Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Passenger (1975)

Michealangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger (1975) is one of those special films where the director manages to create a unique and haunting sense of place, prior to introducing his characters. As the lead wades his way into the shot, through challenging sand dunes in the film’s opening scenes, the pace is set for the rest of this intelligent and innovative thriller.

Initially a tale of identity theft, the film also explores notions of truth, coincidence and fate, not only within the film, but also in the viewers perception of events.  Jack Nicholson, plays David Locke, a Gonzo documentarian living in Africa, whilst attempting to complete a job on Chad rebels overcoming the oppressive government. In his lodgings he meets charismatic stranger, Robertson (Charles Mulvehill). The two strike up a close friendship, but when Locke finds his friend lifeless on his bed, he decides to escape from the misery and trappings of his own life, by assuming the dead man’s identity.

Up to this moment, the film offers no musical score, just the breath and the breeze. As Locke gets to action, hacking away at the photograph in his passport, audio of the mens' initial introduction overlaps and it’s here where, Antonioni uses the sway of the camera to transport the viewer back and forth through time, until a clear picture of their relationship has been painted. As Locke hovers above Robertson’s body and stares into his eyes, there is a level of ambiguity, both in the nature of their relationship and the circumstances surrounding the death. Later, the nameless “girl” played by Maria Scheneider, will reverse this move on Locke himself, signalling his fate.

Leaving Africa for Europe, Locke finds himself in meetings with gunrunners and becomes aware that he has assumed the identity of a dangerous man. Having dumped his old life, in exchange for one much worse and with greater complications, Locke (now Robinson) finds himself being investigated by his wife, who believes Robinson may have information on the cause of death.

Short on traditional “action”, the film relies on mounting tension via Locke’s angst and the net that slowly closes in on him. Reading similar to Patricia Highsmith’s tales and no doubt, casting influence on Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr Ripley (1999), the viewer is asked to sit back and witness the protagonist bury himself alive.

It sounds like a slapstick affair, a hopeless fool on the run with a disastrous assumed identity but Antonioni’s direction and a brilliantly charismatic performance from Jack Nicholson make this thriller something else. The Passenger is intriguing from start to finish, fantasy and reality repeatedly and disastrously clash throughout. Locke is a discontented soul who runs away from his life and tries, yet fails, to run away from himself. Although finally liberated, he eventually learns that the grass isn’t always greener and ultimately leaves us behind bars, losing himself to the other side forever and completely.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Grunge on Film: Gun Crazy (1992)

1992, the year following the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind and the year bands like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Mudhoney jumped on the bandwagon and increased in popularity, ‘Grunge' was a term that had been gradually introduced into the mainstream and one year on, was fast becoming commercialised. This was the year that Cameron Crowe coughed up Singles (1992), Hollywood’s attempt to encapsulate their understanding of grunge on the big screen and what an embarrassment that was too. Cameo’s from key figures of the scene including Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder were shoehorned into the movie in an attempt to up the zeitgeist, yet these latecomers only added to the film’s overall contrivance making the whole effort completely misguided. That same year, a small, independent film was released, starring Drew Barrymore, a regular in the tabloids back then, Gun Crazy (1992) was released with little fanfare and with no association whatsoever with the term “grunge”. The film is no masterpiece, yet in hindsight it fortuitously captures the essence of that bygone era, perhaps more so than any other movie ever claimed to. 

Barrymore plays Anita, a troubled young outcast. Ostracised at school and sexually abused at home, Anita is desperately lonely and has no concept of optimism. Her teacher sets an assignment, encouraging the students to correspond with a pen pal and Anita soon begins a long distance relationship with a prisoner named Harold (James LeGros). The compassion within the letters enables Anita with a newfound confidence, allowing her the ability to stand up to her abusive step-father (Joe Dallesandro). Harold expresses an interest in guns. Keen to keep in with him, Anita begins to take lessons from her step-father, much to his detriment, as his lights are swiftly put out, with a well aimed bullet to the back of the head. Upon his release from prison, the two meet up and a whirlwind romance ensues along with an increasing body count of wrong-doers, things, it seem can only get worse for the perilous soul-mates. 

