The Man Who Had Power Over Women (1970)
Rod Taylor plays Peter Reaney, a successful talent agent who discovers
ethics and true love.
The movie's cumbersome title and its billing as a sex farce both miss the
target. The story -- although frequently and fatally over the top
-- has much more depth than just being about a man who can't keep "his
grasping hands" off women.
ON THE SCREEN
The movie examines Peter's intermingled relationships: His job, his wife,
and the family of his best friend, Val (James Booth).
Peter and Val work for spoiled pop singer Barry Black (Clive Francis).
Peter already feels like a parasite, living off the talents of others, and
he's further sickened after having to arrange an abortion for a woman impregnated
by Black. Peter winds up quitting the agency and later punching out the
Meanwhile, Peter's marriage is disintegrating. His wife, Angela (Penelope
Horner) never was a good match, and she's finally fed up with Peter's often-drunken
behavior. She spills her feelings to Val's wife Jody (Carol White). Angela
complains about how she's not all that interested in sex, and that she's
never understood or kept pace with Peter's sexual appetite. Jody seems intrigued.
Once Angela finally throws Peter out, he's taken in by Val and Jody (whose
marriage isn't all that stable either, we learn).
Adrift and feeling as though he doesn't do real work, Peter attempts
to reach out. A quiet, awkward, touching scene that unfolds at his father's
doorstep is in deep contrast to the brashness of much of the rest of the
Later, with Peter fresh from the drunk tank and lamenting the lack of
meaning in his life, Jody reaches out to him. They wind up in bed -- and
in love. Soon after, an oblivious Val asks Peter to take Jody to the movies.
When Jody wonders if they've made a mistake, Peter responds: "I loved
you all I knew then; I love you more now." (It's a moment that moves
me second only to one in Young Cassidy,
where Rod sings a gentle love song to Maggie Smith on the riverbank.)
Unfortunately, such simple scenes of clear emotion are too few in this
BEHIND THE SCENES
In a 1969 interview, Rod offered a "peek" at what might have been
planned for the movie:
According to the script, I'm a character who keeps having these fantasies
over women. There's one incident which strikes me as being particularly funny.
This mixed-up character -- me -- catches a bus and discovers that the girl
collecting the fares is completely nude. The only items which cover her modesty
are the money-bags and some leather straps.
Then he notices all the passengers are sitting naked. I
shall be nude myself in this scene, and let's say I shall need plenty of
rehearsals with the girls before I'm satisfied with the scenes. At least, I hope
People magazine (Australia)
July 16, 1969
Alas, for his audiences and himself, this isn't quite how the movie turned