Friday, July 22, 2011

Corruption (UK, 1967)

dir: Robert Hartford-Davis

In the early 2000s, Henrik Larsen (of Obskuriøst magazine) and I used to hook up with a fellow friend for film nights once a month. This went on for a number of years and needless to say we got to watch a lot of films. Some films I remember, some I don't, but one film I remember vividly - altho I never even watched the damn thing - is CORRUPTION! For some reason Henrik never screened it and we just kept talking about how he was gonna make me a dvd-r dupe some day. Jump to 7 or 8 years later (i.e. NOW!), we no longer meet for film nights, Henrik has moved to the outskirts of civilisation, our former fellow friend is gone... but... I have... finally... received CORRUPTION from Henrik!! LMAO.

Peter Cushing plays a famous doctor who's going to marry an equally famous fashion model. Cushing's character is considerably older than his love interest. At the beginning of the movie this comes across in that he's too tired to go to a party (very 60s style party!) and once he's finally there he's not at all comfortable with the youngsters and their modern dancing. When his girlfriend's photographer decides to take photos of the doctor's gf at the party, and step by step makes her undress, it becomes too much for the ol'e doctor. A fistfight between the two breaks out and unfortunately one of the big spotlights falls over and hits the girlfriend burning her right side of the face to a crisp. What to do, what to do???

The doctor starts frantically to go thru old Egyptian books in order to find the answer - and he finds one: A gland is the answer! The gland from another young person mind you! So off to the hospital to get a gland from a recently deceased patient. At home he performs an operation on his girlfriend and voila, her face is restored. But needless to say it wouldn't be a horror movie if the Happy End occurred 15 minutes into the film, LOL, and soon the effect of the new gland wears off, and a new gland has to be found; This time a more fresh one - from another recently deceased young woman... and I'm sure I don't have to mention what goes with the territory... the doctor makes sure the deceased lady is VERY recently deceased! Soon after the effect of this new gland starts to wear off as well so obviously the only solution is to...

Well, no more spoilers from me. Watch the film and find out! CORRUPTION is really good and Peter Cushing's performance is outstanding (but then again, has he ever done a bad performance?). The film is well directed and there's not a dull moment to be found. The 60s jazz music score fits the film well and the pace is fast all the way thru. There's quite a bit of violence and crazy behaviour, and towards the end the film even shifts into a CLOCKWORK ORANGE'ian mode! The end is quite something.

CORRUPTION is a bit of a forgotten film and that's definitely a pity. The film exists in two slightly different versions; the original UK print and an export print made for the European market. The difference is a scene in which the doctor kills a prostitute in her room, this scene was filmed twice. The original version has quite a bit of dialogue and ends with the doctor knifing the girl. In the Euro version you see the girl topless and there's quite a bit of gore as the doctor cuts her head off. Interestingly enough, the prostitute in the two versions is played by two different actresses. Maybe the first actress wasn't happy with the nudity in the Euro version (or it was filmed later and she wasn't available for the shoot).

Being a gore-hound I hate to say this but the toned down scene in the original version is the better one of the two. The more explicit Euro version looks rushed and isn't staged nor played all that well. But of course it has NUDITY and GORE!! LOL. Henrik was so kind as to include the Euro scene on my dvd-r (from a tape of a less good picture quality. I'm aware the Euro version exists on a tape from France but I can't remember which version Henrik's Euro copy originates from).

Unfortunately, there is only one DVD release of the film; A Spanish DVD that has censored out the entire murder scene that I just mentioned (i.e. it's not a matter of their using the toned down version; no, the scene is completely missing! Go figure!). I saw one web site that sells a bootleg which is being advertised as "the uncut UK theatrical print" but the cover they're using is the Spanish DVD cover so I reckon they didn't do their homework and that it's the cut version they're selling. Boo-hoo, and bollox to them!!! Apparently the TV channel TCM in the US showed the uncut UK version on cable TV at some stage and the picture quality is probably better than the Aussie VHS (altho the VHS is pretty decent). But in any case, no matter which version you'll be able to get hold of I highly recommend CORRUPTION.

Above: Cushing with the actress in the "clothed, non gory" scene from the original UK print.

- And here the European version with a different actress.

- And here two screen grabs of the *goodies* that the Europeans got and the sensitive British audiences didn't: NUDITY...

...and GORE!

Thanks to Henrik Larsen for the dvd-r. :D