Chas, a violent and psychotic East London gangster needs a place to lie low after a hit that should never have been carried out. He finds the perfect cover in the form of guest house run by the mysterious Mr. Turner, a one-time rock superstar, who is looking for the right spark to rekindle his faded talent.Written by
Director Donald Cammell arranged for James Fox to spend time with real East London gangsters to help prepare his character. David Litvinoff (credited as "dialogue coach and technical advisor", but actually pretty much "mob liaison") made sure he didn't get into any real trouble. See more »
Warner Bros removed around 20 minutes from the beginning of the film before the movie was submitted and the BBFC (under UK censor John Trevelyan) then made a further 16 cuts, most notably to the sexual clawing during the infamous flogging scene. The 1997 Maverick Directors video release featured the longer U.S print and restored all the BBFC cut footage. See more »
Gangland enforcer James Fox gets involved with decadent fading rock star Mick Jagger in Nicholas Roeg's and Donald Cammell's cult film
Few films encapsulate drug-crazed Swinging 60s London like this one, though it was only seen three years after it was made and then heavily-edited because Warners were shocked at what they had financed. The film exceeded the boundaries of good taste that always epitomized British cinema.
This superbly shot, deeply disturbing, complex, often pretentious, often brilliant parable of confused identity was the first feature directed by leading cinematographer Roeg, sharing the credit with artist Cammell.
An eerily plausible Fox, cast against type, plays Chas, a sadistic gangster on the run who rents a room in the Notting Hill Gate home of Turner (Jagger), a reclusive, sexually ambiguous, washed-up rock star. Fox, his antithesis, is offered women and magic mushrooms before literally swapping personalities with the singer.
Fox abandoned the cinema for almost a decade after this film, such was its effect on him.
Verdict A dazzling, ideas-rich, extraordinarily inventive full-stop to the 60s
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