One of three films to have carried this title – theis is sadly not the dark, uncouth 1972 police thriller from France, or the amusing 1980s movie about a London students’ residence. No, this is the dire 1970s British comedy that, even for that period, is scraping the bottom of the bottom of the barrel. The odds are that you will probably never have seen it unless you have been sat up watching Channel Five late at night (or more recently, Movies4Men, where sightings have recently been reported), undoubtedly hoping that some of those ‘erotic thrillers’ they show might actually be erotic, or even thrilling. Paint it Blue, a tale of heroic British farting, would clearly love to be a Carry On film, with well scripted lines delivered by a professional cast. Instead, typical of many 1970s Brit comedies, it has a slapdash approach to scripting with no real inspiration, instead relying on crude sexual and scatalogical innuendo. The result is as embarrassing as watching your parents get down and boogie at a wedding disco.

The plot meanders all over the place, which wouldn’t be a minus point if it actually strayed into something funny, rather than jokes and set ups that even a school boy would find puerile. To be fair, there are some truly funny points in the movie, but they just serve to underline how bollocks the rest of it is. The plot revolves around British troops caught behind enemy lines in WW2. A predictable collection of misfits, they include one Private Parts, (yes it is that bad ), played by the late Jack Douglas, who has terrible wind and keeps giving away their hiding places with his farting. (Flashbacks to his training predictably show his tent exploding when someone discards a cigarette). However, Captain Knackers (Jim Dale) finds that it is an effective means of gassing the enemy and thus ensures that a bunch of comedy German High Command generals are convinced that the British have a new weapon.

Dale’s character realises that this guff is their ticket back to base, and recalls, in the film’s only truly hysterical scene, how Nelson and his men destroyed a French ship of the line at Trafalgar through lighting their farts. The scene of cannon ports opening to reveal a bunch of flame spouting British backsides is quite brilliant, as is Nelson’s death from sucking the flame back up his rectum and combusting his insides. This whole sequence has subsequently been lifted by better films, including Farts of Gold 2: Farts of Fire. Other redeeming sequences are of a melting Tiger tank, (well actually a British Cromwell tank with swastikas on it), and a Stuka taken out by precision follow-through.

Curiously, upon its original release, (it quickly vanished after a two-week London run which saw disastrously low takings and was sold to television, where it again vanished for over twenty years following a single late night airing on the Westward ITV regional franchise), Paint it Blue sparked a fierce critical debate. On the one hand, several left-wing critics, most notably John Coleman in the New Statesman, decried it for offering a typically stereotyped middle class view of the working classes as feckless, incompetent and unhygienic. By contrast, other leftist thinkers, including Ralph Miliband, argued that it was in fact a satirical debunking of the traditional British war movie, which always attributed British victories to the ability of the middle classes to harness the ‘pluck’ and heroism of the working classes. However, the handful of people who actually paid to see the film evidently thought it was a crude and poorly produced piece of smut.

If you are a fan of this period, and really cannot get enough of Jack Douglas and his jittering spastic impressions, (most of which were cut from his performance in the lamentable Carry On Emanuelle after complaints from disabled organisations), then by all means purchase this DVD. If not, then avoid it, or the distributors will only be encouraged to release more rubbish instead of the more deserving movies that somehow never get onto the video shelf.