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Scum (1979)

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An uncompromising story of life in a British juvenile offender institution in the 70's.

Director:

Alan Clarke

Writer:

Roy Minton
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Winstone ... Carlin
Mick Ford ... Archer
Julian Firth ... Davis
John Blundell ... Banks
Phil Daniels ... Richards
John Fowler John Fowler ... Woods
Ray Burdis ... Eckersley
Patrick Murray ... Dougan
Herbert Norville Herbert Norville ... Toyne
George Winter George Winter ... Rhodes
Alrick Riley ... Angel
Peter Francis Peter Francis ... Baldy
Philip DaCosta Philip DaCosta ... Jackson (as Philip Da Costa)
Perry Benson Perry Benson ... Formby
Alan Igbon ... Meakin
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Storyline

An uncompromising story of life in a British juvenile offender institution in the 70's.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A fact of life. (double-bill release with Quadrophenia whose tagline is A way of life). See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook [Japan]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 September 1979 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Escoria See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP250,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,948, 18 June 2017

Gross USA:

$6,461

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,461
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The earlier and original TV version of this movie, Scum (1991), made for the BBC, but banned by them, was never screened until around fifteen years later in 1991, after the director's death, and part of a season on censorship. The BBC said that they banned it because "There was too much incident packed into too short a time and that they doubted the veracity." So they thought it was pure fiction, but they also said that it "looked too much like a documentary". See more »

Goofs

When Carlin is being told to eat his breakfast and the chant begins, the scene moves along the dining hall and a crew member in a grey jacket operating a camera can be seen briefly in the top right hand corner. See more »

Quotes

Jackson: Oh look at that all over my hair!
Duke: Quiet, Jackson, or do we want Mr. Teasy Weasy in there with ya?
Jackson: Only washed it last night, Sir.
Duke: Quiet, you little poof and keep shoveling.
See more »

Alternate Versions

There are differences between the theatrical and the TV version:
  • The aspect ratio is 1.66:1 instead of 1.33:1 in the TV version.
  • The theatrical version omits an opening scene (as seen in the TV version) a runaway, possibly Davis trying to escape his previous open borstal, and his recapture.
  • There is a scene with the 3 new arrivals having a bath in the TV version. This is eliminated in the theatrical version.
  • In the theatrical version, Carlin is transferred from Rowley Borstal as opposed to Bagthorpe Borstal in the TV version.
  • Unlike in the TV version were punches, kicks or slaps are muffled, it is clearly audible in the theatrical version.
  • The use of strong language (and at least 2 instances of very strong language) in the theatrical version.
  • Archer and Carlin talking to each other for the first time differs in the 2 versions. In the TV version, they talk to each other in the laundrette where as in the theatrical version, they introduce each other at a changing room.
  • Banks bullying Davis is slightly different in both version. In the theatrical version, Banks tell Davis to stand up. He does so but Banks kicks him and tells him that he is the daddy here and Davis must pays his dues like the rest. When Davis insists he doesn't smokes, Banks slaps him and reminds that there are no Dolly Mixtures. Banks repeats that he is the daddy and slaps Davis for not responding. He finally pushes Davis on the benches. In the TV version, he just grabs him and slaps him followed by similar dialogue followed by another slap.
  • Richards pours hot tea on Davis and Mr. Sands shouts at Davis for being a slob is not in the theatrical version.
  • There is a scene in the theatrical version where Archer talks to the Matron about vetoes on books.
  • The theatrical version omits a scene where Angel has his clothes stolen by unnamed inmates, and is caught naked on the stairway by a startled Matron and punished.
  • In the TV version, Mr Greaves asks Carlin about his bruised face. In the theatrical version, Mr Sands asks what happened to his face.
  • Meakin asks the Matron when is she going to call them by their first names. This scene is not in the TV version.
  • Bank's beating by Carlin is similar in both versions. In the theatrical version, Carlin dunks Bank's head in the sink and hits him repeatedly. Carlin angrily declares himself the new daddy. He finally kicks kicks him repeatedly in the groin. The TV version is similar but Bank's beating is slightly less brutal and Carlin declares himself as the new daddy but he says it in a much more calmer manner.
  • When Carlin beats up Baldy, the theatrical version depicts the beating as prolonged. The sound effects is much louder when Carlin beats up Baldy with the pipe is louder. In the TV version, Baldy's beating is brief.
  • Toyne's first suicide attempt is in the theatrical version.
  • There is a brief scene with Archer painting "I am happy" on a wall.
  • Carlin's homosexual relationship with another inmate has been eliminated in the theatrical version.
  • Davis' rape is longer and graphic. His suicide is also more graphic than the TV version.
  • After the riots, Carlin is dragged into the punishment cells with a very bloody face. The TV version is similar but without the bloody face.
  • The credits has no music unlike the TV version.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bully (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Dirty Last Night
(uncredited)
Music by John Dickson and Elfed Hayes
De Wolfe Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mecca, Archer?
11 June 2005 | by philkessellSee all my reviews

The grandaddy of 'incarceration' films - this is one of the best, oft copied but never bettered.

I liked it because it's so damn British. The one liners are legion; you all know what they are and where, but among a stellar list 'Mecca, Archer' rises just above and never fails to have me in fits. The way Goodyear looks at the Governor just after this great outburst is also revealing; as is the look of satisfaction on Archer's face when he finally succeeds in riling the 'religious maniac'.

Of course, there's a serious message in here; expedited best in the conversation between Archer and Mr Duke over 'coffee'. Analysing the situation, as Archer attempts to do, will simply not be tolerated and is interpreted as dissent by a man who embodies the 'system' and is intellectually and emotionally unequipped to deal with his own, and the State's ultimate failure to deliver.

Like true class acts, this film works on several levels; it's a no nonsense drama bedecked with Taj Mahal one liners everyone loves, yet it also works on a deeper level; you cannot punitively 'correct' all offenders with violence and cruelty. You are not corrected, you are merely broken, as Davis and Toyne are. If you're not broken, you run amok, but the point is you're not 'cured'.

When this film was on TV in 1983, just after Channel Four started broadcasting, they edited the notorious potting shed sequence to such an extent that the heinous act committed was virtually excised, thereby diluting the dramatic effect to virtually zero. Interestingly enough, they also edited out the bit where Mr Greaves ignores Davis' second press of the bell. Why? Presumably because they feared the ire of the State at the highlighting of its inadequacies? I suppose they can be forgiven, Channel Four was new then after all, but it's quite revealing nonetheless.

If I'm home alone, I quote this film as I'm wandering around the house. I don't quite know why. It's all about the importance of individuality, standing up for yourself and not just 'accepting' things. That's probably the reason. Now, where's your tool?


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