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Scum [Blu-ray] [1979] [US Import]

4.5 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BUSYU0M
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,358 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Callous, cruel and cold-hearted best summarises the 1979 British film `Scum', starring Ray Winstone who portrays the role of Carlin; a prisoner transferred to a borstal in London. His character depicts the role of many inmates at the time, where prison systems endorsed a much harsher treatment to their inmates as a form of punishment. The film follows the character of Carlin amongst other characters and exposes what their experiences were like in a strictly controlled prison system by menacing prison guards.

Throughout the film there are explicit scenes of violence, rape and suicide. There is also the continuous use of strong language and racists remarks. The protagonists authenticated such scenes of violence especially the rape and suicide scenes. At the time of filming this too must have been sensitive to film, just as much as it would be in the present day; however this just depicts the true harshness and disturbing behaviour that occurred in borstals. The film clearly depicts the severity of the conditions in which the inmates had to deal with; it is this that demonstrates how prison systems have changed.

Scum's interpretation of borstal system in the 1970's is in contrast to today's prison/ detention centres where the environment in which the inmates are exposed to is of a calmer nature. Some may argue that today's prison systems are much more lenient in terms of punishment received and how they are treated in such places. Thus this asserts the question of whether today's prison systems are lenient; is it true that prisons today offer a more privileged system?

There are obvious signs that there were no appropriate rehabilitation schemes for the prisoners in the film.
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Format: DVD
Harrowing, cold-hearted and engrossing are just a few words to describe the 1979 film Scum, directed by Alan Clarke and written by Roy Minton. It shows the apparent brutality within a 1970's British borstal, including hard watching scenes of violence, racism, suicide and most notoriously rape. The film follows the experiences of Ray Winstone's character, "4737, Carlin" and other inmates; as they struggle for justice among themselves and from the crooked wardens.

The film starts with three young men in a police vehicle: Angel, Davis, and Carlin, being driven to a borstal. Scum does not reveal the convictions of these three men, but emphasises more upon the borstal environment. In 1902, borstals were introduced for young male offenders to protect them from the influence of older offenders. They were designed to be religious and educational, with a focus upon military routine, discipline and authority. As shown throughout the film, there was a strong belief on the use of corporal punishment as an effective way to suppress delinquent behaviour. Scum portrayed life within borstals as a continual conflict between the inmates and wardens ("screws") through scenes of violence, racism, suicide and rape. Inmates would fight among each other in order to gain hierarchy power, with the top status as "The Daddy". Wardens would take full advantage of their authority, often beating inmates and turning a blind eye to incidents involving "The Daddy", as he was deemed to have leadership qualities. Scum leads viewers to see the matron as a mother figure for inmates, during group discussion sessions, but similar to the wardens; she does not show any compassion or sympathy towards them.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Prompt dispatch by seller and well packaged. It was like watching a who's who with all the well know faces that were in this film. It was fun trying to name them all as this was probably a debut film for a few.
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By A Customer on 25 May 2000
Format: DVD
As films set in borstal go this has to be one of the best. The cast includes a young Ray Winston and a number of extras from the Bill. The comedy of Archer and the despair of Davies make this a stimulating and disturbing portrayal of life in a young offenders institution. Carling's ascension to the role of 'Daddy' is swift and violent with those who have conspired against him being clinically dealt with. Carling's methods are cold and calculated, but in turn extremely effective. Other characters include Archer, a man whose sole aim in life is to make life difficult for the 'screws' by not conforming to the strict borstal regime.
If you enjoy disturbing British cinema from the seventies then Scum is for you. The violence is graphic and the language is strong, but there is also humour and a genuine insight into the disturbing world of Borstal life.
Back grass..................
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
British, gritty, realistic. This film is well written and acted with intense and cringy moments but keeps you watching as it is that gripping. If you're fed up of over the top hollywood gangster films this one brings everything down to Earth. It shocks and awes. 5 easy stars.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An epic warning about the penal system. The story was originally made for the BBC, who have refused to screen. Alan Parker remade it, this is the result.
Ray Winston plays Carling, there is wall to wall violence, so viewer discretion strongly advised.
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