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Prostitute (1980)
  • Director:
    Tony Garnett
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Tony Garnett
  • Cast:
    Eleanor Forsythe,Kate Crutchley,Kim Lockett
  • Time:
    1h 37min
  • Year:
A Birmingham prostitute leaves friends and family behind to seek her fortune in London. Back home, a sympathetic social worker and a solicitor form a support group to campaign for a change in the law.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Eleanor Forsythe Eleanor Forsythe - Sandra
Kate Crutchley Kate Crutchley - Louise
Kim Lockett Kim Lockett - Jean
Nancy Samuels Nancy Samuels - Rose
Riccardo Mangano Riccardo Mangano - David Selby (as Richard Mangan)
Phyllis Hickson Phyllis Hickson - Rose's Mother
Joseph Senior Joseph Senior - Joseph
Ann Whittaker Ann Whittaker - Amanda
Paul Arlington Paul Arlington - Mr. Hanson
Carol Palmer Carol Palmer - Carol
Pat Manning Pat Manning - Mr. Hickson
Brigid Mackay Brigid Mackay - Mrs. 'T'
Barbara Roslyn Barbara Roslyn - Girl on sofa
Jackie Thompson Jackie Thompson - Girl on sofa
Philippa Williams Philippa Williams - Linda

Prostitute (1980)

In an early courtroom scene of this drama set in Birmingham, there's a chance to see the Campbell brothers, Ali & Duncan, from the reggae group UB40, as uncredited extras.

It's hard to believe I am the first to review a 1980 film, but these things happen, so here goes: this film following the lives of various British prostitutes, social service workers, police, nasty escort service operators, politicians, and customers (not necessarily in such discrete categories, either) is absolutely in documentary format. The dialog sounds unscripted, almost stream-of-consciousness--and I am not certain whether this is a compliment to the actors or not, but they all, without exception, seemed perfectly suited to their roles.

The tone is not judgmental. It's as though a camera happened to be there during the many possible incidents that occur in a prostitute's daily life. As a result, sections of the film did seem to go on and on and ON, and one scene in particular was notable: a sociologist explaining in the most technical, dry academic terms about dynamics of the profession, to a woman who could barely stifle a giggle. All she was interested in was him.

There is just enough nudity, male and female. It didn't seem gratuitous, and it definitely wasn't sexy. It was just there. You might find yourself uncomfortable, feeling like a voyeur, but none of this is anything an adult shouldn't be able to handle. The film's ending is neither happy nor sad. It just tails off.

Footnote: IMDb's cover art for this film is probably not correct, because this is a British film, not Chinese.