Director Philip Saville main background had been in television plays and had pushed the technical boundaries by mixing film and video in support of a more flexible camera work within studio space as well as for external shooting.
This explains why Secrets feels very much like a sauced-up Play for Today with a good deal of the action shot in tight focus on the main players giving an almost claustrophobic feel although there are some key sequences in London in and around Hyde Park… The film has had a limited release and has been noted chiefly for Jacqueline Bisset’s protracted nude scene but there’s far more to the film than this… really!
She heads towards Hyde Park and is spotted by a bearded man driving a Rolls Royce. He can’t take his eyes off this woman and Saville’s camera cleverly follows the car’s twists and turns as its driver tries to keep track of her movements.
|Per Oscarsson and Jacqueline Bisset|
By the time he has got back to his Rolls his car phone is ringing (yes even in 1970) and it’s Jennifer. He goes back to meet her and the couple end up going back to his house…
Meanwhile young Judy has started helping a young man Raymond (Thomas Ellice as Martin C. Thurley) wash his clothes at the laundrette – she travels with him back to the garden he is due to tend – his sister’s.
|The empty life of a millionaire...|
|Raymond is shocked with himself|
Allan goes for a drink with Beatrice and ends up back at the nervous young woman’s flat providing her with neck massage to help calm her down. There’s an attraction between them even as they discuss fidelity and the state of his marriage.
The family return home with gifts which they pass on to each other: Allan with Beatrice’s silver pill box (she may need them less, she hopes…), Jenny with a roll of finest cloth (something Raoul had been saving for his wife) and Judy with the plant.
Allan and Jenny go to bed and realise their love for each other is renewed… have they regained their focus after their altruistic sexual adventures and like their daughter learned the distinction between love and physical desire. I think Jenny should spend more time with Judy.
Dusty Verdict: Saville went on to great success on screens both small and large with his CV including The Boys from the Black Stuff and The Life and Loves of a She-Devil along with many films in a career stretching from the 1950s to 2000s. This film deserves more attention than it has had or at least credit where its due for its unusual structure and themes.
It's not available on DVD so guess I'll have to stick with my old VHS...