Welcome to my new short series called Hippie Hotties where I plan to talk about a hippie-era movie that stretched the limits of free love and sex by showing off some sexy nudes on the big screen. This era of experimentation led to some pretty far-out films, so let's take a look!
The plot of Deep End warns about the dangers of dropping out of school and exploring your sexuality during the height of the hippie movement and the sexual revolution. This UK flick from director Jerzy Skolimowski tells the tale of a teenager named Mike who drops out of school and starts working at a bathhouse.
Deep End stars Jane Asher as Susan, a beautiful young woman that our leading man becomes obsessed with. It's not hard to see why...although trying to see why will make you hard. Her entire role is to be a sweet, seductive sexpot that tempts Mike. She is supposed to be about ten years older than him in the film which means that she is an "experienced" mid-twenties babe who understands just how hot she is.
You might remember Jane Asher as the redheaded beauty in The Buttercup Chain (which also came out in 1970 in the UK) about the cousins who seemed a little bit TOO CLOSE. That was a good year for the nude ginger who proved again and again that the carpet matches the drapes. Fun fact about Jane here: she didn't go nude again until 2006 when she bore her breasts in Tirante el Blanco. Now, these are goals to look THIS effortlessly good after decades.
Back to the movie. Susan knows that Mike is obsessed with her and she uses that to her advantage. She becomes a cruel vixen to him who uses his crush on her to her advantage, but she ultimately just wants to go about her merry way. Well, that's not how Mike feels. Mike stalks her throughout London, following her into the dirtiest and seediest places in the city which only exposes Mike to more depravity. In one long, hot nude scene Mike finds a small missing diamond. He pretends to swallow it, but she decides to seduce him into giving it to her. She takes off all of her clothes in an empty swimming pool which makes him hand the diamond over. Then, as a thank you, she lays down with him and gives the obsessed boy what he has been dreaming of...which is not the most comfortable thing to watch in the world. Thanks to a series of French New Wave-inspired jump cuts and closeups, we mostly see their differing feelings about this encounter through shots of their eyes. It's definitely a scene that leaves you going, "oh my god, is she? No...OMG SHE IS?!?!" Thankfully, we don't have to feel anything more complicated than that because he gets too nervous to really have sex with her. It's complex, strange, eerie, and beautifully filmed all at the same time. Ultimately, a phone starts ringing in the other room and she grabs her clothes and runs off to answer it, leaving Mike filled with a mix of embarrassment and desire. To be honest? It left me with a sense of relief.
Jane goes nude, as we talked about before, but so does Anita Lochner who gets one of her breasts felt up.
This film was actually pretty well-received. Even Roger Ebert said this film had "delicious humor and eroticism" and the Los Angeles Times called it a masterpiece. Many saw elements of previous European directors like Truffaut and Godard while also seeing some modern Polanski-esque twists (I can see some Repulsion vibes in there). Ultimately, this sexy film is studying obsession, but it is not a horror film. While it gets disturbing, it is mostly humorous which is no easy feat with this topic. Jane looks like the perfect hippie babe at the time and between this and her role in The Buttercup Chain, it's easy to see how she would be typecast as a mini-dress-wearing, paisley-printed, long-haired, carefree spirit. Not only that but both of those characters were filled with complex interior lives. Is Jane Asher the unsung hero of British cinema at this time? I'm starting to think so! She plays these parts effortlessly, once again commenting on the age of sexual freedom without consequences...even though the young Mike can't really understand what being an adult in the age of the sexual revolution really means. That is what makes this film so wonderful to watch, even today. It's so nuanced and dark while maintaining sweetness that really endears the audience to these main characters.
Watch Jane's long nude scene in which Mike finds the diamond here: