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Films: C is for...

Cool It Carol

Socialist auteur Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home broke seven shades of new ground for reality-based crusading social drama. Decidedly un-socialist auteur Pete Walker’s grimy magnum opus may only be able to boast two at most, but was still revolutionary for the sex film genre in its own way. ‘Based on a true story’, the film sees the titular petrol pump attendant run off with butcher’s boy Robin Askwith from their dreary Shropshire town for the bright lights of London, where they fall under the insalubrious wing of Jess Conrad, who introduces them to gambling, starring in porn films, and for Carol, ‘entertaining’ a series of wealthy businessmen. Walker lays on the grime and seediness with cynical aplomb, and Askwith in particular is great, far from his cheeky stereotype – even his arse exhibits a certain grittiness. As with Cathy, Carol attracted a fair old dollop of critical opprobrium, not least when Walker revealed he’d changed the ending of the real story – where Askwith’s prototype was caught and slung in Borstal – for a more upbeat return to the country. Astonishingly enough, this slice of parochial British sleaze was a hit in the States to the tune of $2 million.

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