Monday, 25 February 2013

Balls Deep

I've arrived a bit late to the party with Jerry 'The Shout' Skolimowski's Deep End, but then the film itself disappeared not long after it's release and was only rediscovered and repackaged on dvd in 2010.

I was a little nervous that Macca's ex Jane Asher and pretty boy John 'Vampire Circus' Moulder-Brown were offering yet another re-hash of Swinging London, well past it's sell-by date in 1970, but director Skolimowski gave me hope; a graduate of the Lodz film school he shares with his fellow alumnus Roman Polanski an ability to invest seemingly ordinary scenes with detail and meaning that reward repeated viewing.

Posing with THE poster
 There is much of interest for Mounds & Circles readers, so we're going to break our ramblings into several parts. The central characters are Mike and Susan (above) and we will return to them in due course. To begin (or cut to the chase, depending on your taste) let's get down and dirty with M&C old lag Diana Dors. We said lag - not slag - right, though anyone denounced by the Archbishop of Canterbury as a "wayward hussey" is okay with us.

Dors (born Diana Fluck - we don't fluck with facts) was a complex character whose nubile charms as a young woman were ruthlessly exploited by the seedy British entertainment industry and a number of unpleasant husbands and boyfriends. In an era that enjoyed suppressing women with backstreet abortions and limited career prospects, Dors refused to conform and suffered as her fame and figure grew. As she advanced in age and size, so her work prospects dwindled and she had to adapt to middle age roles. She was 39 when she appeared in Deep End, having descended from starring roles to supporting parts, no longer in the main feature. But the acting skills she had developed in the previous decades enabled her to take on more adventurous parts when they were offered, few more exciting than Mike's No.1 lady client in Deep End. (Her turn as the harridan Mabel Lowe in the 'Act of Kindness' segment of Amicus' portmanteau classic From Beyond the Grave is another great example; I can't help feeling sex and spite were always close to her lips, on and off screen).

A stimulating study in middle age female sexual frustration, Dors' character visits the bathhouse section of the public baths where the film is set. She instantly takes a shine to young Mike and lures him into her changing cubicle to unzip her dress.

The new Number 2?

Where's the shampoo?

The trap is set


No way out


Sensing the boy's naivety, his discomfort only acting as a further turn-on, Dors sets her trap. She sends Mike out to fetch some shampoo and upon his return feigns dizziness, before grabbing the lad and thrusting his unwilling head against her ample chest, forcefully pulling his hair and rubbing the terrified boy against her barely concealed bosom until she reaches a climax, all the time fantasizing about manly (unlike Mike) footballers. Spent, she throws him out the door and collapses in a sweaty heap against the tiled wall. She's had her fun and the boy is no longer of any use to her.

 Are these the actions of a liberated woman or child abuse, a middle age film director's fantasy or a young man's dream? All of these perhaps, though as the film continues so these themes change and develop further.

I think we all need a little 'comfort break' after such grinding passion, so let's pause matters here, lingering on the glorious form of an inflamed Diana Dors, and return to Deep End after a cold shower when our blood pressure has eased back down again.


  1. A film that remains in my top 5 of all time favourite films. I've done a few picspams of it over on my blog too before now

  2. Always thought Dors was at her seductive best during her well-rounded years. When I saw Deep End I thought I'd died and woken up in bath-house heaven.

    Thanks for the excellent screen captures, I took some from an old VHS copy and had been meaning to upgrade them for research purposes.