The Statue


‘…has a certain novelty value…’

Looking for a bit of BDE? Me neither, but The Statue justifies the tag of the kind of ‘with it’ film that audiences found it preferable to be without back in the early 70’s, and with good reason.Get a load of this high concept, and you’ll wonder what everyone concerned with this misbegotten yet fascinating film was smoking so that the rest of us can avoid it like the proverbial.

In a lowbrow effort that makes his turn in Old Dracula/Vampira look inspired, David Niven plays a public figure whose wife (Virna Lisi) creates a sculpture of him with enormous genitals. It transpires that the genitals used as a scale model were someone elses, sending Niven on a globe-trotting mission, racing against time to find the well-hung model before the actual statue is unveiled.

The pay-off for this convoluted set-up is seeing Niven being forced to attend a few not tremendously appetising orgies, something he does with the strained faux enthusiasm for a grandfather asked to attend his daughter’s dollie’s tea-party. In a side-story of zero consequence, Niven has also invented his own language which had captured the imagination of the world, but The Statue is more interested in seeing Niven cast aside his considerable dignity to drop his trousers in a public photo-booth.

Written by Dennis Norden and directed by Rodney Amateau, it also features the regulation psychedelic freak out that most 70’s comedies feature, John Cleese, Tim Brooke Taylor, Graham Chapman, a theme song called Charlie, plus a repeated crash zoom into Robert Vaughn’s bare buttocks that has a certain novelty value. And a joke about the then president with the punch-line ‘It never hurt Nixon…’ is perhaps a line that was very much of its time, as is this curious, awkward comedy.


Leave a Reply
  1. I’ve learned a new acronym. Very educational this blog. This was one of Roger Ebert’s most hated films. And I guess it has a kind of 70s vibe of sex mockery and let’s embarrass David Niven feel to it. Or Buttocks’R’Us.

  2. Cor! Crash zoom into the buttocks! Cheeky!

    Whenever I think of how so much of early film history is lost because of the way film stock degrades or bursts into flame, and how in the early days nobody thought any of it was worth saving for posterity, it’s movies like these that make me realize that’s it may be just as well. Has the BFI declared this “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”?

    • I have, and I’d expect the BFI to follow suit. I do all the heavy lifting for these guys…

      …this film is absolutely awful. I’d put this on a double bill with Okd Dracula/Vampira and end cinema for good by doing so. But it does have some time capsule value. I’ve worked the phrase ‘it never hurt Nixon’ into many daily conversations now…

Leave a Reply