Banned on its original release in 1961, West End
Jungle gives the definitive insight into the seedy reality and cunning artifice
of the sex-workers of early 60’s Soho. Now re-released as special expanded
collector’s edition with two additional archive ‘shockumentaries’, and a pop
promo by the legendary Marc Almond.
The Street Offences Act of 1959 cleared the
“over painted harridan face of the West End” – the prostitutes – off
the streets of Soho. Genuinely seedy and filmed in the private member’s clubs,
the ‘actual places of vice’ – that
resulted from the change in the law, West End Jungle bears witness to the array
of less than salubrious establishments that offered tawdry strip shows for audiences
comprised of “bald heads and moist avid eyes”. London railway termini
are seen as the ideal locale for pimps to secure “ripe plums for the
picking” – naive country girls who can be seduced into a life of vice.
Within days, the “weak willed glamour-hungry bumpkins become skillful,
heartless gold-diggers”. The striptease clubs are a battlefield, the
punters very much seen as ‘mugs’ to be reeled in by the “hostesses”
for all the money they’ve got! West End Jungle paints a less than complimentary
picture of the men who solicit sex workers in clubs which are little more than
“high grade cattle markets”, one hooker stating, “One of these
days I’m going to burst out laughing in one of their stupid faces!” Shrewd
businessmen are reduced to lecherous imbeciles in the company of two giggling
working girls. Another man pays a tragically poor Marilyn Monroe look-a-like to
‘model’ for him “only to be entitled to five minutes of peering at a girl
who needs a good wash”.
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SPECIAL FEATURES :-
Documentary : Skin Deep (18 mins)
Directed by Arnold L. Miller, this was the first
‘shockumentary’ to document the intricacies of intimate cosmetic surgery in
Documentary : Get 'Em Off (1976, 26 mins)
Directed by Miller's contemporary Harold Baim,
this film goes behind the scenes of one
of London's top strip-tease clubs.
Pop Promo : Marc Almond 'Variety' (2010, 3 mins) -
Made from footage from 'West End Jungle'.
Newsreel : Clubs Galore! (Soho 1958).
Newsreel : Sir John Wolfenden on Prostitution and
the Street Offences Act 1959.
Interview : Director Arnold L. Miller in
Conversation in 2009.