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Customer Review

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not viewing hell, but film purgatory at best., 3 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Her Private Hell (BFI Flipside) (DVD + Blu-ray) (DVD)
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.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Mar 2012 12:23:26 GMT
Wholeheartedly agree with your review. The film has long been available on a decent-quality bootleg, which is how I came to see it. On the short side at 78 minutes in length, it nonetheless proved impossible to sit through, and it was a surprise to hear this tedious flick was to receive an official release. I have many of the titles in the Flipside series; this one won't be joining them unless, perhaps, you have any comments on the included 30 minute extra, "Anatomy of a Pin-Up", a documentary that I hear good things about.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2012 16:17:38 GMT
Mr. D Burin says:
The documentary is quite interesting, but certainly not worth shelving out the price of buying such a mediocre film as this, for. Not sure if "Anatomy of a Pin-Up" is available separately on DVD, or else as an accompaniment to another film.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Mar 2012 02:04:12 GMT
Thanks for your thoughts. As far as I can tell "Anatomy of a Pin-Up" is available nowhere else, but I hear what you are saying. As an old-hand with these obscurities, a lot of the material can sound mouth-watering on paper - until you actually start to watch the thing, that is. Think I'll skip it...
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