Saturday, 30 October 2010

Whore

Fans of Ken Russell are well accustomed to taking the rough with the smooth when it comes to the director's long career in film making. Whore from 1991 is significant in that it would be Russell's last good film, his filmography from then on is a wasteland of mediocre, uninteresting projects. The film is a day in the life portrait of an LA prostitute trying to make a quick buck under the nose of her former boss, a violent and dangerous pimp who's patrolling the streets looking to recoup his investment...

The film, adapted from the David Hines one-woman play Bondage, which Hines wrote based on conversations the playwright had with a number of prostitutes he regularly drove home whilst working as cab driver in London. Russell's transposing of the play to Los Angeles might seem drastic but the director rarely opens up the film, retaining the tight claustrophobic set ups of the stage play, with most of the film taking place in bathrooms, bedrooms, strip bars, empty sidewalks and anonymous public spaces.


The strength of the film leans heavily on Theresa Russell, her performance as the foul mouthed Liz is very impressive, most of the time speaking directly to the camera about her unhappy life before drifting into the prostitution, the do's and don't's of hooking and the constant dangers she faces - abuse, humiliation, violence and at one point a vicious gang rape. Good turns too from Antonio Fargas as a homeless man and impromptu guardian angel, and Benjamin Mouton playing Blake, Liz's sadistic pimp, grumbling about the price of rubbers and abortions. Look out too for a quick cameo from Eraserhead's Jack Nance and an early appearance by Danny Trejo as a tattoo artist.

Whore is grim stuff to be sure, but the film is not without humour - Liz dishes out hilarious swipes at male sexual sensibilities, and ultimately the film is a realistic and sensitive treatment of the oldest profession and a far more potent film than Hollywood trash like Pretty Woman. And this being a Ken Russell film, expect plenty of sleaze and sex.

Ken Russell's film Lair of the White Worm on a double-bill with, uh Space Sluts Go to College...

As far as I know, Whore has not surfaced on DVD in the UK or North America, (where its US VHS release was sometimes repackaged as If You Can’t Say It, Just See It (?)). I believe there was German DVD at one point but its most likely out of print now. In the meantime, check the comments for a very good, uncut VHS rip.

3 comments:

  1. http://rapidshare.com/files/59769633/Whore_www.surrealmoviez.info_.part1.rar
    http://rapidshare.com/files/59774884/Whore_www.surrealmoviez.info_.part2.rar
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    http://rapidshare.com/files/59791120/Whore_www.surrealmoviez.info_.part7.rar

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  2. I loved walking in a video store when this was a new release on VHS - and there in thr W section - 25 video boxes saying If You Can’t Say It, Just See It - because no one wanted the word Whore 25 times up there. I saw it on cable one night - a decent enough movie - and I agree Russell's last good one. I do prefer Crimes of Passion though - because that one gets you Anthony Perkins.

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  3. At least you guys had it on the shelf, the video was famously banned in Ireland, although I later got the UK Palace video on a trip to London (along with The Abyss: Director's Cut - what a combination!). I agree, it's no Crimes of Passion but a good film nevertheless...

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