BFI have dug up some rather wonderful supplements for this release, all just as fascinating to go through as the film itself.
London in the Raw: Alternative Cut is a roughly 47-minute version of the film. Itís amazingly not just a shorter version of the film (concentrating on the more exploitive subjects in the film) but it actually includes sequences not in the main film such as an extended bit involving the prostitute and an odd ďmotionlessĒ peep show. Also as a bonus it receives a rather wonderful video transfer and lossless audio, both about as good as what the main feature presents. Itís actually a rather fascinating re-edit though I canít say what its purpose probably was.
Though not necessarily related to the film directly the Blu-ray also includes three short films described on the back package as ďLondon sketchesĒ, documenting London during the 60ís, which make decent companion pieces but certainly donít come off anywhere near as exploitive as the main ďdocumentaryĒ on this release.
Pub is a barely 16-minute short film directed by Peter Davis giving a brief look at pub life in London during the 60s. Itís a fine little piece that hovers around various individuals at a local pub taking in the general atmosphere. The short actually opens with a text note stating that the film comes from the best possible source and still displays a lot of damage. The note actually comes off a little too harsh because the film still looks pretty good despite some heavy damage on the right hand side. The feature is again presented in high-def with a lossless mono track.
The next short documentary is Chelsea Bridge Boys, running 31-minutes and is again also presented in high definition with lossless audio. Covering a biker gang the documentary alternates between interviews with the members (who are quite honest and very engaging) and then footage of them either ďhanging outĒ or riding their bikes through the streets (though, as one states, not at ridiculous speeds because they donít want to kill themselves.) Directed by Peter Davis and Staffan Lamm itís another great little addition giving an engaging look at a London subculture.
The final short is simply called Strip which offers a look at a London strip club in 1966, directed by Peter Davis, Staffan Lamm, and Don DeFina. It runs almost 26-minutes and is again presented in high definition with lossless audio. We get a few interviews with some of the strippers but more footage of actual shows and footage in the dressing rooms. While the surroundings donít really reflect a good working environment everyone seems surprisingly cheerful. This Blu-ray release as a whole has its fair share of nudity so I doubt anyone picking it up would be bothered by such a thing but I should warn that this feature in particular contains quite a bit, pretty much wall to wall. While plenty of nudity does help in drawing an audience the film does feel like its genuinely trying to document its subject and it is fairly successful in its portrayal.
The features close with a rather amusing theatrical trailer running less than 2-minutes really pushing this as some hard exposť.
Finally the package comes with a 37-page booklet with a large collection of material starting with an essay about London in the Raw, its filmmakers, and a brief mention of the other docs on here. Another short essay by Vic Pratt goes into detail about the shorter version of the film, though canít reach a decent conclusion as to why it exists (Miller doesnít recall ever making it.) A not so positive review for the film is reprinted here from a 1964 issue of ďMonthly Film BulletinĒ and then we get biographies for both director Arnold Miller and director of photography Stanley A. Long. Thereís also notes by the directors for the short films that appear as supplements on this release (Pub, Chelsea Bridge Boys, and Strip) which are all rather wonderful reflections. And youíll also find various photos and advertising materials scattered about through the booklet. In whole itís an incredibly meaty and informative booklet.
I was disappointed the supplements on the disc didnít present much more about the main feature itself (only the trailer and the short version have to do specifically with the main feature) but the addition of the historical documentaries is a wonderful treat and actually make this Blu-ray worth picking up. 9/10