Passport to Shame
Passport to Shame – 1958 | 86 mins | Drama | B&W
Following the BBFC’s reluctant decision to allow producers to tackle the subject of prostitution, tawdry and exploitive tales of vice and prostitution surfaced, often masquerading as cautionary social dramas. This cheap yet fascinating piece of period exploitation is incredibly clichéd and works best when taken as just another b-movie crime thriller rather than anything loftier. The film was led by two actors from French cinema, Odile Versois and American-born Eddie Constantine, but unfortunately both produce listless performances. Thankfully, colourful and sterling support is provided by Diana Dors’ reluctant prostitute, Herbert Lom’s callous pimp and Brenda de Banzie’s grooming madam.
East End loan shark Nick Biaggi (Herbert Lom) is supplied attractive down-on-their-luck girls from Europe to bring to London to work as prostitutes. One of his cohorts is ‘madam’ Aggie (Brenda De Banzie), who finds such a girl in Paris, poor French waif ‘Malou’ (Odile Versois), and persuades her to come to England to work as her companion. To avoid requiring a work permit, Biaggi tricks honest Canadian taxi-driver Johnny McVey (Eddie Constantine) into marrying Malou so she gains a British passport.
After the wedding, Malou returns to Aggie’s and discovers a joining door to the brothel next door, and see’s working girl Vicki (Diana Dors) picking up a guy on the streets. She attempts to flee but Biaggi decrees that she will be forced into prostitution with a high-class client. Meanwhile, cab driver Johnny begins to shown some concern for his faux-wife, and when Biaggi’s hoods attempt to scare him off by beating him he,he calls on the cabby community to help find Malou. When Malou fails to submit to Biaggi’s demands, he tires of trying to force her and decides she must begot rid of.
Alvin Rakoff: Director
Jack Asher: Cinematography
Lee Doig: Film Editing
Jim Hydes: Makeup Department
Anne Box: Makeup Department
Ken Jones: Original Music
John Clein: Produceer
George Beech: Production Design
Patrick Alexander: Script
Claude Hitchcock: Sound Department