Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

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Cash Flagg
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Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#1 Post by Cash Flagg » Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:45 pm

Apologies if this is not, in fact, a Flipside title. Pre-order is up on Amazon, with a release date of May 17th.
Last edited by Cash Flagg on Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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antnield
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Re: Flipside: Pleasure Girls

#2 Post by antnield » Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:16 pm

Cover art:

Image

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MichaelB
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Re: Flipside: Pleasure Girls

#3 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:16 pm

The sleevenotes:
The Pleasure Girls
A film by Gerry O’Hara

When Sally (Francesca Annis) moves to London to pursue a modelling career, she moves in with Angela (Anneke Wills, Doctor Who) and Dee (Hammer girl Suzanna Leigh) and discovers the world of the carefree bachelor girl. Over a weekend of parties and romantic encounters they learn about life’s pleasures and pains.

With sparkling dialogue and lively performances from its young ensemble cast (including Ian McShane and Klaus Kinski), this delightful drama bears all the hallmarks of director Gerry O’Hara’s (That Kind of Girl) assured style.

Special features:
- Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition;
- Alternative export cut (Blu-ray only, 85 mins);
- Alternative export sequences (DVD only, 13 mins);
- Original theatrical trailer;
- The Rocking Horse (James Scott, 1962, 25 mins): atmospheric short about a romantic encounter between a teddy boy and an artist;
- The Meeting (Mamoun Hassan, 1964, 10 mins): a young woman’s unconventional encounter with a mysterious lover;
- Fully illustrated booklet with contributions by Gerry O’Hara, Professor Sue Harper, and Mamoun Hassan

UK | 1965 | black and white | English language | 85 mins | Original aspect ratio 1.66:1
Disc 1: BD25 | 1080p | 24fps | PCM mono audio (48k/16-bit)
Disc 2: DVD9 | PAL | PCM mono audio (48k/16-bit) (Extras Dolby Digital 320kbps)

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Re: Flipside: Pleasure Girls

#4 Post by Duncan Hopper » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:26 pm

Great stuff.

Any idea if the Flipside chaps are planning any more O'Hara titles? 'The Brute' would make an excellent flipside release.
I don't think it's had a UK release since the old Brent Walker pre-cert tape.

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antnield
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Re: Flipside: Pleasure Girls

#5 Post by antnield » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:37 pm

Duncan Hopper wrote:Any idea if the Flipside chaps are planning any more O'Hara titles?
Not a Flipside release, but Network are releasing O'Hara's Maroc 7 in mid-April.

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Re: Flipside: Pleasure Girls

#6 Post by MichaelB » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:31 am

I can now confirm that this release is region-free.

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reaky
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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#7 Post by reaky » Sun May 16, 2010 7:09 am

I've only had a quick flick through this so far (it looks great), but just want to say: getting the grey Dual Format sticker off the top of the case was a nightmare! If Michael reads this, perhaps he could feed back to the powers that be, please use some easier-peel adhesive on these combo sets. I've knackered the case getting this off millimetre by millimetre (it goes from the front, right over the top, so slicing it and leaving it on isn't an option).

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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#8 Post by tojoed » Sun May 16, 2010 7:44 am

Reaky, MichaelB posted the following in the BFI thread:
We've been waiting with bated breath for finished copies of our first batch of Dual Format Editions (Institute Benjamenta, The Pleasure Girls and The Party's Over) to be delivered to the office, and, now that they have arrived, we are delighted to say that they look great.

However, it is with no small amount of frustration that I need to report a finding about which we are a little unhappy. Each of our new Dual Format Editions features a prominent sticker across the top of pack which indicates that the release contains both a DVD and a Blu-ray disc. The intention was to have this sticker applied to the outside of the shrinkwrap, so that it would be easily removed when the outer wrap was taken off, but it transpires that our manufacturer has applied the sticker directly to the case.

What this means is that when the sticker is peeled away it leaves a sticky residue which, although not permanent, takes a little bit of dedication to remove. (I've found that 'dabbing' with a piece of cellotape does the trick, but any better ideas are more than welcome!)

While this does not constitute anything close to a fault, and although the situation certainly won't give rise to a re-press or the provision of replacement stock, we felt it only right to let you know what to expect if you are planning to buy one or more of these first 3 Dual Format titles.

