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The Touchables Novelisation and Other Pastoral Flipside/Undercurrents Tie-Ins: Wanderings, Explorations and Signposts 41/52

The Touchables-Brian Freemantle-book-novelisation-Robert Freeman 1968 filmAs you may well have noticed, with second-hand books, CDs and DVDs etc often online they seem to either cost literally a penny or so plus postage and there are lots of them available or there are the odd ones that are rather rare and pricey – and there doesn’t seem to be all that much middle ground.

Along which lines is Brian Freemantle’s novelisation/tie-in of the 1968 film The Touchables, which was directed by one time Beatles photographer Robert Freeman – I’ve only ever seen one other copy of it for sale other than this one and that was going for a pretty penny or two.

Connected to which, the book is one I would probably file under a small selection of “books that I hardly ever see for sale and/or have spent a fair old amount of time wandering if I can afford and/or justify buying them on the very occasional time I do see a copy”.


I’ve written about the film before and as I mention in the A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book, along with Tam Lin aka The Devil’s Widow (1970)  and Queens of Evil aka Le Regine or Il Delitto del Diavolo (1970), The Touchables it could be seen as being part of a:

“…mini film sub-genre of pastoral fantasy, with at times elements of folk horror, wherein late 1960s and turn of the decade high fashion mixes with grown up fairytale high jinx, wayward behaviour and sometimes a step or two or more towards the dark side, all carried out in dreamlike isolation in the woods and pastoral settings…”


In terms of its plot, setting and visual style/fashions, as I also mention in the A Year In The Country book, it is a:

“…very modish tale of a group of stylish sixties women who live in a huge see-through plastic bubble in the middle of the countryside who kidnap a pop star as “a temporary solution to the leisure problem” and in order make him their plaything…  at heart it is a caper romp but one that is more than one remove from the mainstream and quite surreal in its setting and the mixture of elements it contains… (a surreal) adult pastorally-set fairytale or fantasy…”


As I have written before, the film has never had an official home release and is rarely shown at cinemas, which is a shame as it is something of an intriguing oddity and also quite a visual and period treat and because of its very visual/stylish nature a good quality restored release would not go amiss.

(The BFI’s Flipside, I’m looking in your direction !).

The Touchables-Brian Freemantle-Zardoz-John Boorman-Bill Stair-Phase IV-Barry Malzberg-books-novelisations-film tie-ins

The Touchables book tie-in could also be filed alongside the likes of other novelisations of intriguing flipside/undercurrents of pastoral/nature set and focused films, such as John Boorman’s 1974 adaptation of Zardoz, a film he wrote, directed and produced (with the book being co-written with Bill Stair) and the 1973 book adaptation of Saul Bass’ Phase IV film – although they’re generally much easier to find and somewhat cheaper.

The Touchables trailer

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:
1) Day #177/365: Zardoz… in this secret room from the past, I seek the future…
2) Day #149/365: Phase IV – lost celluloid flickering (return to), through to Beyond The Black Rainbow and journeys Under The Skin
3) Day #213/365: Artifacts of a curious mini-genre (and misc.)
4) Week #15/52: Phase IV / a revisiting / the arrival of artifacts lost and found and curious contrasts


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