48 minutes in and we kick off with shifty bloke looking at a pop art porno mag called 'Cootie'. Actually, judging by the way his eyes are flicking from side to side, he's not so much reading the thing as scanning it into his mental wankbank for later use. At first I thought 'that's a great image, in Mounds and Circles world all films should probably start like that' before realising that this isn't the start of the film at all, in fact, we're halfway through. They can be confusing these challenges, but then we've only ourselves to blame.
Eagle eyes is caught in the act by his boss, who I know is a Judge played by Jack May, a fine actor, dedicated gambler and a man who reminds me physically of a butcher Quentin Crisp. 'You must overcome it' he admonishes sleazy man 'It's filth! Muck! Overcome it! OVERCOME IT!' in a 'Exterminate!' type voice that sounds less like overcoming it and more like coming over it. Yes, that is clever wording, thank you.
It's a strange sort of boss/employee relationship, really. I can only say that I've never experienced anything like it at the Council. Well, once, maybe twice, but I can't say anything about that at the moment for legal reasons.
|'I laugh at your outdated bourgeoise power structures.|
Knickers, knackers, knockers'.
I have seen this film before in all its full length glory, but I would have recognised Donald Sumpter anyway from his starring role in seedy Donald Nielsen biopic 'The Black Panther'. He's better known these days for playing supercillious, bald authority figures but here he's a long haired reprobate and skirt chaser with a less than respectful view of the powers that be. In custody, he sneers 'hit me' at a lumpy, bored looking copper assigned to look after him. Go on, we think, do it, we won't tell anyone. No reaction, so Sumpter tries again 'you'd like to beat the hell out of me, wouldn't you?'. Fuck, yes. You hold him, plod, I'll twat him.
Next up we see Judgie furtively talking to an obvious prosie in a darkened doorway. We know he's troubled because he does that sunken eyed thing that signifies true depravity and mental turmoil. 'I'm drawn to them', he says, as much to himself as anyone else, 'first to look...then to touch...then to...' To what? Judge, to WHAT?
We cut to a public park, with a few young couples taking advantage of the dark. It is bleeding dark n'all, so dark it's pretty hard to see what's going on. Next thing we do see clearly is the flash of a flick knife as a young woman is violently (is there any other way?) and repeatedly stabbed. There's plenty of blood, and a lot of twitching, but, after a bit, the young girl dies. We know this because she jerks suddenly before becoming still then rolls her eyes up into her head . Clearly this is not the knockabout sex comedy we were expecting. This girl has been ripped. Ripped, I tells ye.
After this all sorts of things happen in a short period of time, including Donald Sumpter being arrested just as he is apparently about to go on stage with his Doors tribute act. He's apprehended by tightly wound copper (and recent widower) Gilbert Wynne who watches him getting off with some dolly bird for ages before nicking him. To my eyes, it looked like he was enjoying the spectacle. His nostrils couldn't have been any more flared. Is everyone is this bloody film a colossal pervert?
Banged up, Sumpter cocks a snook by calling a copper 'cunt-stable' and saying 'I know my rights'. 'You have a right' Wynne wittily rejoinders 'to the toilet!'. It's little things like that which mark us from the savages, you know.
The papers (published immediately, of course) have a field day: 'Ripper killings - youth held'. Youth? Sumpter?It's the funniest thing in the film.
|This is the end...|
Meanwhile (it's pretty chop choppy this film, it's impossible to get bored with it), the Judge is going further and further off piste. He goes home early with a massive kinky bastard related headache and catches his wife on the way out. 'I want to help you' she pleads. 'No-one can help me', he pouts. 'I'm your wife' she says. 'Wife?' he shouts 'who cares about individuals!'. Charming. Realising he's dropped a bollock in the relationship stakes, he locks himself in his study, briefly emerging to have a rant about evil being a cancer that has to be cut out by a surgeon, but he's not a surgeon, he's a judge, so he'll have to cut it out with the law, like a surgeon. To be honest, he's not at his best.
|Strip lighting doesn't flatter, does it?|
|The forces of justice.|
After a scene in which a trial goes awry due to his increasingly sweaty madness, the Judge repairs to his quiet place, a seedy and anonymous rented room wallpapered with porn. We've all got one. He comes over quite unnecessary, fondling a leather jacket, obviously enjoying the squeak of the cowskin under his caress. All the while his sleazy clerk is peeping, peeking, spying, perving through, appropriately, a crack. This is almost certainly going to lead to an unexpected pay review.
My last glimpse of the film before the shutter came down (like in a seaside telescope or a 'What The Butler Saw') was of a vulnerable, frightened man in a leather jacket and an ill-fitting ladies wig. I suppose we're supposed to think that it's awful that a respected figure like a Judge can be brought to his knees by obsession and madness, but I just kept thinking that he looked like Paul McCartney.
Thwarted by the abrupt close of the narrative, I retreated to a seedy and anonymous rented room wallpapered with porn to ponder what I would think might happen in the rest of the film if I was able to forget what does happen in the rest of the film. My predictions? Well, it's not an exact science but maybe therapy for the Judge; Sumpter and Wynne realise they're not so different after all ('you're alright - for a copper' - 'yeah, and you're alright - for a sex case suspect'), and, a bit of a long shot this one, but, despite all evidence to the contrary, the sex killer turns out to be a maniacal, mental Mallard Duck with blood on its bill.
Am I warm? Only Glimmung can settle this one.