THE FLICKERING IMAGES

The Flickering Images is a blog dedicated to random film reviews, based largely on my ridicules daily film consumption. It's amazing I still have a family, job, hobbies, social network and sleep and reading time! You never know what film will be reviewed here, one day it'll be a 1915 silent classic, next a 60's Z-grade cult classic or a 40's Film Noir, maybe even the latest blockbuster.

Monday, May 16, 2011

THE SECRET WORLD (1969)


THE SECRET WORLD (1969)
REASONS TO WATCH;- Jacqueline Bisset as a blonde,
CAST:- Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Francois Maurin, Giselle Pascal, Pierre Zimmer
DIRECTOR;-Robert Freeman

Now here is an odd little film, it's almost impossible to find, there is no commercial release, and for many years, it was considered the Holy Grail of Jacqueline Bisset fans, many thought the film to be actually lost. I first saw this film on late-night TV when I was a kid, and it made quite an impression on me (I think I was the same age as the boy in the film). After years of hunting, I recently tracked down a copy of the film and sat down to rewatch it.

The Secret World (also known as L'echelle Blanche) was a British/French co-production, and has a rather poor quality soundtrack (it may have been dubbed into English), The film is famous for two things, Ms Bisset in a blonde wig (looking quite amazing) and the fact that the director, Robert Freeman was The Beatles official photographer, and shot all their early album covers. The combination of these two factors leads to a beautiful looking film, and there is some haunting music by the prolific French composer Antoine Duhamel (look him up sometime). The acting is OK, but only just. Maurin was only 12 at the time and I think he is the stand out, Pascal and Zimmer do the best they can with their limited roles, but lets face it, Jacqueline Bisset is mainly on screen for her looks. The plot is fairly thin and there is little depth to the characters. Having said all that, you'd think I'd really disliked the film, but not at all. Maybe I didn't enjoy it as much as when I was 12 and madly in-love with Jackie Bisset, but it was still worth watching, especially if you like late 60's-early 70's introspective mood pieces. 

So, what's the film about? In an old, dilapidated mansion, an orphaned 12 year-old boy lives with his uncle and aunt, spending most of his time in his own little secret world (maybe his autistic?). One day, the uncle's English mistress comes for a visit, under the pretext of being an old friend's daughter. The boy, soon becomes infatuated with Wendy (Bisset), who in-turn, becomes intrigued with him. And so, the film twists and turns around the household's relationships, not much happens, and in the end, she returns to England. All quite sad really, and a bit too slow. Only bother if you are  a fan of the star, that was enough for me when I was 12 and still is.

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