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"Deep End," DVDs, More

"It's not uncommon for movies to drop out of circulation and simply disappear, as fans of Deep End will attest," begins Ryan Gilbey in the Guardian. "Barely seen since its release in 1971, the film concerns Mike (played by John Moulder-Brown), a floppy-fringed 15-year-old who becomes dangerously infatuated with Susan (Jane Asher), his co-worker at the public baths. What's unusual about this prolonged absence is that it should have befallen a film so passionately admired. The influential critic Andrew Sarris thought it measured up to the best of Godard, Truffaut and Polanski. The New Yorker's Penelope Gilliatt called it 'a work of peculiar, cock-a-hoop gifts.' If something as venerated as Deep End can sink, what hope for the rest of cinema?"

Some, at least. After all, Jerzy Skolimowski's film, kept off screens for decades due to rights issues, has been restored and will screen tomorrow night at London's BFI Southbank, introduced by BFI National Archive curators Vic Pratt and Will Fowler and followed by a Q&A with Asher and Moulder-Brown. Deep End then rolls on to other venues in London, Dublin and Cambridge and, as noted in the Forum, sees a release on DVD in July. Here's a trailer.



"The most socially committed BBC drama producer of the 60s and 70s, best known for his exemplary partnership with Ken Loach, Tony Garnett has twice opted to direct," notes Graham Fuller at the Arts Desk. "If Handgun (1984), his critique of American gun control, is largely forgotten, Prostitute (1980) is recalled for its worthy campaign to decriminalize soliciting for sex and for its single explicit scene — a massage-parlour handjob so ungainly it promotes self-gratification.... The social realist style is conventional, aspiring as much to melodrama as to docudrama." Out from the BFI.

By the time Violent Saturday rolled around in 1955, Richard Fleischer "had made a reputation with outstanding thrillers done cheap, including Trapped, Armored Car Robbery, and wide-hailed sleeper The Narrow Margin," writes John McElwee. "Most recently he'd finished 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for Disney, as high a profile release as 1954 yielded. MGM's Dore Schary offered Fleischer Bad Day at Black Rock for an encore, but Walt wouldn't let him off 20,000 finishing touches on Leagues. Part of this director's value to Violent Saturday was Fox's confidence he could deliver their show at economy rate and maintain quality as was case at RKO. Variety observed results and put Violent Saturday in potential sleeper class, but critical/customer breakout wouldn't come this time as it had for Fleischer on The Narrow Margin…. Violent Saturday presents an across-boards frustrated middle-class hip-deep in hypocrisies peculiar, we think, to atomic age dwellers. Had Nicholas Ray or Samuel Fuller directed, VS would be all over college syllabi and repeat pressed on Criterion disc. There's cultist catnip yet of Big Heat-ish Lee Marvin grinding a kid's hand beneath his shoe and stops-out violence when Ernie Borgnine wields the business end of a pitchfork at the mayhem finish." For more, see a page Film Forum put together in 2008. Out from Screen Archives; DVD Beaver takes a look an alternative release.

DVD roundups. Ed Gonzalez (House Next Door), Mark Kermode (Observer) and Nigel M Smith (indieWIRE).



"Yvette Vickers, an early Playboy playmate whose credits as a B-movie actress included such cult films as Attack of the 50-Foot Woman and Attack of the Giant Leeches, was found dead last week at her Benedict Canyon home," reports Andrew Blankstein in the Los Angeles Times. "Her body appears to have gone undiscovered for months, police said."

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Hooray for BFI. — I don’t know about Violent Saturday, or the upcoming Fate is the Hunter, but The Kremlin Letter had a far too sporadic score for the isolated score [the sole] feature to be more than an interesting look at when certain cues are played.

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