- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/24-bit)
- Subtitles: English HOH
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Certification: 15
- Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
- Studio: BFI
- Run Time: 81 Mins.
- Blu-ray Release Date: January 30, 2012
- RRP: £19.99
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All issues over censorship pertaining to Her Private Hell aside (the film was censored by the BBFC at the time and released in a slightly tamer version in the UK than what would be exported to the US) – in both the context of what would be released to UK theatres shortly after it and what was already being released across the pond on US shores, Norman J. Warren’s Swinging Sixties exploitation film is rather tame. What it also is, is different in a way from much of the films that have been burdened with the same label from the era. Her Private Hell, a typical tale of a naïve young woman seduced by the evils of a corrupt business, in this case, the fashion world, follows the story of Italian beauty Marisa (Lucia Madugno). Marisa arrives in London, wide-eyed and innocent, with dreams of being a fashion model. She is lured into a world of sex and debauchery, corrupted by lascivious photographers and avaricious agents that trick her, use her, and groom her for their own prurient purposes.
Warren’s film, although it does contain elements of the swinging London scene like its Bohemian jazz soundtrack, is, by contrast to others of its ilk, set in stark black and white, lacking the color and flare of the decade, immediately making it more somber in tone. It is also less humorous and more ominous, as Marisa, cast almost into an “O”-like world of debauched individuals, never seems at all at ease with her surroundings, and doesn’t give off the free-spirited “swinging” feel we’ve come to expect from these exploitation films. Never worry, though, there seems to be plenty of flesh, relatively speaking, although the more conspicuous scenes are left for the US version.
Her Private Hell was transferred to high definition from a 35mm print under the direction of director Norman J. Warren. Due to the condition of the print, there are instances of missing frames and audio dropouts. In order to create a complete presentation of the film, standard definition materials provided by US distributor Something Weird were relied on by the BFI to fill the gaps where the image was unrecoverable. As a result there are unavoidable and noticeable shifts in image quality.
On the whole, the AVC/MPEG-4 encodement of Her Private Hell from the BFI retains a strong film-like quality, but is undoubtedly hampered by its original source in the form of the problems mentioned above and consistent amounts of sparkle, tramlines, and other source issues. Contrast, on the other hand , is rather strong overall and detail is not as bad as one might expect when the image is coming from the 35mm print.
The original monaural soundtrack from the same rare 35mm print, is in LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit) , mislabeled on the package as 16-bit. It suffers from the same sorts of source damage issues as the image, with numerous pops and clicks, loud hiss, sibilant distortion and crackle. Still, the dialogue is reasonably intelligible most of the time.
This release is stuffed with a good amount of extras, including a few short films and a healthy-sized booklet of quality reading, typical of the BFI releases.
- Original Trailer (1.33:1; 1080p/24)
- Alternative US Sequences (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:11) – These sequences were edited out of the UK release by the BBFC due to some additional nudity and contain two topless scenes that were retained for US viewing audiences.
- Screen Tests (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:31)
- Inside Her Private Hell (2011) (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:15:14) – This brief featurette contains interviews with cast and crew.
- Incident (1959) (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:13:28) – The first film from director Norman J. Warren.
- Fragment (1966) (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:10:30) – This 1966 short from Norman J. Warren explores a woman’s emotions after a failed relationship.
- The Anatomy of a Pin-Up (1971) (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:29:37) – This documentary from David Cohen takes a look at the nude modeling industry through the ages.
- Booklet: Illustrated 34-page booklet with production stills and essays by David Cohen, Josephine Warren, and Lynn Barber put the film in context exploring its relevance at the time and its history of censorship.
The Definitive Word
An average film that is a time capsule into the mores of another era, Her Private Hell seeks to tell the misery of an innocent young woman taken advantage of at every turn, but at no time does it actually reach any sort of real emotional depth or connection with the audience. Still, it’s worth checking out for historical reasons.
Additional Screen Captures