Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Bell End

Jane strokes John's wood
In this week's jump into the 'Deep End' we’re moving on to the relationship of the film’s central characters, Mike (John Moulder Brown) and Susan (Jane Asher). Innocent pretty-boy JMB plays a barely pubescent 15-year old who has just left school and finds his first job working as an attendant at an old fashioned public bath. Strawberry blonde Asher is his opposite, an experienced older girl who has become toughened by the environment of the baths.

Note that while some of the exterior shots show grimy 70s Britain, and the pool itself looks like many other tatty Victorian baths, it was in fact located in Munich/Munchen. (This was an Anglo-German production.)

Following JMB’s steamy encounter with Diana Dors (see previous post) Asher explains that it’s standard practice for bath attendants to perform sexual favours in exchange for a tip from the client. Sensing her accepting attitude to sex JMB instantly becomes infatuated and follows Asher and her fiancée on their date at the local porn cinema. 
Ooh, very Scarfolk.

Asher and mac (not Macca)

Still from The Science of Sex


She's a real scientist. Oh yes.
JMB attempts to cop a good feel of Asher, leading to an altercation with her boyfriend, the cinema manager and the police. The manager is cautioned for admitting a minor to an X-rated film but oil (or rather alcohol) is poured on the waters and the officers are bought off with a couple of drinks.

...bad cop

JMB then discovers that Asher is having an affair with his old gym teacher (Karl-Michael Vogler), who occasionally pops in with some schoolgirls he is teaching to swim. K-MV is ’yer actual’ child molester (as Peter Cook might have said), indulging in inappropriate ogling, fondling and slapping of his teenage charges.  

This is all done with a casual openness and most disturbingly the class is seen as accepting and even enjoying the attention.  We shall return to ruminate on this in the final instalment of Deep End.


...and tickle
Incidentally, the film’s music is supplied courtesy of an interesting pair; melodramatic singer-songwriter pop from Cat ‘Call me Yusuf’ Stevens, and Krautrock freak-out by The Can, known as plain Can during the rest of their career to avoid lavatorial allusions. Their Mother Sky is chopped and repurposed to fit the film edits and works rather well.

Cat 'n' Can
More soon. By the by, if anyone can fix us up with some Newford Baths t-shirts we'll be your best friend.

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