Directed by Tamra Davis, the film has a distinctly dull aesthetic which complements the grit in the plot. The landscapes are filtered, adding permeation to Anita’s pessimistic and inescapable lull. As the couple are brought together through their letters, the imagery overlapping the spoken narrative allows the viewer to see both how inordinately sexual Anita has become, and how she sees herself in the wake of the abuse she has suffered. Harold’s obsession with guns, we soon discover,  is a form of compensation for his impotence. When the pair initially meet, Harold presents Anita with a painting of two silhouettes. Following a later kill, Davis brings the painting to life beautifully. With dirt on the lens, the two bond over a shallow grave. This naturalistic couple were very much meant to be, unlike say Micky and Mallory, the cartoonish couple of Oliver Stone’s gratuitous Natural Born Killers (1994). Whilst the protagonists would, as the title suggests, be considered as crazy, cold hearted killers, their histories and the vulnerabilities the actors express in their performance allow you to empathise with both them and their tragic circumstances. This is not a film about a pair of gun slinging, callous love birds, at its core, Gun Crazy is an allegory on the dark consequences of abuse. Barrymore is perfectly cast as Anita. Only sixteen at the time of filming, she brings crucial vulnerability to the role as well as the essence of the hyper-sexualised, girl-gone-wild constitution that had been created on her behalf by tabloid magazines of the late 80s and early 90s. 

LeGros, as Harold, plays a subtle second fiddle, seemingly aware that this is definitely Barrymore’s film and Warhol’s famous poster boy, Joe Dallesandro adds a spurt of kudos as Anita’s step-father. The locations used within the film, sit comfortably with what we now recall of the grunge era; derelict buildings line the streets, characters live in trailers and the kids favourite hang-out is a rubbish dump. The costumes are also notoriously of the time as characters wear plaid shirts, second-hand suits, dungarees and denim and the true beauty of it is that it is all entirely incidental. Davis had previously worked on Sonic Youth’s Goo videos along with fellow upcoming director Todd Haynes and had subconsciously continued to capture the spirit and pessimistic attitude of the era. The understated soundtrack features Suicidal Tendencies, Sonic Youth, Helmet and Grunttruck, again, not to make this a “grunge” film, just because of the period. By no means is Gun Crazy note perfect, but if you’re looking for a truly authentic slice of grunge pie, Tamra Davis unintentionally made it and its taste remains judiciously bittersweet. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Cult Film Review: Boom (1968)

Legendary power-couple, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor star in Joseph Losey’s critical snivel, Boom! (1968) Adapted from the play, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore by Tennessee Williams, the film is showing as part of the John Waters Retrospective at BFI Southbank, as one of the director's favourite movies. Boom! tells the story of a terminally ill woman and a mysterious young poet intent on getting his greasy mitts on her bulging purse. Sissy Goforth (Liz Taylor), is an isolated maiden, a ticking time bomb living in the lap of luxury on her own private island, with staff to rub oils into her back, pass her fancy drinks and to transcribe her mundane memoirs. Christopher Flanders (Richard Burton, in a role written for a much younger man) is a man with nothing, no possessions, no money and no morals. He is thrown from a boat and swims to the shore of Sissy’s island in his black trousers and thick wooly jumper. 

As he scales the cliffs, to her castle, like the prince to Rapunzel, he yells her name.”MRS GOFORTH!” He yells as if beckoning her to lob her locks over the cliff edge. Eventually, his persistent yelling becomes too much for Sissy and she commands her security guard, a vicious dwarf, to set the dogs on him. Flanders finds himself torn to shreds in an unwelcoming environment where wild birds are caged and monkeys are chained and the humans lack reason and self control. Flanders arrives at the right place at exactly the right time, just as Sissy is speaking of the love of her life, who also happens to have been a poet. He then proceeds to sell himself accordingly to her  last requests. Out of the blue and arriving on the shoulders of servants, Sissy is joined for dinner by The Witch of Capri (Noel Coward in a role rejected by an offended Katherine Hepburn) who warns her that there is more to the mysterious poet than meets the eye. Rumour has it, that Flanders is a manipulative gigolo who has a habit of turning up just as ill and wealthy women are on the verge of popping their proverbial clogs. 

