Kino Lorber // 1974 // 93 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker // February 5th, 2013
It's not their hearts he's stealing.
Considering how much of my young adulthood I spent seeking it out and enjoying it, I really should have a gentler spot and higher tolerance for soft-core porn. To this day, if I accidentally switch on Cinemax and find people with all their clothes on, I get disoriented and depressed, as though the world is somehow out of kilter.
Had The Sex Thief turned up on cable back in my formative days, I might not have considered it a masterpiece, but it certainly would have been a find. It's British, it's reasonably well made, occasionally clever, and with tons of naked and willing women (plus a male lead who doesn't make you want to gouge out your eyes); this is pretty good as far as these things go -- though, mind you, these things only go but so far.
The Sex Thief is actually Grant Henry (David Warbeck, Twins of Evil), a writer by day and jewel pilferer by night. Grant dons a cat burglar outfit of shiny, tight black, puts on a masquerade ball-style mask, and breaks into people's homes. The breaking part is pretty easy; apparently, people in London in the '70s didn't bother locking their doors and windows and kept expensive gemstones stashed in the sock drawer.
Grant has the great good fortune to only break into homes where there are large-breasted women sitting around on their lonesome, and since Grant is such a sexy bounder, the women are quickly overcome with passion. In fact, Grant is so good at what he does -- and we don't mean writing and thieving -- that his comely victims actually abet him by giving the police false descriptions to throw them off the trail; since the jewels are insured anyway, it means the women get a rousing shag and get the money for the stolen merchandise -- plus, there's the chance that Grant will make an encore appearance.
This would all be perfect were it not for insurance inspector Judy (Diane Keen, Ruth Rendell Mysteries). As, perhaps, the only female insurance inspector in London, she's being taken to task over the robberies, and decides to try to entrap the thief. As luck would have it, she's quite attractive and large-breasted, and...
Well, I don't want to spoil anything, but you can pretty much figure out where this is going.
The Sex Thief was directed by Martin Campbell, who would go on to helm two James Bond films: GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan's first outing for the franchise, and Casino Royale, Daniel Craig's debut as the spy. The Sex Thief was Campbell's feature film debut; since it's (marginally) a caper film set in early '70s London, it has a slight "Bond vibe," but it's really not a harbinger of things to come.
The disc from Kino Lorber/Jezebel offers a remastered 1080p image that looks pretty good. The elements come from a 35mm print, so it's not pristine -- there are bits of damage here and there -- but it's overall fine and filmic. The DTS mono track is perfectly fine. Unfortunately, there are no supplements at all.
Silly enough that the smarminess doesn't quite register, The Sex Thief is a pretty harmless affair. There's no political subtext or social subtext, or any kind of subtext. It's just a bunch of naked Brits having a fine old time.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Kino Lorber
* 1.66:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 1974
MPAA Rating: Rated R