I’m off to see a porn movie in Soho this evening. Okay, it’s not exactly a porn-porn movie, but it is a movie, a documentary, about the life of the porn star (or, ‘model and pornographic actress’) Mary Millington. It’s called ‘Respectable – The Mary Millington Story’ – and I’m looking forward to it. Silly not to.
Mary Millington was born in 1945 and tragically died just 33 years later, from a drug overdose whilst battling depression. During her short lifespan, she became Britain’s biggest female box-office star of the 1970s. Her most famous X-rated movie ‘Come Play With Me’ opened at the Moulin Cinema in Great Windmill Street, Soho, on 28th April 1977. I ‘vaguely’ remember all the posters for it, but I was only 17 at the time (you know … ). The film then played continuously at the cinema until March 1981, remaining the longest running British movie of all time … which is pretty amazing.
The ‘blonde bombshell’ Millington was a member of the National Campaign for the Reform of the Obscene Publications Act, and clashed many times with the likes of pro-censorship campaigner Mary Whitehouse during the 70s. Infamously, she was also arrested in 1978 after flashing her breasts for a photo outside 10 Downing Street, whilst standing next to the policeman on guard.
This evening she’s also going to be honoured with a ‘very proper’ English Heritage-style Blue Plaque on the site of the original Moulin Cinema in Great Windmill Street – now a cocktail bar, and perhaps a further indication of the trendy gentrification of Soho. English Heritage, meanwhile, have said they are not behind the Blue Plaque honour …