Director, Losey described being on set with Burton and Taylor as “Absolute hell”, claiming the pair would both turn up steaming drunk and screaming at one another, which indeed shows in the performance. The dialogue, in parts, is smart and poetic and occasionally delivered with the air of a beat poet, “Then there is when, then!” Yells Taylor or “What’s human or inhuman is not for human decision.” However, amidst the lyrical flow there is a pounding dissonance, whether that be the screams of “yoo-whoo!” as The Witch arrives to dinner, the repetition of “MRS GOFORTH!” as Flanders scales the cliffs or the hilarious outburst from Sissy as she staggers into her waiter, knocking a tray and it’s contents to the floor, “Shit on your mother!” She shouts in one of the film’s verbal highlights. There is a great deal of inconsistency in the film’s soundtrack also. What happens in the scene, never appears to match what’s going on in your ears. The music pounds like a nasty headache that the leads probably woke up with the morning after. Admirably though, towards each point that the music becomes unbearable, either Sissy or Flanders walk over to a mysterious tape deck, press a button and simply switch it off, bringing you back into the room. 

Whilst the sets, scenery and costumes are excessive (look no further than Taylor’s ridiculous Kabuki costume, above), Losey, whose expertise can be witnessed in faultless classics, The Servant (1963) and Accident (1967) somehow manages to keep the drama contained by creating a sense of claustrophobia, amidst a great deal of space. As the relationship between the characters heats up, the performances become histrionic to an increasing extent, which is perhaps due to their excessive consumption of alcohol. Ultimately,  the film could have been highly regarded had the casting been dealt with accordingly. Flanders would have been played by a younger, attractive and enigmatic actor and Sissy, an older, elegant woman. Instead, the leads are played by actors that don’t suit the demands of the roles, making Burton and Taylor appear self-indulgent and incapable. That being said, it’s definitely one to watch but for all of the wrong reasons. Sissy’s mysterious terminal illness, not to be laughed at, is very funny indeed, as it seems she is being slowly killed by a tickle in the throat. The mixture of dirty coughs and groaning porno noises made by Taylor cannot help but raise a smile. As the film nears it’s finale, Losey’s camera backs away, allowing the characters to become fully consumed by their lavish environment. It’s a gritty, shitty, yet highly watchable mess, that unfortunately ends with a cough, splutter and snigger as opposed to the promised titular Boom!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Review: It Was You Charlie (2013)

The poster for It Was You Charlie (2013) (above) bares a striking resemblance to the promotional materials that accompanied the release of Hal Ashby’s Being There (1979), which shows an elegant figure of a man floating above a stately home. Here, Abner (Michael D. Cohen), Charlie’s protagonist floats above a boardwalk, but on closer inspection it appears he is suspended by a noose, one of the most memorable props from another of Ashby’s classics, Harold and Maude (1971). The poster is not the only similarity between Emannuel Shirinian’s remarkable film and Ashby’s cult classics.

It Was You Charlie tells the story of a once a successful sculptor and art lecturer who has since become a solitary and suicidal night-shift doorman. Abner was left broken hearted after his better-looking and altitudinous brother, Tom (Aaron Abrams) hooked up with a woman that he was head over heels in love with. On top of this, he is suffering the traumatic effects of a car accident that left the driver of the other vehicle dead. Abner's is almost consumed by the fog of post-traumatic stress and suicidal thoughts until the day he meets Zoe (Emma Fleury), a young and beautiful taxi driver who encourages him to see the light. As friendship blossoms between the pair, Abner begins to shine some perspective on his affairs, but as the fog subsides not everything is as clear as one would expect. 

The tone of Shirinan’s film immediately suggests that Abner’s problems run deeper than sibling rivalry and they do, yet the audience is invited to laugh at the misdemeanours of our hopeless protagonist, performed perceptively by Michael D Cohen. As mentioned Abner is an amalgam of Chance and Harold from Ashby’s films. You are able to both laugh at him and feel for him in equal measures. A creature of routine, poor Abner’s cycle is broken when he breaks off contact with his brother. Suddenly their annual trip to the cinema to see On the Waterfront comes to an abrupt end when his brother begins a relationship with Madeline, an object of admiration for our reluctant hero. Much like Abner’s mindset the chronology of the film is disjointed with scenes from his past running parallel with his present, creating mystery and intrigue within the narrative. A great deal of thought has been invested in the arrangement of events. Many scenes mirror others, whether visually or verbally. During a conversation with the object of his affection, Madeline (Anna Hopkins), Abner speaks of “moments of big collisions.” There is much significance in the dialogue here and that is tragically realised as the film proceeds.

