In recent years, BFI Flipside have reissued some wrongly forgotten, and excellent pieces of British cinema. 'Her Private Hell' is not one of them. The premise itself is decent. Marisa (Lucia Modugno) comes to England in the hopes of succeeding in modeling, but cynical agency mogul Neville (in a very unconvincing turn from Robert Crewsdon) and Bernie (Terence Skeldon) have their mind set on garnering and selling some rather more hardcore shots of the naive and borderline imbecilic Marisa; who is fought over by Bernie, and young photographer Matt (Daniel Oliver, with one of the film's better performances), who seems torn between his genuine love for Marisa, and his ambition for his career. The reality, however, is rather less successful. The film is mediocrely scripted, arty but never artful with its gimmicky camerawork; and can't seem to decide if it's a cautionary morality tale against the seediness of the modeling world, or, rather paradoxically, topless modeling with an okay plot to justify it.
There are one or two positives in the film. Pearl Catlin puts in a stellar turn as the jealous, manipulative Margaret, the woman trying to pull the cogs in Neville's modeling setup. There are also one or two engaging scenes between Matt and Marisa, though the latter is rather too thin a character to give them their full potential. Perhaps worst of all though, 'Her Private Hell' has nothing of the time-capsule beauty and captivating style of British films of its epoch like 'Performance' and 'All the Right Noises', but feels clunky and dated, and its clunky, aimless soundtrack does nothing to help the film. If you like your vintage British cinema meandering, enjoy your protagonists a bit wooden and sly (like sleazy Trevor Brooking lookalike Bernie), or are pleased simply by some exposed boobs - you might find 'Her Private Hell' worth your time. Otherwise, I'd suggest you stay clear. It's not hell, but the 78 minutes do drag by slowly.