Friday, 29 March 2013

The Sin In Its Shadows

Mondo films are, in essence, exploitation documentaries, i.e. they focus on the seamier, sleazier, bloody side of life and, although they are often as staged as carefully as traditional narrative films, they present it all in the name of truth, disdainfully holding a mirror up to this awful world whilst simultaneously zooming in on a load of breasts.

‘London In The Raw’ shows us various sides of our fantastic / terrible capital that the tourists don’t normally see (unless they’re sex tourists or, perhaps, sexy tourists). Much of it is fairly innocuous, however, although occasionally not for the squeamish (a hair transplant is shown in all its gory glory, for instance), but more or less everything comes with a side order of dimpled and goose-bumped female flesh: a tawdry cavalcade of prostitutes, clip joint girls and strippers, many of whom have enormous hair. Or do they? Given how obviously faked many of the sequences are, they could just be wearing wigs. The overall effect reminds me of a tourist information film directed by Benny Hill.
Occasionally monotonous, but generally very watchable, ‘London In The Raw’ was the second in a trilogy of London Mondo films made by sleaze meister (but generally nice guy) Arnold Louis Miller. The first ‘West End Jungle’ focused on prostitution; the third, ‘Primitive London’ will be under discussion tomorrow.           

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