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Carousella (1966)

A controversial documentary studying the lives of three London strippers and their costume designer.





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Credited cast:
Katy Jordan ...
Tina Samuels ...
Julie Lester ...
Bill Dane ...
Romano Rossi ...
Julie's boyfriend
Chuck Julian ...
American sailor
American sailor (as Hal Gilali)
Himself (as The Who)
Himself (as The Who)
Himself (as The Who)
Himself (as The Who)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Himself - Narrator


A controversial documentary studying the lives of three London strippers and their costume designer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

reenactment | striptease | See All (2) »


Documentary | Short





Release Date:

1966 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Strip-tease-karuselli  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(heavily cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Featured in Guide to the Flipside of British Cinema (2010) See more »


It's All Over Now
Written by Bobby Womack and Shirley Womack
Sung by The Who
See more »

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User Reviews

Sympathetic Soho strippers
7 December 2011 | by See all my reviews

This comes packaged with "Kim Newman's Guide to the Flipside of British Cinema", an entertaining promotional disc for the BFI's strand of forgotten British cinema on DVD. So you might expect it to be one of those luridly exploitative Mondo Cane-style Soho exposés. Instead, it's a sympathetic documentary about the lives of three strippers - Tina, Julie and Katy - working in the Carousel club in London (which evidently produced the film).

We do get some footage of them doing their acts - mostly consisting of removing clothing to music until their nipples are visible, which now seems exceedingly tame but wasn't then - but far more time is given to their offstage lives. Tina goes out with US sailors to Cambridge; Julie, who's married, plays with her two young children; Katy plans a holiday in Italy with her croupier boyfriend Romano.

Directed by John Irvin - who's still working more than 40 years later and best known for TV's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - it's shot in high-contrast black and white; some of its dialogue is recorded live, but there are voice-overs from the women as well. The Cambridge sequence looks staged, but the rest looks like an authentic record of the rather dodgy Soho of the 1960s, the markets, the alleys, the shops and clubs and gambling establishments. (There's even a seven-second clip of The Who playing "It's All Over Now".)

What's unusual about all this is that it takes the women seriously, gives them their own voice, and doesn't impose the usual moral judgment implying that they're headed for prostitution or worse. On the contrary, they're all in the job because they like the money and they like the work. (Only Julie ponders how she'll have to tell the kids some day.) As a result, the censor banned the film for years, fearful that it would act as a recruiting poster for other young women. It might have, too, because the three are shown as competent and autonomous and entirely normal.

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