Rest assured, though, that once the sticker is off, what you're left with is perfect and most pleasing (even if we say so ourselves). Do also rest assured that all future Dual Format Editions will have the sticker applied on the outside of the shrinkwrap only.

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reaky
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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#9 Post by reaky » Sun May 16, 2010 11:26 am

Thanks for that, tojoed. The ordeal I will face with The Party's Over in a day or two will be eased by the knowledge that it will be the last.

Also slightly relieved to find that I'm not the only person who cares about a thing like this. I was worried it seemed a little petty.

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RossyG
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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#10 Post by RossyG » Sun May 16, 2010 5:38 pm

Tear off the glossy part of the sticker and use WD40 and a cloth to remove the remaining paper and glue. It should come off pretty quickly and leave no trace behind.

It worked with my copy of The Pleasure Girls.

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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#11 Post by ellipsis7 » Tue May 18, 2010 6:55 am

Dabbing with sellotape (lots of it), as suggested by BFI, works...

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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#12 Post by ellipsis7 » Tue May 18, 2010 4:15 pm

Watched it now, wonderful transfer and surprisingly sophisticated storyline, integrating proto feminist and also pro gay attitudes into a narrative that was marketed as exploitative, but instead is enlightened and entertaining... Annis, McShane & Kinski always engaging, the young Annis especially charismatic...

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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#13 Post by MichaelB » Wed May 26, 2010 5:42 am


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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#14 Post by RossyG » Thu May 27, 2010 5:20 am

I watched this last night and really enjoyed it. For some reason all the Kinski stuff reminded me of An Education. The two short films it came with were great, too.

BTW, was that a young and uncredited Brian "Play Away" Cant I saw at the bar in the pub scene? He has one line of dialogue and then leaves the frame. It's the same scene when we see Julian Holloway's character for the first time.

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antnield
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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#15 Post by antnield » Thu May 27, 2010 9:35 am

RossyG wrote:BTW, was that a young and uncredited Brian "Play Away" Cant I saw at the bar in the pub scene? He has one line of dialogue and then leaves the frame. It's the same scene when we see Julian Holloway's character for the first time.
IMDb seems to think so...

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RossyG
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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#16 Post by RossyG » Thu May 27, 2010 9:38 am

Cheers, antnield. I should have checked there first. :)


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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#18 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:34 am


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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#19 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:14 am


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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#20 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:15 am


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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#21 Post by MichaelB » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:02 am

Oxford Times (scroll down to the bottom).

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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#22 Post by cdnchris » Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:49 pm


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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#23 Post by MichaelB » Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:24 pm


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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#24 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:42 am

"Don't you see, you were putting me on that gambling table...well you lost, and you lost me"

Another great Gerry O'Hara film! This one is actually an ensemble piece, following the fortunes of a group of girls sharing a bedsit building in the big city together (all headspinningly introduced in the first scene as a new arrival gets whirled through the building!), and the various encounters they each have with men! We mainly follow three contrasting sets of couples, new arrival Sally and her banter with the randy youth Keith (played by the baby faced looking Ian McShane, which is quite shocking to see after getting used to his craggy features from that Deadwood show! He's a terrible dancer in this film though, almost as unsuited for it as Oliver Reed, and unfortunately the film has to stop for a couple of minutes in the firework party scene for a musical number to force him to dance even more!); Marion and her feckless boyfriend Prinny; and Dee, who is in a relationship with the landlord of the building, as well as many other slum buildings, Nikko, played by again a shockingly youthful Klaus Kinski!

All the main characters initially interact in the building, then we get their male companions introduced in the party scene that follows, which seems to portray the most dangerous firework party in the history of the world! People running around with sparklers and sticking them in each other's faces, standing two feet away from an exploding Catherine wheel, and for some reason deciding that a wooden trellis is the best place to stick fireworks into! No wonder the actors in that scene look believably nervous and scared, when not running for their lives! Who would have anticipated that this could have been the most dangerous scene that Klaus Kinski was ever involved in! (But I guess this does make this post relevant to all of the 5th November Bonfire Night celebrations!)

