Scum

Production Year: 1979
Release Date: 06/04/2013
Studio: Kino Lorber
Collection Number: 1028

Scum is the story of a young man named Carlin (Ray Winstone) who is transferred to a youth detention center after he violently assaults a warden at his last residence.  This center has been created for the more difficult youths and as such is full of strict and often abusive guards.  Carlin tries his best to keep a low profile throughout his tenure, but things become difficult when he's bullied by a group of teens led by Banks who has deemed himself "the house daddy."  Having enough of the abuse, Carlin decides to take matters into his own hands.

While the story of Winstone's character moves things along, we do learn a bit about the other young men in the Borstal.  There for various reasons, most of them are still fairly young.  Their age does not stop the guard's constant misconduct.  As if things weren't bad enough, Banks and his gang rule a portion of this center and are constantly abusing their fellow inmates.  Alan Clarke paints a very graphic and racially charged picture, an unforgettable look at the lives of these young prisoners.


In 1977 director Alan Clarke created Scum as a BBC Teleplay intended to be shown on Play For Today.  Due to the subject and sometimes graphic violence depicted it was shelved never to be seen.   Not happy with the outcome years later Clarke would regroup and re-shoot the film as a theatrical production.  It would go on to be a controversial success for the director.  The tag line often associated with the movie was "the film they tried to ban."  During it's inevitable UK home video release it was swept up with the video nasties controversy, and while often times lumped in with those films it was never truly banned on home video.


The Pinewood Studios group restored Scum from it's original 35 mm negative.  The print is near-perfection with very little print damage.  Thankfully, while they did clean up the image they did not overdo things by using any sort of DNR to tamper with the image.  What you get is a very film-like transfer.  There are two audio options present; a restored 5.1 DTS along with a 2.0 track.  One interesting thing to note about this film is that there no musical score to be heard.  A good score can often times make a film (case in point; Halloween) the lack of one while unusual works in giving this a more subtle realistic tone.  The audio is great, I couldn't pick up any of the usual problems that sometimes can affect older films, no hissing or static present.


Kino has loaded down this disc with supplements.  Included in this release is a commentary track, a number of interview featurettes;Clive Parsons & Tony Minton, Davina Belling & Clive Parsons, Roy Minton, and Don Boyd.  There's a featurette titled "Cast Memories" which is a collection of various interviews, and last but certainly not least- two trailers for the film, one censored and one uncensored.
Scum is one of those films that doesn't get enough appreciation.  Kino really stepped up their game with this release, not only giving the US market the best looking version of the film, but also loading the disc with with a handful of insightful special features.  Click here to order a copy!

4 comments:

  1. One of my favorites! The ending makes me sick everytime!

    ReplyDelete