A film focused on a depressed lead has the potential to be dreary and overbearing, yet the composition and the injection of amusing, light-hearted characters, such as the Tennesee Williamseque widow next-door, prevent this from happening. Director, Shirinian has great taste and shares his influences with pride. Using crepuscular cinematography and the dark imagery of the fairytales: big juicy red apples, distorted reflections and minuscule characters against giant decor, the aesthetic is reminiscent of Jim Jarmusch’s catalogue in its sobriety. Zoe, the taxi driver could be clipped from the cells of Night On Earth (1991). Style aside, this is a film with a warm and ethical centre. Here we are presented with an amusing, hopeless character, the butt of a joke but slowly the layers are peeled back to humanise the laughing stock and create a heartwarming figure with a heartbreaking story and it’s done beautifully. A beguiling and thoroughly surprising film and once Shirinian has you where he wants you, he pulls the ornate rug sharply from under your feet, leaving you in a state of shock and admiration.  It was you Charlie, like its lead is short in length, but big in charm and bursting with heart and soul. But, who’s Charlie? 

Available now on iTunes 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Review: Frank (2014)

Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank (2014) is an altogether different incarnation of the character that a British audience may already be familiar with. Gone is the helium voice and wacky comedic persona of his late night TV show and instead presented here is a sombre, intense artist who just happens to be called Frank and have a large spheroidal head on his shoulders, identical to that of his Sidebottomed brethren. Domhnall Gleeson stars as Jon, a young and hopeless wannabe musician who stumbles into an avant-garde pop band after witnessing their keyboard player attempt to drown himself in the sea. With no practice nor idea of the set-list, Jon joins the band onstage. It is there that he is introduced to Frank (Michael Fassbender) for the first time, albeit briefly before things go awry and he returns to the humdrum 9 to 5 existence he has grown begrudgingly accustomed to.

Jon is unexpectedly invited to join the band once more and unknowingly finds himself at the heart of a forest retreat where his incongruous bandmates intend to record their experimental album amidst personality clashes, sexual encounters and a surprise suicide. Bandmates come accompanied with complexities. Don (Scoot McNairy) has a bizarre debilitating fetish and Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has an unmanageable and aggressive temper problem, yet all of the band members are united in their adoration of their talented and mesmerising front-man. After building up a following via social media and YouTube videos, Jon manages to get the band a prolific booking at an American music festival but is the band ready to perform their unique sound publicly and will Frank’s already unfeasibly large head be able to cope with a growing ego?

Based on the memoir by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) who collaborates here with screenwriter Peter Straughen (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), the film is a fictional story that’s loosely inspired by the persona of musician and cult comedian Chris Sievey, who died age 54 in 2010 and the creative process of alternative musicians such as Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart. The film explores the line between art, creative freedom and a hunger for popularity. It’s all comically told from the perspective of Jon whose internal monologue narrates events as they unfold to hilarious effect. Intelligently, the writers brought forward Frank’s story in order to combine it with the digital age, so as the film progresses so does Jon’s steady online popularity, via Twitter feed and Tumblr updates as they appear on screen. The inclusion of social media ties in well with Frank’s absence of facial expression, his dissociative emotions are expressed via verbal emoticons, brief explanations of what his face is up to under the mask. Basically, Frank is LOL personified, played masterfully by Michael Fassbender, in a performance which manages to emanate beyond the mask, exuding the perfect measure of vulnerability and charisma through body language.

Fassbender is joined by a Rock 'n Roll ensemble cast. Both McNairy and Maggie Gyllenhaal, (who, after her performance in The Honourable Woman, has become a firm favourite) have plenty of meat on their supporting roles and come armed with baggage that makes them dually hilarious and somewhat terrifying. Gleeson, who bares a striking resemblance to Flight Of The Conchords’ Rhys Darby, both in appearance and comic performance, acts as the ambitious protagonist, a new age man, armed with social-media knowhow and grouped with a gang of avant-garde, punk traditionalists. It’s easy to empathise with his ambitious drive as he attempts to coax the uncompromising musicians towards an audience. In all, the film is a wholeheartedly entertaining fragment of madness, that will leave you with “smiley face” and is accompanied by a beautifully cacophonous soundtrack that sounds like a My Bloody Valentine and Joy Division mash-up. Although largely unrelated to what you think you know of Frank Sidebottom, this is a wonderful exploration of artistry and creativity and the scene in which the titular character is unmasked is a quietly heartbreaking tribute to the death of an enigma.

