The Virgin Soldiers (1969) starring Lynn Redgrave, Hywel Bennett, Nigel Davenport, Nigel Patrick, Rachel Kempson directed by John Dexter Movie Review

The Virgin Soldiers (1969)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Christopher Timothy in The Virgin Soldiers (1969)

The Experiences of an Inexperienced Soldier

Having got his National Service call up in 1951 Pvt. Brigg (Hywel Bennett) ends up stationed at a military base in Malaya where he has a crush on Phillipa (Lynn Redgrave), the daughter of the base's commanding sergeant. Both are inexperienced and like most young men Brigg has sex on the mind and can't wait to lose his virginity by any means necessary. As well as getting his leg over Brigg and his fellow soldiers have something else on their mind and that is when they hopefully return home, sooner rather than later if they have their way. But an emergency ends up bringing Brigg and Phillipa closer together.

"The Virgin Soldiers" does not age well or at least it doesn't work very well for those who experience it for the first time now some 45 plus years after it was made. It all feels a bit awkward and little more than a series of gags about sex and sexual innuendo with much of this being so dark that it doesn't always have the same effect on those who as I said watch it for the first time now.

The thing is that even though it doesn't work so well as it probably did "The Virgin Soldiers" is easy to understand because it is all about the experiences of a young inexperienced soldier with sex on his mind. As such when he is dealing with the blood encrusted papers of a soldier who died just a couple of months before he returned home Brigg's thought is on whether he got it in there and didn't die a virgin. It is also easy to see the comical lengths that some soldiers will go to in order to get sent home but it only raises a smile. I suspect that back in 1969 the emotions in this movie with being a young man in the army were easier to relate to as was the black comedy about getting laid.

In truth watching "The Virgin Soldiers" now is more entertaining for spotting the various actors who show up from Geoffrey Hughes who many will remember as Eddie Yates in Coronation Street, a blink and you will miss part for David Bowie and dancer Wayne Sleep having a part in the movie as a homosexual soldier. As for the main actors they play their parts well but for me none of the performances are memorable.

What this all boils down to is that "The Virgin Soldiers" is a movie of the past and as such probably still holds some charm for those who experienced back when it was released. But watched now for the first time it ends up more of a curiosity which might make you smile but unlikely to make you laugh.