An American businessman visits London and is horrified to discover his nubile teenage daughter has become involved with a gang of thuggish "beatniks". Her involvement leads to wild parties, sex, death and necrophilia.
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Jean Van Hearn
A British petty criminal lies to his son about his frequent prison terms by inventing honorable plausible explanations for his absences from home, but things get complicated when his son becomes a judge's assistant.
Melina is the spoiled daughter of an American industrialist. Despite being engaged to Carson who works for her father, Melina chooses to spend her days in London where she's constantly partying with her British beatnik friends. The leader of the British beatnik group she's hanging with is Moise. He has a girlfriend and also sleeps with other girls in the group but he mostly wants Melina in his bed. Maybe that's because Melina plays hard-to-get. Melina's industrialist father, Ben, is worried about her activities and sends his trusted manager and future son-in-law, Carson, to track Melina down and bring her back to the USA. When Carson arrives in London, Melina gets wind of it and avoids him, constantly running and hiding, changing her address, frustrating Carson's efforts to find her. However, Carson starts making some progress when he moves in the same apartment building as Melina and her friends. Carson also begins to hang out at the same beatnik parties as Melina and her friends. ...Written by
The party may have been over for the beatniks who form the centerpiece of this strange but compelling film, but for the rest of London it was just beginning. Unusually for a British production of this vintage (1963) it doesn't fit easily in any genre. An American girl who has been hanging around with the 'beats' goes missing amid lurid rumours of rape and even necrophilia. The atmosphere is one of existential angst laced and a fin de siecle fatalism, all conveyed by way of some studiously framed b&w photography. Aside from some clunky dialogue and plumy accents this could easily be French, perhaps because the story is by Marc Behm an American expat based in France who wrote Eye of the Beholder, later transposed by Claude Miller into the excellent thriller Mortelle Radonnee starring Isabelle Adjani.
Oliver Reed plays the leader of the 'beats' in such manner that you feel the void each time he's off-screen, he really is terrific and makes the rest of the cast look like the b-movie stalwarts they were. Particularly dreadful is Mike Pratt who plays Geronimo, an artist/drummer. The party scenes with all the beats lounging around or trying to twist to modern jazz are great,as is the jazz itself with John Barry and Annie Ross contributing.
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