Passport to Shame

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Passport to Shame
American theatrical release poster
Directed byAlvin Rakoff
Written byPatrick Alexander
Produced byJohn Clein
StarringDiana Dors
Herbert Lom
Eddie Constantine
CinematographyJack Asher
Edited byLee Doig
Music byKen Jones
Production
company
United Co Productions
Distributed byBritish Lion Films
Release dates
1958 (1958)
September 1959 (Los Angeles)[1]
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget$180,000 [2]

Passport to Shame, also known as Room 43 and Room Forty Three, is a 1958 British drama film directed by Alvin Rakoff, written by Patrick Alexander and starring Diana Dors and Herbert Lom.[3] A young French woman becomes embroiled in a life of prostitution.

Plot[edit]

Nick Biaggi runs a finance company that provides unsecured loans to naïve young women – a facade for manipulating them into prostitution. He recruits many of these women from abroad and to get them passports arranges "husbands" for them in marriages of convenience. His newest recruit is Marie Louise "Malou" Beaucaire and her sham husband will be Johnny McVey, a Canadian cab driver who owes money to Nick.

When Nick meets Malou he assumes she is already a prostitute and is amused when she tells him she is not. Malou believes that she has been hired as a companion to an upper class British woman, and Nick has established her in a nice house, where she meets Vicki.

Nick blackmails Malou into engaging in street sex work, and threatens to disfigure her if she doesn't comply. Johnny locates and rescues her. Subsequently Nick and his gang recapture Malou and assault Johnny, while fellow cab driver Mike grows close to Vicki, who after her sister's suicide rebels against Nick and tells Johnny where Malou is held captive. Johnny rescues Malou once more. Cabdrivers converge on Nick's bordello and fight a pitched battle against Nick's gang while Vicki, Johnny and Malou escape. Nick falls to his death.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Filming began on 3 July 1958.[4]

"This was not a low budget film," said director Alvin Rakoff, "this was a lowest budget film." When the lighting cut out during a key scene, the filming had to continue.[citation needed]

Nicolas Roeg was the camera operator.

Alvin Rakoff, a renowned television director, took on directing duties, despite knowing that it would be an exploitation film, because he wished to work in motion pictures.[citation needed]

This was Eddie Constantine's first English-language film.[5]

The film was also known as Visa to Shame and One Way Street.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

The Los Angeles Times said "the picture is rather well done."[6]

The Monthly Film Bulletin called it a "wildly incredible story" which "...must be the most wholeheartedly absurd prostitute drama yet. Motivations are mysterious and characterisations grotesque. Connoisseurs of the bizarre may relish some of the production's most ambitious moments."[7]

Variety said, "Though a familiar entry in characters and general action, it has a plus in fairly unfettered looks at prostitution in London and the workings of a white slave ring. It looks to have exploitation facets for Yank dualer chances and its “X” certificate in England should also help at the boxoffice."[2]

For Filmink, Stephen Vagg wrote: "Dors was the second female lead, once again better than the actual female lead".[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'Room 43' Will Open Next Week Los Angeles Times 18 Sep 1959: A10.
  2. ^ a b "Passport to Shame". Variety. 26 November 1958. p. 6.
  3. ^ "Passport to Shame". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  4. ^ "Hollywood Production Pulse". Variety. 6 August 1958. p. 20.
  5. ^ "Advertisement". Variety. January 1959.
  6. ^ 'Room 43' Exposes Adults Only Theme Scott, John L. Los Angeles Times 24 Sep 1959: B7.
  7. ^ Review of film Volume 26, No.302, March 1959, page 35 Monthly Film Bulletin
  8. ^ Vagg, Stephen (7 September 2020). "A Tale of Two Blondes: Diana Dors and Belinda Lee". Filmink.

External links[edit]