Norman J. Warren Week: Her Private Hell (1968)

The feature debut of Norman J. WarrenHer Private Hell came about producer Bachoo Sen approached Richard Schulman, owner of London’s Paris Pullman Cinema, with the idea to make their own films. This is how the production company Piccadilly Pictures started.

Schuman was the owner of London’s Paris Pullman Cinema and was showing Warren’s short film Fragment, so they made an offer for him to film two movies for them. The director would later tell Rock Shock Pop!, “I had no idea what the film would be, but to be honest, I would have said yes to anything. I was 25 and desperate to direct a feature film.

The story was written y Glynn Christian, a New Zealand immigrant who based his screenplay on his own experiences as a foreigner living in the swinging London of the 60s.

Marisa (Lucia Modugno, LSD Flesh of the DevilDanger: Diabolik) has come to London to be a model and the first magazine she works for decides to keep her in a fancy high rise apartment along with their top photographer, Bernie (Terry Skelton). They explain its for her protection and not to be the sole owner of her image, which she soon realizes as the magazine begins to control her every move.

While Marisa sleeps with Bernie, she also falls for Matt (Daniel Ollier, who beat Udo Keir for the role), a young photographer whose avant-garde nudes end up in Margaret — one of the magazine’s owners — possession and get sold to a foreign magazine. The film then becomes all about who Marisa will leave with — Bernie, Matt or alone. And perhaps Margaret and Bernie aren’t strangers to one another, as it turns out.

At once a naive girl done wrong film mixed with a movie about the literal swinging 60s morals, Her Private Hell isn’t the Norman J. Warren you may know and love. This is closer to French New Wave than anything else he’d make.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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