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DVD Review: Cool It Carol (1969)

Coolitcarol

Two teens head to London from 'up north', looking for the swinging lifestyle and a chance to make some easy money. Sound familiar? No, it isn't Smashing Time, this is Cool It Carol!, a 1969 film from Britain's king of exploitation Pete Walker, just released for the first time on DVD in the UK.

It's actually based on a true story (well, one from the News Of The World anyway), the tale of a young couple of couple from Shropshire who head to the bright lights of London. The couple are Joe (Robin Askwith - looking not unlike the Small Faces'  Steve Marriott) and the stunning Carol (Janet Lynn), the former chasing a job in the motor trade, the latter looking for a career in modelling.

But it's all downhill as soon as they arrive. The money dries up, the jobs don't materialise and the London lifestyle takes its toll. Unable to even pay a cheap hotel bill, Carol goes for the easy money - selling her body. The money os good, but the seedy encounters with a string of grubby men is soul destroying. And when the couple get offered £100 to appear in a cheap stag movie, rock bottom has well and truly been hit.

Coolitcarol2

But things are about to change. One of Carol's early modelling auditions pays dividends - and she gets work with a reputable photographer. Before long, she's been snapped up by a hip snapper of the day and with Joe managing her as both model and society girl, the money pours in. They've never had it so good - but is it really what they want?

Compared to a movie like Smashing Time, Cool It Carol! is probably the more realistic portrayal of the swinging London dream. But we're still in the land of the exploitation flick, so don't expect Ken Loach-like realism. Indeed, if there's one thing that holds Cool It Carol back, it's the bedroom action. Some of it is necessary - you can't really portray a seedy existence without showing some of the seedier side of life. But at times, it is slightly uncomfortable viewing.

But it does have numerous plus points. For a start, it's a good story - not a classic, but it holds together well (writer Murray Smith actually wrote for The Sweeney later). OK, the ending is a little disappointing, but the rest is really engaging. The two leads are a plus too - I've no idea why Janet Lynn disappeared off the big screen, but it really is our loss. Askwith is excellent too as the dreamer and amateur pimp. And if you're on the look out for some period fashions and scenery, you'll not go far wrong here.

If you love your 60s cinema (and you aren't too much of a prude), you'll love this. It's low budget and at times it's low rent, but overall Cool It Carol! really good entertainment, well deserving of a new lease of life on DVD. And at under £6, something of a bargain.

Find out more about the DVD at Amazon.co.uk

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