Frank is released on Blu Ray and DVD on September 15th

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Boy From Space (1971)

When I was only 8 years old my parents sold our house and told me that I would be moving schools. Devastated was I, not because I was leaving behind some wonderful friends and not because I’d have to take down my Wham posters and pack up my Look In magazines. I was devastated because our class had just begun watching Look and Read on the four-wheel-drive television on Monday afternoons and I would be leaving school half way through the series and half way through the most disturbing thing I had ever seen in my 8 years on earth, The Boy From Space, a dramatic Sci-Fi series integrated within the educational context of the programme. Each episode saw some children excuse themselves from the room, some with letters from their parents, some who just endured and spent the rest of the term in a terrified sleepless daze. What I saw of the series sparked in me some wild adrenal hunger that could only be quenched with a decent scare. As a last day treat, my form teacher allowed me to read through the accompanying textbook so that I could find out the fate of Peep Peep. But it wasn't the same as seeing it with my own eyes. Luckily for me and the vast cult-following that was formed during the Look and Read years, the BFI have put the lot on DVD, in both its original serial format and in a specially cut feature version. And, I’m pleased to say, it has lost none of its ghastly appeal.

The Boy From Space is an adventure story told from the perspective of our reliable narrator, Helen (Sylvestra Le Touzel) who along with her brother Dan (Stephen Garlick) makes a frightening discovery after witnessing what they believe to be a falling meteorite. With the help of a compass, the pair set out the following morning to investigate further. As they descend deeper into the woods Helen becomes aware of a shift in the atmosphere as she realises that all of the birds have stopped singing and when Dan checks his compass, he is startled to find it spinning out of control. When the pair reach a giant secluded sand pit, they are struck by a strange sound and in the distance an even stranger sight. The Thin Man (John Woodnutt) adorned in a mac and hat, creeps wide eyed and curious towards them, he begins to chase them first on foot and then in a car before making his exit and leaving the two children shaken but not scared. As the siblings prepare to leave they encounter another, less threatening figure, a young boy who speaks in a series of beeps, squeaks and pips. His name is Peep Peep, he’s the boy from space and he is in danger.

Richard Carpenter’s serial is a masterclass in suspense, particularly when enjoyed as part of the Look and Read series, as each five minute segment leaves you quivering on the edge of your seat, sometimes terrified and literally screaming for more. As Helen recounts her erstwhile adventure, her sombre and unaffected tone comes at you with the serious properness of a Public Information film, immediately recalling the nostalgic horror of Lonely Water or Front Seat Child. Her sincerity is appeasing, yet it lulls you into a false sense of security because you believe her every, chilling word. Any child that enjoyed the foot stomp of a Saturday matinee in the 70s or 80s will relate to this story as it’s filmed with a similar aesthetic; cheap, fearful and startlingly real. Carpenter plays with the idea of childhood curiosity, isolating the children somewhat and throwing adventure their way without the constraints of a cautious, head shaking parent. Every child’s dream soon turns into a nightmare as the sibling protagonists overstep the boundaries of all that we are warned against when we’re younger; don’t go into the woods alone, don’t put yourself in imminent danger and don’t talk to strangers. It all adds up to one of the most terrifying and unforgettable introductions to a character ever, The Thin Man, a frighteningly descriptive yet simplistic title that’s accompanied by an even scarier performance from John Woodnut.

As The Thin Man roams around the desolate pit, his movements and his wide eyed, silent stoicism are the pure epitome of alien and as he  fast approaches the children, everything your parents ever warned you about stranger-danger can be seen reflected in the glaring close-up of his demented gaze. His make-up is a minimal silver sheen and his Warhol-esque haircut is hidden beneath the terrifying normality of an incongruous bowler hat. The mac that covers his somewhat dated space regalia is something else your mother warned you about. As the series progresses, the character loses his edge somewhat but you never forget that introductory moment in the pit, in a way that anyone who ever saw Bob crawl over the back of the sofa in Twin Peaks, is still haunted to this day. There are other familiar fears too such as the inability to communicate and moments of entrapment and menace which run, crying from the playground of pre-teen dreams. Perhaps Nicolas Roeg caught the series prior to directing The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) as there are several obvious similarities minus Bowie, boobs and a big budget.