Among the slightly less focused on characters there are Sally's best friend Angela, and also an Australian girl who is naturally called Cobber! And Dee's brother Paddy who gets shockingly accidentally outed during the final stretch of the film where all of the relationships seem to be crumbling around the girls, as Sally runs in for comfort only to find him in the arms of another man! Though all of the signs were there long before: Paddy's 'business partner' bitchily complaining that Paddy never takes his side in arguments; Paddy being in the 'rag trade' (so, fashion); the way that Keith calls him 'wet' (I just thought Paddy was auditioning for a Norman Wisdom-type nervous tic performance in the early stages!); and in particular the way that Paddy is the only guy living in the building and seems to get away quite quickly with being all touchy-feely with the girls, which they do not take as any kind of sexual threat. He has a great scene of taking tea around to everyone in the morning, cheering them up and even getting in bed with them! So it seems as if everyone but Sally already knew about his 'dark secret', especially in the way that the other girl Angela says that if Paddy's 'business partner' "was like all men, then I'd shoot myself!", which initially just seems to be about the way that the business partner is rude and grumpy! But all of the 'clues' were there!

The homosexuality subplot is dealt with quite well though, with Paddy calming Sally down about it, and he's not treated like a monster for his revelation. Though this being a couple of years before homosexuality was legalised it still cannot really be named outright just yet, but instead treated euphemistically! In comparison the idea of getting something done about an unwanted pregnancy is treated euphemistically at the start of the film, which makes the matter of fact use of the word "abortion" later on seem shocking! One of the fascinating things about a film so much of its period as this one is that it kind of works as a fascinating barometer of the mores of a society at a particular time. Of what was seen to be acceptable and what not, of how women and men should behave in courtships and relationships and so on. The Pleasure Girls feels perfectly of its time, and that is what makes it such a valuable document.

Abortion comes up in the subplot between Marion and Prinny, with Prinny being the worst guy in the whole film, forcing Marion to give up her family brooch to supposedly pay for a backstreet abortionist, but which Prinny uses to get money which he then gambles away on the baccarat tables, in a great scene in which a flouncy 'chemmy tart' gives him gambling encouragement and then drops him with a "Do us a favour and drop dead!" line once he has lost all his money! Unfortunately he is now in debt to the mob and has no brooch and has a pregnant girlfriend who thinks he is sorting everything out for her! He is the kind of character who really deserves to get hung in his underwear on a chair outside his window high above the street!

There is the wonderful send off shot for Prinny's character when after Marion leaves him and he tries unsuccessfully to get back into the bedsit, he wanders down the steps of the building and over to the camera that he looks into in close up and tries unsuccessfully to justify himself to, before wandering off again into the night. He is speaking to Sally and Keith who have been watching him in the car, but this makes for a great moment of fourth wall breaking too, as Prinny seems desperately trying to justify himself to the watching audience in the theatre too! This is one of the best aspects of O'Hara's films - that even the obviously idiotic and 'bad' guys who perform the worst acts are still people wanting to be understood.

On that note, The Pleasure Girls is also a rare film in which Klaus Kinski isn't a crazy person, though I was left feeling (wonderfully) ambivalent about his character too. He is introduced in the firework party casually admitting to his gambling addiction before he and Dee almost immediately leave to hit the gambling tables (later on we will see him absent mindedly putting coins into a slot machine in another example of an easy come, easy go attitude to money). We next see him doing his best Le Chiffre imitation at the gambling table playing Baccarat chemin de fer, which was apparently popular enough in London at this point in time (presumably due to Fleming's Casino Royale novel and the Bond films in general?) that the girls hanging on the arms of the gamblers can refer to each other as "chemmy tarts"!

While Sally and Keith are sort of the main audience identification relationship, with Sally wanting Keith to hold on for a while before they go off happily together in the end (the only real conflict that they have is over Keith's desperation for sex causing them to have an argument, which seems fine compared to what everyone else is dealing with in their third act crises!), and Marion and Prinny are the 'cautionary tale', it sort of seems that the relationship between Dee and Nikko is the most interesting one here. Nikko is kind of a monster, in the sense that we see him patrolling the slums that he is a landlord of with a threatening Alsatian dog and causing so much ill will among his tenants that they all club together to hire some goons to beat Nikko up! (Which I guess itself proves that they had spare rent money to do that, but I digress!). Yet he is a refined and cultured monster, living in luxury and fully acknowledging to Dee of his shady business practices and gambling addiction. And Dee is fully aware that Nikko is already married to someone else!

