Jim Groom's -'Room 36', 2002, UK, Thriller, 35mm B/W, 89mins, with Frank Scantori, Portia Booroff, Paul Herzberg, written by Tim Dennison, Jim Groom & David Read, produced by Tim Dennison & Jim Groom, was seen at the Odeon, Panton Street, London in the week of 27/9/05
At last I get around to watching the much written about 'Suite 31' and I have to admit being confused. I know I was in a road off one of the lower corners off Leicester Square, in London, but maybe it was just the light but I saw an unusually amusing and interesting little flick, ( maybe I was in a time warp) which did not seem to have lost very much style even though Kodak only allowed the producers about 300 foot of their best graded, top notch, colour 35mm thus forcing the use of black and white - supplied from their allotment in LA!
Remembering it was an illusion( and I only saw it once), it all started with a shady blackmail deal being set up, ( looked like a between-the-wars crime flick) involving large sums of dough and dodgy dealing in even dodgier lodgings in, looked like, drab Paddington/Victoria, except there were mobile phones so, can't be between the wars -( d'you see why I am confused?). There was also a splendid receptionist( Jackie D Broad) operating a switch board, the kind of which is only seen in the darkest back streets of India and the bottom of glens in Scotland - where the promoter of this film resides - and she sets up all manner of seamy meetings and soon enough, the body count starts to rise.
It's all downhill from here - for the bodies!
The really squelchy underwear salesman Dick( Frank) is the first to bite the dust - his assailant( Portia) finishes him off with a broken bottle( just as well this film is b/w!) but she needs to get out of the room and cannot find the key - meantime the call girl Kate( Nicola Branson) meets her end at the hands of Portia's nemesis Connor( Paul Herzberg), it's all downhill from here - for the bodies! Most of the film is set on the 3rd(?) floor of the Eastlothian Hotel - which still exists and if you suffer from agoraphobia this is a film for you but if you wear long black macs and flat hats and don't like guns or are haematophobic - this isn't for you.
The Hotel Manager( Brian Murphy) fails to take much notice of the gunshots and there's a laid back detective, wearing his trilby, not very hot on the trail. Who have I missed? As for production values, the budget, apparently, was not enormous, though you could argue - Kodak did the DOP, David Read, a great favour for, of course, picture composition is harder in b/w and the sound track is full of moody tunes composed, written and conducted by Scott Benzie( there were echoes of 'North by north west', Paddington is NW of Victoria) - oh, and with a script by the already mentioned good guys Jim, Tim and David - all in all it was time well spent.
My Gran, who's curiously familiar with this part of London, said recently that even though it all started in 1994 - she wonders what the similarly named film can have that is different( but could add) to all of the foregoing.