All these credentials ensure that, though the filmmakers were young, they knew what they were doing and have created a really funny and entertaining picture.

Essentially a sex farce, The Sex Thief was written in such a way as to maximize the amount of softcore sex and nudity found in the film. One scene that displays Campbell’s creativity is a sex scene where a man’s wife is being ravaged by the burglar while her husband is watching a wrestling match. The scene cuts back and forth from two sweaty men rolling around on the mat to the nude couple making love in a similar manner. As the woman reaches climax, the fight comes to an end and Campbell cuts to a close-up of the husband’s face in rapture at the excitement of the wrestling match just as the woman’s face is rapturous from her romp in the sack. Another funny scene has the burglar break into the starlet’s house. He has just read the paper and her false interview about the burglar brandishing a gun, tying her up, and raping her seven (!) times–one for each of her movies. Of course, her punishment for these lies is to be made love to seven times in a row. Campbell speeds the film up and adds comedic music to the score as the couple are shown in distant shots making love in various positions until, at the end, the film slows down to normal just as the pair finish their marathon lovemaking session.

The plot is outlandishly silly but the film is goofily stylish in a way only early 1970’s films can be, and it is tremendous fun to boot. The acting is solid as well. The film won’t win any Oscars but it will entertain you with plenty of beautiful, fully nude young women as well as lots of laughs. The film does suffer from the occasional talky scene, but this is a minor flaw as it seems to always pick up quickly to include a comedy sketch or sex scene.

The Sex Thief is a fun and mindless treat that won’t fail to entertain B-movie lovers everywhere and has just been released by Kino-Lorber in conjunction with Jezebel Pictures. The film readily available in stores or online. For more information, go to http://www.kinolorber.com/video.php?id=1363.