In a way Prinny is there as much to contrast to Nikko as to have his troubles with Marion. Prinny is kind of the 'failed Bond' figure of the film, the one who is attempting casual sex but ends up making his latest girl pregnant and the guy who is presumably imagining making double his money at chemin de fer (despite already having gotten double his money from selling the brooch to Nikko in the first place!) and then ends up a chain smoking nervous wreck at the gambling table as Dee and Nikko observe from afar.

Whereas Nikko is the 'successful Bond mastervillain' who keeps his cool, has both wife and mistress, and has the decadent lifestyle to match! I guess this makes Dee the 'Pussy Galore' of the film! I think Dee ends up the strongest character by far in the entire film, as she is the one who asks Nikko for a practical thing like a car instead of getting furs from being his moll, and she also jumps into the driver's seat to let Nikko dive into the car when he is first about to get beaten up by the hired goons. The brief scenes between Dee and Nikko are extremely romantic and suggest that the couple really do care about each other, with Dee wanting to give the brooch back to Marion being accepted quickly by Nikko as the right thing to do, and that buying it was still like buying a gift for her. Dee also ends up saving Nikko from the final belt whipping in the car park when the thugs finally corner him (On that note, what is it about British gangster films of the period and fetishistic belt whipping scenes? This, Performance and Man of Violence all like to have someone get roughly stripped to the waist and tied up for a bit of S&M style whipping! Perhaps it is the lack of guns? Perhaps it is the public school caning stuff getting recontextualised to a working class milieu? Perhaps it just looks interestingly violent on film, even when the film tastefully cuts away from the actual whipping itself, as it does here. Though the 'export cut' of the film actually does show the whipping going on, which in some ways is less impactful than cutting away from it!), and they have a wonderful parting scene in the hospital that is only topped by Dee passing another woman in the corridor outside, with each turning to take a long glance at the other before they move on, Dee knowing that the affair is over now that Nikko's wife has returned to his side.

This subplot seems to be moving towards the surprisingly touching and non-judgemental approach to the adulterous affair that is the main focus of All The Right Noises, and it works really well here too, especially the way that the love affair between Dee and Nikko is touching on the individual level whilst on pulling back it can also be showing adultery and that Nikko is a violent and coercive landlord/gangster! Dee can even, quite understandably, be seen as a gold digger (the main reason she foils the final beating is that she left a valuable ring Nikko gave her in his car and so comes back to retrieve it), but there is an acknowledgement and acceptance in that relationship of the roles they have to play within it. Neither party is pulling the wool over the other's eyes and both Dee and Nikko feel to have the frankest, and most honest, relationship together out of all the characters.

Which brings us to main couple of Sally and Keith, who are perhaps the least interesting characters in the film but that comes as a relief from all the drama elsewhere. This is just a normal tentative romance with a bit of odd couple banter and a small argument over wanting sex sooner or later that Paddy rightly says to Sally shouldn't mean anything if Keith truly does love her. It might seem like a nothing subplot but this one helps to bring the audience into the world (the film begins with Sally's journey from her family home to London, and ends with Sally and Keith driving off away from the bedsit together to go off to college after the most tumultuous weekend of their lives!), contrasts against the other more showy storylines and also lets both Sally and Keith become observational characters witnessing the troubles of the others too. It also works to provide a cooling off period between the more dramatic stuff.

It's a great film, and it was fascinating to see Gerry O'Hara working in an ensemble drama after the other films focused more on just one relationship. All of his films that have been released under the Flipside label are worth checking out, and in struggling for contemporary comparisons I guess Gerry O'Hara could be described as the Noah Baumbach of late 60s and early 70s London relationship scene! (That does make me wonder what the Baumbach version of The Bitch would be!)

I would warn though that the title track is in the vein of an 'empowering' Nancy Sinatra song - slightly aggravating and annoying with its simplistic, proactive lyrics about youth and grabbing hold of love, but also so irritatingly catchy that I have the feeling that I'm going to be humming it for months to come!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat Nov 07, 2015 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Flipside 010: The Pleasure Girls

#25 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Nov 07, 2015 6:52 am

The 'export cut' of the film is interesting with just a few minor variations. Nikko's belt whipping actually happens in this version, with a move in close to Kinski's face as he is getting whipped, rather than cutting away just as the first blow is about to hit in the other version. And the beatnik party now has a happy girl posing nude (with the usual artist with sketch pad and goatee drawing her hungrily!) in the middle of it!

