Friday, January 7, 2011

Corruption (1968)

An actor should be able to do whatever the director and script tells him to do. I have no idea why Peter Cushing accepted the part as the crazy Sir John Rowan in Robert Hartford-Davis Corruption, but it’s one of the most odd and extreme characters Cushing every played. I mean, dear old Peter has played evil characters whole his life, but they always had a logic, a heart, a passion. Sir Rowan is just plain motherf**king mad!

As a famous surgeon, Sir Rowan has it all: money, fame and a young hot wife. After visiting a wild party Sir Rowan gets into a fight with a sleazy fashion photographer (it can happen us all!) and in the chaos a big spotlight falls directly into the face of the wife – who get’s badly burned. In this situation both goes a bit mad, and without much explanation Sir Rowan starts to kill young women to get fresh skin to fix his wife’s burn wound! All goes well in the beginning, but when they discover that the skin dies after a while, he need to kill more women…

This is one sleazy, brutal and nasty little movie. I can understand those who can’t understand how Peter could sign up to do such a mean-spirited movie. I have no idea either, but I think he found that this character in a way was both very natural – like a modern London-surgeon and something very much edgier than he’s done before. From the beginning he’s the normal polite man that he played hundreds of times, but after his wife starts to manipulate him with her self-pity (she’s the real bad guy here, he’s just crazy) he transforms himself to a very cold, evil and sadistic person.

The murders are drawn out, very violent (and I’ve just seen the cut version, the unedited scenes is available on Youtube) and merciless. He goes after prostitutes first, but when he’s forced to take on a normal, decent girl, he does it. Everything for the perverted love of his loved one. I think Cushing makes a fantastic, excellent performance – among the most interesting stuff he’s ever done. The character itself was probably a lot more shallow before Cushing laid his hand on him, and when there’s a lack of depth the eerie realism in his performance easily wins us over.

Of course it borders to cheese when the laser in one scene breaks havoc in a room and cuts thru walls and people, and the silliness of some of the supporting parts takes away some of the seriousness. Over the whole movie we’re treated to an amazing jazz-score, often very inappropriate to nasty scenes of violence towards women and ruthless, but kinda hip, gangsters.

A movie that deserves an uncut DVD release (or rather Blu-Ray), but I doubt it will ever happen. It’s been released in Spain, cut, but in good quality. But it’s not enough. I want it all…

4 comments:

CiNEZiLLA said...

LOL!
NOT A WOMANS FILM!
That's awesome. I'll have to dig out my old Cushing documentary for you now that you have an apparent Cushing fetish too! :)

dfordoom said...

I'd never heard of that one. Cushing really could play very dark roles when he put his mind to it.

Thomas Dukenfield said...

I have an ancient Cinefear VHS boot of this, in what I assume to be an uncut version (although the picture quality is pretty terrible). The Turner Classics chanel in the states ran this a couple of months ago I believe late at night, and I meant to record it but didn't. Either way, I agree with your assessment. It sorta reminds me of PEEPING TOM, but more exploitative. Not that there's anything wrong with being exploitative ;)

Ninja Dixon said...

It just needs a good, restored DVD release! I would buy it the same day!