Having watched the feature length presentation with my own children, I can tell you that they were as bewitched and as terror-stricken as I. The wooden acting, the cardboard sets, the terrible effects and costumes aside, The Boy From Space for all of its weaknesses has the power to entertain a contemporary audience as well as fuel the jittery nostalgia of the aged viewers who grew up afraid of David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes video and hid behind the sofa every time Kate Bush came on the telly. The strength of the programme is in its proficient timing, gruellingly suspenseful moments and the constant pot boiling thrill of mild-threat. The series is up there with vintage Doctor Who, Chocky and other low budget Sci-Fi series that may not have the CGI effects or the big bucks behind them, but have the artful substance to trigger the imagination of a cult following and leave them trembling, merrily in their boots. It’s been thirty years since my badly-timed, mid-term departure left me hanging on a gripping sixth episode of The Boy From Space and finally thanks to the extensive BFI release, the wait is over and I can lay the perilous adventures of Peep Peep, Helen and Dan to rest. However, I’m not sure I will ever be able to say goodbye to The Thin Man but it helps to know that I am not alone or should that be “ɘnolɒ ƚon mɒ I” ?

Monday, 28 July 2014

Review: Rapture (1965)

An international co-production made on location along the gloriously photogenic Brittany coastline, Rapture (1965) is one of the most sadly neglected studio movies of the 1960s, which is perhaps down to its peculiar plot and its inability to be pigeon holed in any particular genre. Atmospheric, haunting and given a strikingly beautiful aesthetic by cinematographer Marcel Grignon, Rapture tells the unusual story of 15 year old teenager, Agnes, played with wondrous perfection by Patricia Gozzi.

Raised on an isolated farm by her strict and overbearing father (Melvyn Douglas), Agnes is as short on friends as she is maturity. Finding comfort in her dolls and with her ever flourishing childhood imagination, as she develops physically, her mental development struggles to keep up. After building a scarecrow on the farmland, with whom she shares her secrets, Agnes is delighted, when one evening, the scarecrow disappears, but a real-life gentleman appears in his place, wearing his clothes. Unbeknown to her, the seductive stranger, played by Dean Stockwell is a wanted criminal on the run from the law and seeking shelter. Agnes’s imagination goes into overdrive as she believes the fugitive is the living incarnation of the scarecrow. Instantly besotted, Agnes’s feelings spiral out of control as her burgeoning sexuality draws her closer towards the criminal.

Stunningly captured in black and white, the film plays heavily on the themes of childhood innocence and vulnerability, making this a perfect companion piece for Bryan Forbes’s equally compelling Whistle Down the Wind (1961). Rapture brings the melodrama in abundance but the beguiling performances and stunning visuals make it impossible to tear your eyes away. Gozzi puts in a powerful performance in the difficult role of Agnes. Whilst we never get a clear understanding of her developmental skills as inexplicable as they may be, a lot is pointed towards isolation and social or perhaps anti-social conditioning? Highly emotive, Gozzi’s nuanced and energetic performance is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, which makes one wonder why this treasure has remained buried for so long.

Modernist in its approach, director John Guillermin, occasionally heightens events by filming them from the frenzied and heightened perspective of the teenage protagonist before bringing us back to the disbelief of her fellow characters. The film is romantic in its approach to imagery, making you fall deeply in love with contours of Brittany’s coastlines via sumptuous and ambitious crane shots but Guillermin wants his audience to know who this film belongs to as he frames the whole shebang with a bout of crazed panic on London’s city streets as the teenager finally gets a glimpse of the world beyond the farm gates. Love interest Dean Stockwell oozes charisma as the scarecrow come-to-life, bringing matinee idol looks and compassion to an otherwise awkwardly complex and predatory character.

Beguiling and glorious, this dark fairy tale captures both the joy and danger of childhood imagination. Packed with powerful performances, outstanding imagery and a perfectly complimentary score by Georges Delerue. Rapture is a unique treasure from the vaults of forgotten cinema, that certainly makes you wonder what else they’ve forgotten about.

Rapture is presented for the first time on home video in the UK in a new high-definition restoration, released in a stunning blu-ray presentation as part of a Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition on 28 July 2014.