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Jacki (Geeson) and Julian (Potter) Dewar, a pair of fraternal twins, arrive via bus to London; they are home from university on Spring break, and their father is in Mexico on business. The twins quickly set about mindlessly indulging themselves in the pleasures afforded to them by their father's estate, much to the chagrin of their put-upon housekeeper, Mrs. McLaren. When Mrs. McLaren threatens to upset their carefree life by imposing order upon it, they trip her down the stairs and stage it as an accident.
Jacki and Julian launch themselves into London's underground party scene, clubbing at strip bars, accompanied by Jacki's teddy bear, Agamemnon, whom the twins address as a father figure. At one such club the pair encounter Clive, a small-time pimp who makes his way in the world by ingratiating himself with the wealthy and well-connected. Clive quickly endears himself to Jacki, while Clive's sometimes girlfriend Denise attempts to befriend Jules—who himself rebuffs her advances in the hopes that Jacki will someday reciprocate his incestuous feelings for her. The foursome while away their days clubbing and playing games, as Clive attempts to hide out from Rod Barstowe, a gangster to whom he owes several hundred quid for a gambling debt. Meanwhile, Julian becomes more introverted and aggressive, as he sees Clive posing a threat to bond that he shares with Jacki. After Jacki once again rebuffs his advances, Julian goes out for a night with Clive. Seeing an opportunity to make the money for his debt to Rod Barstowe, Clive plies Julian with whiskey and marijuana and convinces him to accompany him to a brothel. The brothel turns out to be a room in an old hotel where Clive sometimes keeps his "Circus"-- transvestites who work as prostitutes for Clive. On Clive's orders, two of the prostitutes, Audrey and Myra, beat and anally rape Julian while Clive takes photos.
Clive keeps quiet about the rape, and he, Julian, Jacki, and Denise resume their activities as Clive contemplates which of the siblings to approach with the photos in a blackmail attempt. He is forced to rush his plans when Barstowe finally tracks him down and issues an ultimatum for the payment of his debt. One evening at Julian and Jacki's house, Clive sends Jacki and Denise out, after which he beats Julian and forces him to look at photos of the rape. As Clive demands that Julian pay off the debt in exchange for Clive keeping the photos a secret from Jacki, Denise informs Jacki of Clive's plan, telling her that he's done this before—and that if Julian can't come up with the money, Clive will force him into his "Circus." That night, Jacki comforts Julian, telling him that she knows what happened and that their relationship has not changed.
The next night, the twins bet a drunken Clive a bottle of whiskey that he can't tell the two of them apart. They ask Clive to leave the room, and then rearrange their father's parlor into a shrine, positioning Agamemnon between a pair of lit candles and draping themselves in robes made from bedsheets. The twins then blindfold Clive and position him in a chair set up before Agamemnon. When he hesitates in identifying them properly, the twins stab him to death with Jacki's antique Tantō. In the process of Clive's murder, Agamemnon is cut in half; the combined sight of Clive's blood splattered on her and Agamemnon's severed body causes Jacki to suffer a nervous breakdown and she flees, leaving Julian behind.
Jacki is discovered semi-catatonic on a dock by London politician James Harrington-Smith, who recognizes her from a party that they both attended. He takes her in, thinking that she's suffering the after-effects from a wild night out. In the middle of the night, a dazed Jacki wanders out of the flat and hails a cab, thinking she's going home. At her father's house, she discovers Clive's body and Agamemnon's shredded remnants and runs screaming from the home. The nearby cab driver, alerted by her screams, runs into the house. Discovering Clive's body, he phones the police, and the next day a manhunt for the twins is in full force.
Jacki returns to James' house and the two have sex. James believes her when she says she has no memory of the events surrounding Clive's death, but after lying to the police about her whereabouts, tells her that she'll need to find Julian to clear her own name. Her memory jarred by a trip around London to their favorite places and by a display of teddy bears identical to Agamemnon, Jacki figures out that Julian would have gone to hide the last place anyone would think he'd gone—the hotel room where he was raped. Jacki gives James the address, telling him to call the police if she isn't back within the hour. Arriving at the hotel room, Jacki finds Julian, whose mental state is rapidly deteriorating. He blames her for his rape and for Clive's death, saying that if she had believed in the uniqueness of their relationship and paid him the attention he deserves, he'd never have gotten despondent enough to have gone out with Clive. Jacki apologizes and reinforces their special bond, then attempts to tell him that she has to go get supplies to abet their flight from London—reluctant to tell Julian that she's going to stop James from calling the police. Believing that she intends to abandon him, Julian becomes enraged and strangles Jacki. Meanwhile, afraid that he'll face consequences for lying to the police, James ignores Jacki's request to call the authorities and spends the rest of the evening drinking alone in his flat.
Back at the hotel, a distraught Julian blows out the pilot light on the room's heating system and then loosens the gas valve, resulting in a carbon monoxide leak. He seals the room's exits with towels, gathers Jacki in his arms, and lay on the floor cradling her until he succumbs to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Judy Geeson as Jacki
- Martin Potter as Julian
- Michael Redgrave as James Harrington-Smith
- Alexis Kanner as Clive Landseer
- Mike Pratt as Rod Barstowe
- Marion Diamond as Denise Pryce-Fletcher
- Freddie Jones as David Curry
- Peter Jeffrey as Detective Inspector Kingsley
- Terry Scully as Nigel Garfield
- Daphne Heard as Mrs. McLaren
- Laurence Hardy as Minister
- Joseph Furst as Georgiu
- Brian Wilde as Taxi Driver
- Ricky Renée as Myra
- Barry Scott as Audrey
The film was shot on location in London, providing, per producer Peter Snell and star Judy Geeson in an audio commentary recorded in 2009, a snapshot of the London club scene as it existed at the time. At the time of filming, Geeson had recently achieved star status for her role in the successful To Sir With Love with Sidney Poitier; Sir Michael Redgrave, conversely, was nearing the end of a celebrated career, as he had recently been diagnosed with the Parkinson's Disease of which he would ultimately die; Redgrave would make only four more screen appearances following Gemini.
The film makes significant divergences from the book, which was highly experimental in nature and involved the use of dream and fantasy sequences written in the style of a Greek tragedy, during which Agamemnon comes to life and interacts with Jacki. Most notably, the film presents the story in chronological order, whereas the book takes place within the frame narrative of an amnesiac Jacki slowly piecing together the events leading up to Clive's death as she convalesces at James' house. The film also places added emphasis on the incestuous undercurrent between Jacki and Julian's relationship, while the book focuses more on Jacki's budding relationship with James and her conflicted feelings about Clive. At the climax, James phones the police, resulting in a strike team laying siege to Julian's hotel room and arresting him before he can harm Jacki. The story ends with Jacki breaking from a fantasy encounter with a wounded but recovering Agamemnon to find James checking in on her.
The film soundtrack, with music and songs by Christopher Gunning, is a particularly fine period piece with wistfully autumnal instrumentals, mod party background music and quirky but melancholic songs by the likes of The Peddlers, Jackie Lee and Peter Lee Stirling (aka Daniel Boone). The original soundtrack issued in 1970 on DJM Records had become a sought after collector's item in recent years until it was reissued on CD by Harkit Records in 2005.
Scorpion Releasing will be releasing this on DVD on January 2010.