They are just minor additions (amounting to barely a minute) but it is interesting to compare them to the extra 'export cut' scenes in Pete Walker's The Big Switch. Both films are superficially detouring the film into boobs and torture for a while but the small moments here in The Pleasure Girls feel as if they actually were intended for the film and got cut out, compared to the nude scenes feeling more like goofy extensions of the actual scenes that have no narrative function and kind of derail the plot in The Big Switch!

The nude girl in the beatnik party scene is showing the only breasts in the film, with the rest of The Pleasure Girls much more focused on the cast in their nightgowns or slightly more daringly their bare backs, such as Dee when she gets up from the sunbed, or Marion lying on her front in bed. So it is a bit of a shock to see the nude model, but keeping this moment in also helps the rest of the scene as the nude model tops and tails it, whereas just the middle section of this scene without showing this character in the corner is present in the other version. It also suddenly explains why the posh guy who gatecrashes the party looks off screen and does a little "Oh!" of surprise when you know what he has just seen!

I could take or leave the longer belt whipping. It is interesting to see just how far the film pushes Nikko getting his comeuppance, which makes it more obvious that he is paying for his slum landlord activities, but the impact does get lost after the first few pained grimaces (although compared to the cigar burning scene in The Big Switch, which gets hilariously drawn out until it is just a bunch of actors mushing wet leaves into another's chest and trying not to giggle, the scene here is still pretty brief and 'in character'!)

So in comparison to The Big Switch, where you should watch the shorter cut of the film, I'd probably say just watch the export cut of The Pleasure Girls - this film is not radically changed either way, but you get to see some extra bits and the beatnik scene plays better as a whole piece! (I'm glad though that the best moment in the beatnik scene, the couple canoodling on the sofa pushing the Spanish guitarist away in annoyance when he gets too close, is in both versions!)

I loved the two extra short films. Both are silent with some post dubbed voiceover in the case of The Rocking Horse and some atmospheric mournful music for The Meeting. The Rocking Horse has a teddy boy (styled like James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause, or Marlon Brando in The Wild One with his insouciant mannerisms and leather jacket), after a somewhat grumpy voiceover about wanting to prove to the world that he is alive and present, riding his motorcycle around London, picking up a mate and seeing the nightlife. He almost runs over a rather dour lady before chatting her up and walking her home. They have sex (though the film focuses much more on post-coitus, with dissolves from one position cuddled up together and stroking each others backs, to another) and then the next morning Mr Grumpy wakes up, raids the kitchen, sees the girl has painted a picture of him, stabs the canvas (everyone's a critic! But it is perhaps also like leaving his signature, and the way the girl strokes the cut straight down the face of the portrait suggests that is the final touch she needed) and walks out and back to his bike. We get some more monologue thinking about the girl, wondering if he'll see her but not being bothered either way, and he rides off into the morning. Or rather we leave him on the street outside the cafe futilely trying to kickstart his bike!

As you might tell the teddy boy is a complete arse (also petty thief too! And for some reason just leaves his bike in the street outside the cafe and the girl's whisk running in the kitchen! Perhaps that is saying something about a causal picking up and dropping of things without any care or concern about them), but also the more pitiable figure in the end as he seems shaken ("She made me feel lonely") and infuriated by the girl appropriating him. While the girl herself appears to have gotten the inspiration, as well as the one night stand, that she needed from the encounter!

Even better is the wordless film The Meeting, which starts with a woman walking through the countryside, through a deserted early morning town and into a station, where she waits on an empty platform nervously. She almost leaves at one point (in a beautiful shot silhouetted by the light at the end of a dark tunnel) before walking all the way back to us and onto the platform again. She gets startled by a train that barrels through the station without stopping, and seems worried that this was the train that she had been waiting for. Then finally a steam train arrives and stops at the station, she sees her lover looking out of the carriage door and runs to him. They embrace in a beautiful set of shots that dissolve to different shots of them embracing (which pairs it up extremely well with the similar and unusual, but perfect, use of the same in The Rocking Horse), until suddenly the train blows its whistle to start up again. Both look up shocked and we suddenly get an insert shot of the handcuffs on the man's wrists. He is pulled back inside the carriage and the train leaves the station, and the woman is alone again on the empty platform.

The last shot of the film is a beautiful extreme long shot of the tiny figure walking through the empty streets of the town, presumably back where she came from. I particularly loved that you could just as easily read this as a kind of political allegory as much as a doomed romance!

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