The Babysitter (1969)

Rating: B-

Dir: Don Henderson
Star: George E. Carey, Patricia Wymer, Kathy Williams, Anne Bellamy

Hot-shot assistant to the DA, George Maxwell (Carey) isn’t exactly happy in his marriage. Despite the unexpected arrival of a new baby, his wife Edith (Bellamy) is more interested in bridge and dinner parties than just being with him. Enter the titular home-help, Candy Wilson (Wymer), who is wild, free and, apparently, interested in George. But is everything what it seems? For George is also about to go to court as prosecutor in the case of a biker accused of murder. His girl, Julie (Williams), sets out to blackmail Maxwell – initially, it seems she plans to use his lesbian daughter for this, and befriends her towards that end. But when Julie finds out about the blossoming relationship between the father and the babysitter, her plans change…

A decent slab of exploitation, that manages to be remarkably even-handed. All the characters have at least some justification for their actions, even the killer on trial, and it’s refreshingly free of moralistic punishment. Sin doesn’t necessarily get its just reward here: let’s just say, if I had an affair with a teenager, I suspect Chris’s reaction would be closer to a special, genital-related edition of Will It Blend?, than the restraint shown here by Mrs. Maxwell. Despite such a modern approach in this area, it is still somewhat dated. The concept that having a lesbian daughter would be blackmail material seems weird, given the last US Vice-President had one, while the breasts being in black-and-white – literally, since we’re talking serious tan-lines – made me wonder if someone was about to start playing volleyball.

That aside, this is fairly engrossing, cramming a lot of twists and turns into its 75 minutes. Henderson (who does not appear to be, as some have said, a pseudonym for Tom Billy Jack Laughlin) does a good job of hiding whether Candy is part of the plot or not, and Wymer is entirely credible as the free spirit in question; a shame she only made three films. The romance between her and George isn’t quite as creepy as you’d think, despite their age-difference, though a younger actor than Carey might have been more credible. The time certainly zips along, and as drive-in fodder goes, this slice of Crown International cheese has aged surprisingly well.