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The Glamour of Old Times

25 minutes
Reviewed by UK Reviewer

Anyone who suspects that Lupus Films have a mission to release the cp genre from the closet and make it accessible, if not yet to your local multiplex, at least to the arthouse circuit, will find confirmation in their latest offering. The Glamour of Old Times is a beautifully produced, dialogue-free, European observational movie la M. Hulot's Holiday, for example, (although not in the least bit hilarious, of course). It is set somewhere on the continent one summer evening in the early nineteen-twenties, at a time when a servant still preferred to keep her post with a hot bottom, rather than lose it with a cool one, and no references.

So well established is the domestic sadism of the establishment, when the maid breaks a plate within earshot of the mistress, not a word need be spoken before the former presents to the latter a silver salver on which sits the martinet, and no more than a raised eyebrow has the maid baring her bottom before assuming a balletic pose, one foot on the floor, the other raised and resting on the back of one dining room chair, her hands gripping another in front of her. Over two hundred strokes are then applied in real time, over half with the maid facing one way, and the rest with her facing the other, so as to apply a fair share of the lash to each of her twisted buttocks. And when all is over the servant needs no bidding to kneel and kiss the hand of her mistress to express her gratitude for such an exquisite chastisement.

There is no doubt that this offering has a better chance than Help Line (too wordy), The Crime at St Thomas's (too long and stupid), and Old Janitor's Tales (unconvincing) of impressing an audience which does not consist wholly of cp connoisseurs, and, who knows, it may gain a mention, if not a prize, at one of the international (non-bdsm) festivals. However its chances of success will depend on what the audience (whether specialised or general) makes of the whipping. Even a tame reviewer engaged by Lupus to quote on their web page speaks of "the seemingly monotonous punishment scene". It does go on a bit with only the slightest heightening of the atmosphere as the maid eventually drops a few tears, then emits some whimpers, and it is very obvious from the smooth unbloodied condition of her bottom, even after 200 hundred strokes, that this martinet is a mild flogger, lacking the vicious little knots which would have taught a sound lesson with a tenth of the effort, and left the target as a salutory sight for the maid to view every bedtime for a fortnight as she undressed.

There is something of the "theatre of repetition" in the whipping but it goes on so long that the audience may have more concern for Alexandra Wolf (a well-established performer with Rigid East/Lupus, of young, but severe appearance, who obviously prefers to give rather than receive) than they have for the maid: two hundred strokes which have an obvious effect may compensate for the energy expended in swinging the lash, but two hundred which raise not much more than a reddish purplish blush could be considered a waste of effort.

In real life, when the plate was broken the maid, bottom bared, would have been held down over the kitchen table by a stout cook while the mistress, or the housekeeper, depending on the size of the establishment, applied twenty telling strokes, all accompanied with much loud yelling and vituperation. To have portrayed it like that would however have been mere documentary. Therefore by all means remove the dialogue, copy the ballet, and keep the action to the minimum, but how long or how realistic to make the whipping? The general, multiplex audience are well accustomed to seeing the lash in action, and the bloody result (eg Kate Winslet's back after she is whipped in Quills), but they all recognise the work of the make-up artists and some skillfull editing. In a first offering even to the arthouse set, in which it is obvious that every stroke is for real, it may be necessary to reduce the severity and increase the number of strokes, even if only for artistic effect, but I think Lupus have gone a little too far in both respects. A shorter whipping with more obvious effect would have satisfied the cp connoisseur better, without shocking the more general audience out of its seats. Perhaps some time in the future we will see an edited/reshot version entered in the "shorts" category of some European festival, in which case, Good Luck!, Lupus.

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