At last this film is finally available on DVD. Directed by Philip Saville (Stop the World I Want to Get Off and British TV classics The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, Boys from the Blackstuff and Count Dracula) and written by Frank Clarke (Letter to Brezhnev, Blonde Fist). Clarke followed up the success of Letter to Brezhnev with this sentimental thriller, effectively a love story, which could have taken its themes from a Smiths album: sexual ambiguity, loss of innocence, shattered dreams and...animal rights. Set in Liverpool, Michael (Tony Forsyth), a rough and ready streetwise rent boy on the run from a youth detention centre, befriends Eddie (Emile Charles), a naive dreamer and camp teenager who lives for glamorous film stars and stories of his mum auditioning for John Schlesinger in the 60s - but the tales of his mum are as false as her blond hair. After homophobic abuse from his brutal dad, Eddie joins Michael on the streets and they find a welcome, along with Liverpool's other waifs and strays, at the eponymous Fruit Machine, a gay nightclub where Michael's butch charms win him first prize in an amateur strip contest. But they are forced to keep running after they witness the grisly gangland murder of Annabelle (Robbie Coltrane), hostess of the Fruit Machine, with a knowing nod to Some Like It Hot. The boys find succour (in more ways than one) in the entourage of Vincent (Robert Stephens), a famous opera tenor who invites them to come to Brighton in return for sexual favours from Michael, determined to keep his hustling a secret from Eddie, whom he loves because of his innocence, something Michael, brought up in care, has never had. The picture painted of the adult world is an ugly one: adult abuse of youth and innocence is a constant theme and Michael must not only satisfy Vincent, whilst ensuring that he keeps his hands off Eddie, but also Vincent's voracious assistant, Eve (the wonderful Clare Higgins). In Brighton the boys meet another misfit and run-away, a young girl animal rights activist, and Eddie joins in her protest against Wonderland, an aquarium where dolphins are kept in captivity and in whose plight Eddie sees reflections of his own. Eddie dreams of setting the dolphins free but the killer has followed the boys to Brighton and Eddie's dreams seem destined to bump up against harsh reality. A touching love story between two teenage boys, this is a classic British film from the 1980s and is not to be missed. Important to remember that the backdrop to this movie was the small-mindedness of Thatcher's Britain and Clause 28. A highly commendable and brave film. Not perfect, but very enjoyable.