Jerry Skolimowski’s 1970’s cult coming of age drama Deep End follows a young teenager into his first job as an attendant at a particularly grimy London bathhouse. Falling quickly under the spell of his attractive, whoring colleague, played by Jane Asher, the young man finds difficulty coping with the strains of his extracurricular responsibilities and his clumsy, stalkerish yearning. Reeking of the Sixties and directed with a lovely brooding atmosphere which overshadows the young actors shortcomings, things march inevitably towards a nicely er executed, quite stylish final act. A little dated I guess and a bit rough around the edges but it’s a period gem that still holds plenty of lustre.
Robert Aldrich’s adaptation of stage play The Killing of Sister George, released a year before Skolimowski’s grubby tale, is a similar tale of fraught, uneven desires set against the backdrop of a swinging Sixties London. Beryl Reid stars as a TV soap actress with an acid tongue and drinking problem whose relationship with a young, seemingly simple woman is threatened by her belligerence and news that her beloved character is soon for the axe. Though it’s rightly lauded for it’s brave, ‘realistic’ depiction of lesbianism it’s should be remembered for the marvellous performances of Reid and York who filter the melodramatic, darkly humorous script with emotional nuance as well as histrionics.