Twisted Nerve (1968)

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Twisted Nerve (1968)

Postby m35541 » 04 Apr 2013, 11:45

This film was given an uncut X rating in 1968 and the DVD is rated 18. It has never been cut by the BBFC.

However, the filmmakers were forced to add a spoken forward to the film after it premiered because various pressure groups complained that it implied that mongolism (aka Downs Syndrome) caused psychotic behaviour. This forward (spoken in a clipped upper-class tone) is present on the UK Studio Canal DVD (which opens with a MPAA 'M' rating over which the forward starts) and is:

"Ladies and Gentlemen. In view of the controversy already aroused, ther producers of the film wish to re-emphasise what is already stated in the film. That there is no established scientific connection between Mongolism and psychotic or criminal behaviour"

The film is about a sociopath (Hywel Bennett) who pretends to be a moronic infantile called 'Georgie' in order to take shelter with a young woman (Hayley Mills) in order to have a place to hide in London whilst he plots the murder of his step-father whilst pretending to be living in Paris.

It is revealed in the opening scene of the film that Martin/Georgie has a Mongol brother who is in an instution. We see the brother from behind only and as Martin walks away from him the brother throws a football violently at his back which misses. Martin then goes to speak to the brother's Doctor who clearly has his suspicions about Martin's sanity and as Martin leaves his office turns and looks ominously at a chart in which the word 'Mongolism' can be clearly seen. About an hour and a half later, a psychologist shows a chart showing a Downs Syndrome chromosome. Although he does say that, "Any relatives of a Mongol are usually as normal as you or I. If they're not it's nothing to do with Mongolism" there seems, to me, to be no reason to bring this up at all other than to imply that women who give birth to a Downs Syndrome child have a higher likelihood of giving birth to a psychopath subsequently. In fact, when Mills tells a doctor that Martin's mother had a Downs Syndrome child he says "She went ahead and had Martin. Oh dear, oh dear". In the lecture, the doctor also talks about the chromosone of a psychopath as the camera pans over the chromosone of a Mongol. Then, after Martin kills someone, the film cuts back immediately to the screen shot of a Mongol chromosone thus associating one with tother.

So, I thought the protesters have a point here. Not a bad film actually with quite a bit of black comedy (it was written by Leo Marks who also wrote Peeping Tom) but too long and curiously old-fashioned looking for 1968. The pop music on display is a real scream and sounds more like hotel lobby dirge than actual stuff from 1968. Mills looks lovely and one cannot believe she copped off with and married director John Boulting who was 33 years her senior (Boulting had previously directed her and Bennett in The Family Way ).
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Re: Twisted Nerve (1968)

Postby Harkit Media » 20 Nov 2013, 23:25

The full (ie not half) score to this will be released by us early next year. The old polydor album - now wortha fortune I might add - only featured a section of the music.

KillBill fans will know it. 8-)
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