Wednesday, 1 February 2012

70's Sex 'n' Sleaze

Looking for Mr Goodbar is a dark 70's drama following a school teacher's sexual awakening and her subsequent bar trawling and drug addiction. With an excellent, nuanced performance from Diane Keaton (the same year as Annie Hall) this starts off slow but soon builds into an intimate, aching portrayal of a woman searching for satisfaction in all the wrong places. Apparently based on a true story it darkens considerably as her needs deepen and though a handful of her conquests make an impression her luck eventually runs out and she meets someone who she can't handle. It's an excellent, neglected film that has one of the most memorable finales I've seen in ages. Catch it if you can.

The murky side of America's sex life is also the subject of Hardcore starring George C. Scott. When Scott's teenage daughter absconds from Bible camp he hires a seedy private detective, played by Peter Boyle, to track her down and to his horror finds she's been lured into drugs and pornography, his subsequent efforts to track her down open his eyes to the reality of modern life and the depravity lurking beneath the surface. It's dated badly, almost comically tame by today's standards, but Paul Schrader's script still packs a punch and Scott's performance brings a grim humanity to the distraught father. Hardcore like Goodbar is definitely worth a look and though it doesn't quite match the impact of the latter it's still a fine film. Strange that both these films have been forgotten, given they both capture a particular, era of America's grubbier past.

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