London in the Raw (1965)

Posted By: Someonelse
London in the Raw (1965)

London in the Raw (1965)
DVD9 | VIDEO_TS | PAL 4:3 (720x576) | 73 mins | 7,53 Gb
Audio: English AC3 2.0 @ 320 Kbps | Subtitles: English SDH
Genre: Documentary | UK

'The World's greatest city laid bare! Thrill to its gay excitement, its bright lights, but be shocked by the sin in its shadows!' Following on from his Take Off Your Clothes and Live, and influenced by the world-wide success of Italian 'Mondo' movies, which combined documentary footage with staged sequences of salacious effect, legendary British low budget movie mogul Arnold Miller concocted this fascinating exploitation-style documentary. Peering voyeuristically behind the grimy net-curtains of London life into seedy bars and clubs for beatnik 'art lovers', and burrowing beneath the glittering facade of the capital's glamorous cocktail lounges and casinos, London in the Raw provides a cynical, sometimes startling vision of life on and off the rain-spattered streets of 1960s London.

IMDB
BFI

London in the Raw (1965)

Although being inspired by and heavily publicised as an example of exploitational ‘Mondo’ documentary filmmaking, there is something of a legitimate purpose behind Arnold Miller’s London In The Raw. Behind the rather colourful look at swinging life in 1960’s London that lies somewhere between public information film and sensationalised documentary, the film not inadvertently captures the contradiction between the reserved nature of the English people and their conflicted attitudes towards the growing permissive society that was changing rapidly in the post-war years. It’s also an opportunity to legitimately show naked women on the screen.

London in the Raw (1965)

The documentary sets out this contrast and conflict of ideals right from the outset, showing the respect for tradition and propriety that is ingrained in the national character and considering whether in this post-Profumo scandal society attitudes on traditional values, class boundaries and those all-important keeping up of appearances persist. Inevitably, London In The Raw discovers and takes pains to point out that hypocrisy is rife, looking at the new betting laws and discovering that “it’s the same race, the same horses, but at least now it’s respectable”, and looking at a typical London street corner and finding that an old man can be prosecuted for playing a tin-whistle on the street under the 1959 Street Offenses Act, while the immoral actions of prostitutes, whose trade the Act was designed to clean-up, can continue to ply for trade from the windows of their rented rooms by calling out to “friends” on the street.

London in the Raw (1965)

But what is that lurking behind the appearances of this seemingly innocent and educational documentary itself? Hypocrisy perhaps? Well, the manner in which the latter example is handled provides a clue as do other similar strongly contrasted, sensationalised and opportunistic examples (“we happened to look in on ladies day” on a visit to one of those new-fangled gyms where the women use implements that “would have delighted the Marquis de Sade”), the film elsewhere similarly delights in showing the hypocrisy in what is permissible in society by pushing those boundaries itself, setting itself out as a serious study of the evolution in English attitudes, but delighting in being able to show nudity, immoral and anti-social behaviour and drug dealing in a way that would otherwise be unacceptable on the screen at this time.

London in the Raw (1965)

Louis Miller and collaborator Stanley Long are well used to this bending of the rules by this point, having worked together on films that extolled the virtues of naturism as an opportunity to show as much naked flesh as possible, and exploiting the public’s fascination with the behind-closed-doors prostitution by exploring the “step into degradation and eventual self-disgust” of this “sickness” in West End Jungle (1961). One can’t help noticing in London In The Raw the same bright, mildly chiding, insincere semi-moralistic tone adopted by the narrator and the up-beat jazzy soundtrack that seem rather at odds from the impartiality we have come to expect of documentary filmmaking (one very different from the other examples of short documentary work from this period included in the extra features by way of comparison).

London in the Raw (1965)

And yet, London In The Raw remains a fascinating historical document, not in spite of its more outré elements, but because of them, showing a side of London and changing English attitudes – staged though some of them undoubtedly are – that might then have been regarded as trivial, frivolous and unworthy of coverage by more serious documentary makers. With time however, London In The Raw proves to be a valuable record of a rapidly changing society, one that sees England moving away from post-war austerity into a modern world closer to the one we recognise today. At this point in time however there is a fascinating juxtaposition in the placing of old English faces alongside this new exotic, glamorous and multicultural setting, showing a permissive and liberal lifestyle to aspire to, but one that is at odds with the powerful pull of tradition and the keeping-up of appearances – contradictions in the English character, law and attitudes towards filmmaking that London In The Raw delights in exploiting to the fullest.

London in the Raw (1965)

Much like Miller’s West End Jungle, neither the somewhat ambivalent, insincere and mocking tone adopted by the filmmakers, nor the obvious and sensationalised staging of some scenes invalidate the documentarian aspects of the subject, but rather fit in well with the period, making this a fascinating historical document. Arnold Miller’s uncategorisable Mondo-docu-drama London In The Raw certainly sets an interesting tone and a high standard in terms of quality and supplements for similar curiosities to follow.
London in the Raw (1965)

Special Features:
- Alternative, more explicit, version of the feature (44:59)
- Three 60s London Sketches: Pub (Peter Davis, 1962, 15:15), Chelsea Bridge Boys (Peter Davis, Staffan Lamm, 1966, 29:56), Strip (Peter Davis, Staffan Lamm, Don Defina, 1966, 25:09)
- Original Theatrical Trailer
London in the Raw (1965)


Many Thanks to zoneyoutwonk.


No More Mirrors.

Download:





Interchangable links.