After respectfully viewing both the 1977 BBC broadcast and the 1979 feature film version of Scum, I find the true victor of the content wars to be neither nor. Scum is a shattering view of the Borstal system in which both inmate and warden are under constant oppression from all eyes. This "oppression" is an omnipotent idea that we soon let go grudges with and grasp the fact that everyone involved in this situation is doomed to British pansy hellfire and racially and politically charged themes of homosexuality, "black bastards," and many suicide attempts that were either ill-fated from the start or simply lost all power through moving images in regards to the porting of this once and always classic story of stripped brutality. "A brutal story of today" is now nothing more than an archaic tale of someones third-person depiction of a violent scenario which, try as you might, would never really change.
As it is, Scum isn't a genius envisioning or one of the greatest motion pictures of all time; I don't even see it to be all that great. What Scum has going for it though is a compelling tale of British pansy opportunist queers and a tale of inner-sanctum power struggles boiling up over the top. A Borstal is glorified as a dog eat dog world envisioned by unsavory youth and Alan Clarke. His method of inputting violence and how it should be portrayed in truthful cinema is mostly reduced to contradictory fluff when he decides to add more rape, more violence, and more death to his production in order to give Scum that superficial theater-worthy entertainment. A bad move on Scum's behalf, I found the BBC version to gain the provincial higher rank of blistering engagement. After all, Toyne's discovery of his recently departed wife, Candy, was all the more punishing on the viewers when we were treated with the most poignant stare cinema had to offer at the time rather than some ludicrous attempted suicide scene with some ballistic Negro running, screaming, spraying blood all over the off-white walls.
Perhaps the strangest notion of the reshot feature length presentation of Scum is the absence of the choice actors David Threlfall as Archer and Martin Philips as Davis. Threlfall's performance as Archer was something of a sole guiding light to Carlin, the self-defending homosexual daddy. Without Archer, Carlin wouldn't be the daddy and would be without guidance. Threlfall's charisma and condescending persona really adds to the mystery of how many of these seemingly innocent boys get into such a hellhole. There's really no option other than to rebel against society within the concrete walls. Philips as Davis was a darker turn over the blond haired weasel that gets the short straw in homosexual rape. The BBC Davis was a dark haired mousy-visaged innocent minor whose screams of emotional distress can indeed pierce the reflective screen of our television set and the walls of the Borstal. To award the 1979 remake it's due, the idea of having Davis ring the bell one last time after his fatal decision added to the stunning retrospective typology of suicide. In the BBC version, he hesitated before chiming to the "screw" and decided he'd rather die in the "bird."
Scum's highlight moments consist of Carlin's chronic predatory performances that arise out of mostly racially-charged fighting moments. Securing realism in both action choreography and the dominance between whites and blacks, Carlin takes both tool and "snooker" balls to his enemies leaving him the authoritative figure in this anarchic cage-like disposition of a public building. The initial daddy before Carlin is simply known as Banks, a rotund figure that lacks a real intimidating posture and tone. His kind is known simply as a catharter; the figure who releases violence in an effort to subdue the side-effects of negativity and a release of accumulated emotion. Ray Winstone's career changing role in both Scum features marks the begin inning of an important actor who has been grandly seen in the so-so Sexy Beast and the gritty-as-hell Nil by Mouth.
Taking both films in consideration, I could consider much of Scum's past and future apparitions to be contrived and pseudo-societal. The effect of this film in today's culture is nowhere to be found. Marketed as an exploitation film by a company mainly hailed for their exploitation, Scum has found a fan base in entirely wrong hands. With a passive approach to dissecting violence within chaos, race, and power struggles, Scum manages to be important and fascinating for mostly wrong reasons. That's not to say that most won't find this film appealing but if you have an incredible aversion to "British pansy queers," It's within your best interest to avoid this film as you wouldn't have missed anything more potent than La Haine and that's me speaking within the dialect of violence portrayed or as I prefer, glamorized, in cinema.