Too Hot to Handle (released in the United States as Playgirl After Dark) is a 1960 British neo-noir gangster thriller film, starring Jayne Mansfield and Leo Genn. Directed by Terence Young, later involved with some of the early James Bond films. Christopher Lee appears in a small role in the film.
Too Hot to Handle was Jayne Mansfield’s first film away from 20th Century Fox after achieving stardom in the mid-1950s. By 1960, however, Mansfield’s box office popularity had faded, and Fox loaned her (as they did others) to foreign studios while they awaited a good film for her. This British drama is usually marked as the beginning of her descent into low-budget productions.
The film was billed as “an exposé of ‘sexy, sordid Soho, England’s greatest shame'”. Notorious in its day because Mansfield’s risqué see-through clothing and racy musical numbers caused some controversy, holding up the American release until January 1961, while the sexiest frames were fully displayed in Playboy magazine. For its American releases, Too Hot to Handle was retitled Playgirl After Dark and was mildly edited to meet America’s censor requirements. Halliwell’s Film and Video Guide describes the film as a “rotten, hilarious British gangster film set in a totally unreal underworld and a very uncomfortably cast.”
While filmed and released in Eastman Color, the VHS and DVD editions are in black-and-white for unknown reasons.
ps. recently a German dvd was released in colour (dubbed in German, so there is no copy available in English). Sadly I don’t own it yet myself but I have heard that the quality is really good.