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In a seaside village, a group of local young men mingle among the seasonal tourists in search of sexual conquests. Near the end of one summer, the leader of the group, Tinker, a strolling photographer, aims to conquer a fashion model from a well-to-do family, but he finds himself unexpectedly falling in love. The tables thus turned, Tinker begins to see that maybe it's not the tourists who are being used in these sexual games.Written by
George S. Davis
Underrated Swinging Sixties precursor with its feet on the round
A neglected but in its unassuming way very well-made little melodrama by a young Michael Winner, shot mainly on location around Torbay right at the start of the Swinging Sixties era. Fairly racy in its day, it never tries to sensationalise its premise that casual sex is as normal as the twist among the holidaying young people.
The cast is exceptional. This was Winner's first collaboration with Oliver Reed, whose charisma and aura of watchful menace here is unmistakable. There was never another star in British cinema quite like him. Jane Merrow is just as excellent as the sympathetic but ultimately unattainable Nicola; she makes the character totally three-dimensional without any histrionics. Barbara Ferris also stands out among a talented young cast, especially in her final stoned lament at the evening beach-party.
Winner is helped immeasurably by a brilliant cinematographer, Nicolas Roeg (here in between lensing such notable Brit-flicks as The Caretaker, Nothing But the Best and Masque of the Red Death). His location work right from the title sequence gives a vivid sense of place of a jaded seaside resort in the last days of summer.
Directorial flair is surprisingly confident, borrowing just enough new-wave technique to languidly establish the film's youth pedigree without ever indulging in obtrusive effect for its own sake.
Winner's previous film, West 11, a lowlife murder suspensor, also made good use of a mainly young cast. After The System he moved on to bigger but not necessarily better things before Hollywood swamped what talent he had. A pity, because this film, never acknowledged as being one of the best British b-films of the time, really is pretty good.
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